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Kayo Dot - Blue Lambency Downward CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.53 | 110 ratings

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3 stars I would agree with reviews stating that this isn't really a KAYO DOT album. I mean, it is technically, and certain sonic elements are still present. In fact, for the uninitiated, I doubt a significant difference would be detectable. But it comes in the fine details: There used to be a kind of denseness to Kayo Dot albums, a meandering spirit but one that tied heavily to horns or guitars. Instruments with some meat and clarity of voice in a rock context, essentially.

This album, due primarily to the departure of many key members before it's writing (in fact, all but two), is structured primarily around woodwinds. This provides some very interesting compositional space with TOBY DRIVER, thankfully, takes advantage of. There is a noticeable airiness to the compositions, a lightness and freedom to the melodic lines. However, there are also the drawbacks of airiness present as well. Some lines meander a bit far without development or a solid mood being developed, leaving some of the bits feeling a bit half-baked. And there is a noticeable lack of traditional harmonies in a rock or even jazz context. There are typically several melodic lines, which play off of each other and create harmonies, but no instruments really devoted to creating rhythms and harmonic foundations for the most part. This makes what is already rather difficult, winding music incredibly hard to bite into, as it were. It took me actually until just earlier today before I felt that I had a solid grip on the album.

Let it be said, however, that the album doesn't disappoint once you find an in. For me, it was following the drum patterns (I've been drumming for quite a while, so I feel at home listening to drum patterns, and Kayo albums always have very cool and out-there drum patterns). I would not try to follow the woodwinds on the first go-through. Let them wash over you and, after a bit of following the general pattern of the song, they'll seem much less winding. Because there IS a reason to all of those melodic lines, even if it is hard to follow. Very good, but not great, so a solid 3-star album.

Gorloche | 3/5 |


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