Creativity relies on vision in a figurative and literal sense.
Though he may be a singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer, Kuri chiefly describes himself as “an observer.” His keen insight and sonic curiosity thread together an intriguing framework of carefully constructed and composed alternative on 2018’s debut Human Nature EP [Nevado Music]. The foundation remains rooted in organic performances, classically infused orchestration, jazzy freeform spirit, cinematic ambition, and ultimately inspired observation.
“I like to watch, analyze, and create systems in my brain,” he affirms. “As a solo artist, I enjoy the freedom to express exactly what I want by drawing on what I see.”
Born and raised Scott Currie in the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia, he found himself constantly looking outward. The small Mennonite community he grew up in incited “a sense of questioning everything to figure out why we do what we do.” As the youngest of four brothers, mom bought him a drum set to jam with his guitarist siblings. Soon, he transitioned from behind-the-kit to an old piano in the house by the age of twelve. After a string of high school bands, he founded Oh Village and generated a palpable buzz even competing in “B.C.’s Best teen Band” competition.
Following an amicable split, he began writing under the name Kuri in 2017. Galvanized by influences ranging from Robert Glasper and Radiohead to Africa’s Tinariwen and composer John Cage, he arranged an expansive sonic palette informing his signature sound. It’s comprised of an ever-growing arsenal of instruments, including piano, drums, congas, strings, horns, bass, guitar, and more.
“Every instrument has its own language,” he goes on. “I try to hone the language of each one. It helps articulate the overall goal.”
After entering CBC Searchlight, his songs caught the attention of Nevado Music, and Kuri signed to the label during 2018. Now, Human Nature strains emotionality through his analytical approach.
“I don’t necessarily process everything that happens to me from an emotional standpoint because I’m so analytical,” he explains. “The EP is me going through deep situations with relationships, loss of identity within community, and things like that. I’m trying to process from a third-party perspective rather than simply saying, ‘Woe is me. This is how I feel’.”
The first single and title track “Human Nature” careens from stark acoustic strumming into a luminous string-backed refrain. His soulful croon rises to the forefront as lyrics plaintively ponder “a breakup, a close friend moving away, and six people I saw every day disappearing from my life.”
“Champing at the Bit” twists and turns through soundtrack-worthy orchestral flourishes before culminating on an unpredictable bridge driven by wild guitar and handclaps. Lyrically, it confronts “being on the run from reality.” Meanwhile, the slow burn of “Illumination” glows with iridescent delivery. Sweeping melodies underscore provocative and philosophical questioning.
In the end, his vision leads to a lasting connection.
I hope my music brings healing in some way to listeners,” he leaves off. “I want to be candid and hopefully encourage others to do the same. I hope they feel something.”