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Albums Of The Week: Kira | Kira

After decades of collaboration, the pioneering L.A. punk bassist finally steps into the spotlight with a debut solo album of angular minimalism and dark beauty.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Most conversations about Kira tend to start with her formidable history in punk rock, which is understandable, but it’s really just a portion of the big picture. Says the artist herself, “Bass player first and foremost – this is just who I am. Then a sound editor, dog mom, loving wife and loner.”

For a loner, she sure has spent a lot of time collaborating. Over the past several decades, Kira (last name: Roessler) has played with Black Flag, dos, Geza X, Twisted Roots, Waxx, The Visitors, The Monsters and more. No wonder it’s taken her this long to get around to Kira, her new self-titled debut solo album of self-described “dark minimalism.” As she points out, “these days most of my music is created alone in my room and then fleshed out with tasty additions from close friends I request virtual musical bits from. Then, to Kitten Robot Studio where my loving brother and co-producer Paul Roessler helps me polish each song. The goal is simple — express my inner essence and hope that others might feel a bit of their own by listening.”

The guys in Black Flag were listening: Back in the ’80s, they heard Kira play in bands around town, so when it came time to locate a bass player to move their sound forward, they reached out to her. The band wanted her badly enough to adjust their infamously rigorous touring schedule to accommodate her equally grueling schedule as an Economics/Computer Science major at UCLA. During her time completing that degree, she worked on seven Black Flag albums (five studio and two live) and participated in all of the touring during that period. Said frontman Henry Rollins, “She was a mere slip of a woman, but physical size really didn’t matter. She was in one of the most ferocious bands at the peak of violence in that scene in the ’80s. She was as tough as any of us and could stand up to anything.”

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Following her tenure with Black Flag and UCLA, she formed dos with Mike Watt, and over the years the duo have made five albums. “Playing with Mike Watt in dos shaped my bass-playing sensibility as much as anything I have done,” says Kira.

As noted earlier, punk rock is but a part of the story. Kira has gone on to have much success as a dialog editor in the film industry, receiving two Emmys and contributing to two movies that won the attention of the Motion Picture Academy. “I have been part of the sound teams for many projects I am proud of: Mad Max: Fury Road, Joker, A Star is Born (2018), and Game of Thrones Season 2 to name a few.”

Kira represents the first time Kira has presented herself first and foremost. Always noted as an indispensable team player, on this release she is the focus: Writing, singing, and letting the songs rest largely on the angular bass style that is oddly familiar when set apart from the groups she’s been associated with over the years. From the meditative opening track Silently, which acts as a winsome entry point, to the fascinating focus on a quiet metallic breakdown of Trance and the surging restraint of the closing track In the Quiet, Kira captures the stark sparseness of her vision, empowering the notes to meander and explore. The first single/video The Ghosts is a perfect example of that, really allowing her bass to shine. Layered and airy, the track creates a wide open sonic expanse for her vocals to echo and resonate.”