Kino – The Enigmatic Tapestry of Sound and Metaphor

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Knife's Kino at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Whirlwind of Senses – The Kinetic Imagery of ‘Kino’
  5. A Cosmic Ballet – The Astronomical Allusions of Existence
  6. Whispers and Warnings – Decoding the Song’s Hidden Meaning
  7. The Physicality of Pain – Reflective Redemption in ‘Kino’
  8. Memorable Lines that Echo Through Time and Mind


I heard a puff, I heard a blow
I felt the ground, I felt the snow
I thought of linen and of lace
I never really saw his face

I heard a grunt, I heard a moan
I felt the sun, I saw the moon
I saw the northern light above
And the eclipse of the sun

I am a breath, I am a wish
I am a rocket and a fish
I felt his measures and his weight
My own body as a scale

I heard a whisper in my ear
”You are not here, you are not here”
I saw the northern light above
And the eclipse of the sun

My feet was hurt and heals were sore
And I wondered why it burned
And I wondered why it burned

Then I had to climb down
I went down to see the sun rise
And then I had to climb back up again
I had to be there to see the sun rise

All the air that you sent to guide me
Had a tone of the elephant gray
We were all there in the morning
We were there and we wanted to stay

So quite a lot of what people had heard was right
Some was wrong

Full Lyrics

Swedish electronic music duo The Knife never fails to weave intricate tales through their haunting melodies and cryptic lyrics. One such musical enigma is their song ‘Kino,’ a track laden with ethereal beats and mystic words that prompt a dive into the depths of its underlying narrative. To unwrap the layers of ‘Kino’ is to embark on a journey through metaphorical landscapes and introspective musings.

Enigmatic and rich in imagery, the lyrics serve as a Rorschach test for the listener, projecting a screen upon which myriad interpretations can be mapped. Let’s dive into the echoing corridors of ‘Kino’ and attempt to shed light on the kaleidoscopic meanings, hidden themes and the mesmerizing language that have cemented the track’s place in the pantheon of enigmatic music lore.

A Whirlwind of Senses – The Kinetic Imagery of ‘Kino’

In the opening verses, there’s an immediate sensory bombardment. The juxtaposition of ‘I heard a puff,’ with physical sensations like touching the ground or snow, propels us into a world where the lines between senses blur. This synesthetic experience mirrors the track’s title ‘Kino,’ which in German translates to ‘cinema’—a place where sight and sound coalesce to form an immersive experience. In this case, the memories and sensations are the frames of the film, each one a fleeting, poignant shot of life’s cinema.

The mention of ‘linen and of lace’ intertwines with the elusive glimpse of a ‘face,’ suggesting nostalgia for a past relationship or a memory that’s slipping away. Such tender elements contrast with the more primal ‘grunt’ and ‘moan,’ presenting a stark dichotomy between refined memories and raw experiences. This spectral cinema plays on a loop, each snippet a haunting echo of the past.

A Cosmic Ballet – The Astronomical Allusions of Existence

The recurring visual thread of the ‘northern light above’ and the ‘eclipse of the sun’ in ‘Kino’ reveals a fascination with celestial events. These cosmic phenomena serve as metaphors for life’s rare and epiphanic moments, the overshadowing of one reality by another, or perhaps the occlusion of truth by dazzling but transient diversions. The presence of these astronomical symbols suggests a search for meaning in the greater, universal scheme of things.

Observing the cyclical nature of these celestial bodies—their reliability, yet grandeur—the speaker may be grappling with their own mortal insignificance contrasted against the vast, unyielding backdrop of the cosmos. This pondering of existential worth and the search for celestial guidance becomes a recurring motif through the lyrics.

Whispers and Warnings – Decoding the Song’s Hidden Meaning

The whispered phrase ‘You are not here, you are not here’ chills with its ghostly presence, suggesting a disconnection from reality or perhaps a higher truth being laid bare. It’s as if the speaker is being jolted from a dream, confronted with the stark nature of their existence. This ethereal counsel can be seen as a call to mindfulness, nudging the listener towards the present moment away from the distractions of the illusory world.

But this voice could also be interpreted as an inner psyche, or an external force, challenging the protagonist’s sense of place and purpose, nudging them toward an enlightenment that involves shedding ego or recognizing their broader role in the tapestry of life.

The Physicality of Pain – Reflective Redemption in ‘Kino’

Not all journeys in ‘Kino’ are ethereal; some are achingly physical. The complaint of ‘My feet was hurt and heels were sore,’ speaks to the tangible toll that life’s climb often takes. There’s a palpable grittiness to the ascent and descent, a Sisyphean struggle that mirrors the emotional endeavors the speaker faces.

It is in the physical pain that a glimmer of understanding surfaces—the burning of the heels as a catalyst for growth or perhaps as a penance. There’s a sense that the climb, though torturous, is necessary, a requisite ordeal to witness the ‘sunrise’—an allegory for hope, enlightenment, or the dawn of a new perspective.

Memorable Lines that Echo Through Time and Mind

The Knife has a knack for crafting lyrics that linger long after the music ceases, and ‘Kino’ does not disappoint. ‘All the air that you sent to guide me / Had a tone of the elephant gray’ carries a weight that is hard to dismiss. It suggests guidance that is shrouded in ambiguity, vast and awing yet with a tinge of melancholy, like the color of a ponderous sky.

With these words, ‘Kino’ touches on the complexity of searching for direction in life, highlighting how even the forces we rely on for guidance can be overwhelming and enigmatic. It’s a recognition of the opaqueness of life’s journey and an acceptance of the muddled paths we often find ourselves wandering.

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