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Kayo Dot - Choirs Of The Eye CD (album) cover

CHOIRS OF THE EYE

Kayo Dot

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.27 | 285 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Kayo Dot's not got a lot of what a lot thought they were taught all music has got

Kayo Dot's first album was released in 2003, the band arising from the remains of Maudlin of the Well. It should be said up-front that this is not an album, or indeed a band, for the feint of heart. Kayo Dot do not offer catchy melodies, virtuoso soloing, or memorable passages as such. The band's music is rooted firmly in such styles as jazz and ambient, with the occasional hint of post rock and metal.

Marathon, which opens the album, delivers pretty much all these styles within the first few minutes, the crashing guitars and growled vocals quickly alternating with ambient mood sounds and mumbled spoken word. At a shade over 10 minutes, this turns out to be one of the shorter tracks, the following A Pitcher of Summer being the shortest, and indeed the most accessible (relatively speaking).

Manifold curiosity features what appears to be poorly balanced vocals and acoustic guitar. As it turns out the vocals are deliberately distorted, but for me the sound is irritating rather than appealing. This is quickly addressed though, as the slow pounding guitars of a post rock sound take over. This is overlaid by what sounds like a plethora of other instruments adding random layers. Later, the track features some almost symphonic violin and further mumblings.

Wayfarer begins as a melancholy violin and vocal duet, still devoid of any great melody, but aligning with some of Peter Hammill's more delicate moments. The track as a whole remains understated, and for me is the most enjoyable piece here.

The album closes with the longest track, The antique, which reverts to the crashing post rock and metal sounds. The atmosphere here is by far the loosest on the album, although I hesitate to describe the style as remotely jazz. Once again we have violin, but this time accompanying some uncontrolled grunts and screams. Hence we have the two ends of the spectrum in consecutive positions, as this is by far the least enjoyable number.

While this album contains music which is not of the type I would normally enjoy, there is plenty to appreciate. There is no doubt that the music is immensely challenging, and that some tracks work better than others. On balance though, there is enough here to make this a worthwhile listen, even for non-devotees like myself.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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