Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Experimental Dutch rockers Kong started out in 1988 as a side project for Amsterdam-based musicians Dirk DeVries (guitar, samples, programming), Aldo Sprenger (guitar), Mark Drillich (bass, programming), and Rob Smits (drums). Simply impossible to pigeonhole, their unscrupulous musical collage melds elements of heavy metal, progressive rock, electronica, and the avant-garde -- all of it backed up by extensive sampling and quirky sound effects. Adding to their unconventional approach, Kong's music is 99 percent instrumental, and conceived and performed quadraphonically, with each member of the group taking over a different corner of the venue for ideal sonic delivery. Signing with Peaceville Records, Kong debuted with 1990's Mutepoetvocalizer, then began to tour regularly all across Europe, drawing widespread praise from in-the-know critics and building a selective but dedicated fan base among those capable of grasping the group's bizarrely beautiful sonic architecture. 1992's Phlegm and 1995's Push Comes to Shove carried on in much the same direction (if that term can even be applied here), but the convoluted recording of the latter drove a creative wedge between the band's musicians, leading to the departure of both Sprenger and Smits. They were eventually replaced by guitarist Marieke Verdonk and drummer Rob Snijders, respectively, and after inking a new deal with Roadrunner Records, Kong moved into the next phase of their career. Relinquishing some of the excessively over-bearing elements of their sound, they sought to pursue a more fluid, even lighthearted approach with 1997's Earmined. Snijders departed at this time (going on to join stoned rockers Celestial Season) and was replaced by drummer Klaas Broekema for 1999's similarly styled Freakcontrol opus. The following year, Kong decided to embark on an open-ended sabbatical so that its members could explore other interests, and original label Peaceville took advantage of this period of silence to release 2001's self-explanatory Best of Kong: 1988-1995 retrospective.