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Kayo Dot - Kayo Dot / Bloody Panda Split CD (album) cover

KAYO DOT / BLOODY PANDA SPLIT

Kayo Dot

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.08 | 20 ratings

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Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Oh, a new Kayo Dot already?

Having released the sophomore album Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue, it did not take Kayo Dot - one of the most promising and important collectives nowadays - a long time to follow up the release with new material. The composition Don't Touch Dead Animals is a part of a split record between the group and the New York based experimental Doom Metal group Bloody Panda, who the musicians share some qualities with, but only slightly.

Kayo Dot's part of the 12" Vinyl is a long composition just over eleven minutes in length. Despite that, as anyone who has already been exposed to the group's work, Don't Touch Dead Animals is hardly your average progressive rock epic. It consists of two parts, each being initiated by a spoken intro, thanks to Mia Matsumiya, group's fiddler, who is the main singer on the group's composition for the first time. The first part of the song starts with an extremely atmospheric passage with habitual huge, lush layers of sound to the collective's music, as well as Mia chirping comfortably. Toby Driver handles the vocals during this part and the song feels very subtle and relaxed, just like certain tracks from the previous album. The instrumentation is similar to what we have learned to expect from them, featuring picturesque violin work from Mia and Forbes Graham's brass playing, who unfortunately is no longer in the group along with the rest of the line-up aside from the main composer Driver and Matsumiya. Meanwhile, this memorable part suddenly ends, going into a chaotic section with seemingly organised noise from various instruments simultaneously. Later drums join in, and many voices start to chant.

The latter part is absolutely unconnected with the former: after another short narrative a louder, more rocking part begins with Mia finally taking care of the vocals. She is certainly not a usual singer and not exactly an excellent either. Nevertheless, her voice is an unusual change in the group's sound. As the song continues it becomes progressively more extreme, with brutal, dissonant Gorguts inspired riffs and Mia's girlish exclamations and piercing shrieks and crushing drums creating a ferocious assault. Don't Touch Dead Animals is done in the trademark style Kayo Dot are known for and is quite an interesting song, varying marginally from their previous output. It does not have the post-rockish feel of the debut, therefore, I would say it is closer to the second album in sound and structure.

Blood Panda's side may very well be not in the line of most progressive rock fans with its monotonous spontaneity and repetition, however, it occupies more than a half of the LP, so it seems logical to present it as well. The two compositions found here are quite different from each other, Circle and Tail being a sludgy number with crushing riffs, excellent bass lines and slow drumming, accompanied by screamed out vocals. I was surprised to find out that the vocals on this track are done by (another oriental) female, as they do not appear very feminine at all. The other track runs over eleven minutes and has clean female singing and has a dirge-like mood resembling Funeral Doom music. Both compositions rely heavily on their atmosphere and ask for the right mood in order to be listened.

What is left to sum up is that the split between those two groups is good release and I suggest the ardent Kayo Dot followers to enhance their collection with this vinyl. The Bloody Panda material, while not everyone's cup of tea, is also quite interesting and not necessarily the polar opposite of avant-garde tendencies in their colleagues' music. Good, but non-essential.

Trickster F. | 3/5 |

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