Audrey Kang of Lightning Bug on Kites | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, January 21st, 2022  

Audrey Kang of Lightning Bug on Kites

Tension and Release

Dec 23, 2021 By Audrey Kang Photography by Ingmar Chen
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Brooklyn-based shoegaze band Lightning Bug released their latest album, A Color of the Sky, back in June via Fat Possum. In a press release, frontwoman Audrey Kang summed up the album: “I want listeners to explore their own interior worlds. It’s about learning to trust yourself, about being deeply honest with yourself, and about how self-acceptance yields a selfless form of love.” In this guest blog post for Under the Radar, Kang is now sharing the vital life lessons she has learned through flying kites with her friends.

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I used to wander through Mercer Books, a small bookstore off Washington Square Park, after my shift working at a nearby restaurant. It’d be around midnight, I’d be spent, sweaty, and irritable, but still when I biked by the neon sign aglow with “Books,” I’d come to a stop and walk on in.

Most nights, Keith would be at the register, and his friend Yuzo would be there with his dog Lulu. Sweet Lulu always greeted me like a long lost playmate. She’d race between the bookshelves with her tongue flopping about while I ran my eyes across the book spines, feeling universes reach out to touch me, if only I’d reach out too.

The magic of Mercer Books meant a book would grab me right when I needed it. For the past few months, I’d been on a quest for growth and change, but I kept ending up mired in conflict after conflict of my own creation. One night in the bookstore, Kite Making and Flying tumbled into my hands. So it was time for me to make a kite.

I went to San Francisco to see my friends Jillian and Peter, who had recently gotten into kite-flying themselves. The three of us set out for the materials listed in the book, finding silken fabric, string, and various lengths of wood. Then Jillian went to her shift at the bakery, and Peter and I got to work.

Generally, Peter is reserved. At my most content, I am silent. So we worked in hushed harmony, soaking wooden rods in bathwater till they grew supple and compliant in our hands, coaxing them into arcs held in shape by knotted string, stretching fabric across the skeleton of string and wood. By evening, we had completed our kite, beautiful to us in the form of a blue-winged butterfly. Now, it only had to fly.

That night, we drove to a windblown hilltop that overlooked the bay. San Francisco glittered appealingly in the distance. Exhilarated by the view, I flung our kite into space, whereupon it floated for one charged instant and came direct as a magnet back towards me. Not to be discouraged, I threw the kite up and away from me with all my force. Down it went. I tried a more passive release…the line went slack and the kite veered earthward like a wounded bird. After an hour of watching our beloved kite plummet, I felt ready to admit defeat—perhaps there was a flaw in its construction preventing it from taking flight.

Instead, I stopped my mindless flinging. I held the kite up in my hands, searching for the secret. I felt the wind breathe against its surface, the push and pull waking up parts of me I hadn’t even known were asleep. Its wings stirred. Waiting.

With sudden animation, the kite sprang out of my hold. The line grew tense, vibrating with life; the kite soared higher, straining towards a greater freedom. It was flying! And I began to understand.

All individual life is a struggle for one’s innermost fulfillment and growth. If ever you let yourself go slack, so you too will drop to the ground like a dead thing. If you push overly against yourself, you’ll jerk back towards the origin or you’ll rip away at the root, untethered. One must constantly feel out the balance between staying true to one’s nature and challenging it.

I looked up at the kite, now ascended far above me. I saw my very spirit flying there, a tiny shape against a mass of sky, bound to me by my volition, taut against my hands. Creating tension. Creating release.

www.lightning-bug.bandcamp.com

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