“Think of Radiohead, but progressive; think of King Crimson, but sad; and you’ve got an impression of what Kendall Burks achieves here. Waves is an album that will bewitch you completely.”
Kendall Burks is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, artist, and teacher based in Denver, Colorado. From early in his musical life, his creative pursuits gravitated towards intricate and layered compositions, utilizing both multi-track recording and looping as key mediums of expression. The guitar was a centerpiece, but his vision was always expansive, and through necessity he acquired fluency on the bass, keyboard, and drum set as well. With these tools, he has sought to give expression (however feebly), through the particularity of his unique perspective and context, to the universal and transcendent realities of beauty and truth.
Synthesizing the worlds of classical music and rock has always interested him. This interest was increased and drastically expanded while studying music composition at CU boulder, where he graduated in 2012. While there, he became immersed in the diverse world of modern classical music, as well as the amazing traditional music of Balinese gamelan.
The later was highly formative, as he continues to be a central member of Denver-based Gamelan Tunas Mekar, even composing an original composition which he performed with the group at the 2019 Bali arts festival in Denpasar. Videos of this performance went viral in Indonesia, with the dazzling performance of Tunas Mekar and the distinct blend of Balinese and western influences striking a powerful chord with the Balinese audiences.
Following his 2013 release, “The Real Thing/Invisible Walls”, he completed a 14-week solo tour of Western Europe, where he played in 29 different cities. Witnessing in person all of the amazing cultural achievements of European civilization, from vast cathedrals to painting and sculpture, had a profound impact, and cemented in him a deep commitment to the development of his craft.
From 2013-2014, he continued to perform as a solo looping act throughout Colorado, playing over 30 “official” shows and countless other house shows and open mics. Eventually however, he became disenchanted with his playing and decided instead to retreat into the studio. From 2015-2016 he recorded many projects, including a film score, a string quartet, and what eventually became the 2018 release “Waves”, his debut full length album.
Even these projects did not fulfill that longing which was clarified so powerfully by his time in Europe. Therefore, from 2017-2023, he retreated even further, devoting himself to intense study and practice of all those traditions which he feels most powerfully connected to. This includes pop, rock, blues, Jazz, South Indian classical and west african drumming, but most centrally it includes Balinese Gamelan and the music of J.S. Bach. Studying the former led to the composition of his piece “Kayu Sakti” (Translates to powerful/sacred/magic tree), and the study of the later led him to develop a neo-baroque style of improvised solo guitar playing, which he continues to refine.
The synthesis of all these varied strands was attempted in the petri dish of “busking” in his home town of Littleton, Colorado. Each summer, from 2017-2023, he would use this relaxed and yet thoroughly “live” atmosphere to improvise and refine compositions, often for 5 to 6 hours at a time. His second LP, “Preludes and Loops”, is meant to be something of a record of this time.