Justin Walter and Brian Case of Bambi Kino Duo Credit: Courtesy International Anthem

Disappears front man Brian Case has been taking time away from his guitar to cultivate an interest in synths, as you know if you’ve heard him in gothy duo Acteurs. He also loves ambient, textural music, and in 2013 he found himself listening obsessively to Lullabies & Nightmares, a solo record by Ann Arbor-bred experimental musician Justin Walter that Kranky had released that spring.

Collaborations have certainly been based on less, and in late 2014, Case and Walter recorded together as Bambi Kino Duo, laying the foundation for what would become their debut album. (Their label, International Anthem, is pretty sure the two of them met for the first time at the sessions.) See Heat comes out Saturday, November 7, on cassette and digitally, and that night Bambi Kino Duo celebrate its release with their first live show—a Burlington date headlined by Ahleuchatistas.

<i>See Heat</i> will be released digitally and in an edition of 111 lavishly packaged cassettes.
See Heat will be released digitally and in an edition of 111 lavishly packaged cassettes.Credit: Courtesy International Anthem

Right now, one track off See Heat is streaming on Bandcamp. For the first five minutes or so of “OKO,” a faint heartbeat pulse comes and goes, surrounded by gentle, hollow-sounding wooden chattering and a beautiful drifting ambience that covers a broad spread of gauzy tones. Walter’s electronic valve instrument (EVI) coalesces out of this haze, its distant, synthetic lead voice lending the music a futuristic aura. The mood is one of anesthetized wonder and unfocused anticipation—and then the song dissolves into soft ocean-swell oscillations, every so often interrupted by a square-edged blurt.

But what am I saying? You can hear it for yourself:

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. You can also follow him on Twitter.