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Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.70 | 167 ratings

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5 stars As evidenced by the breadth of the reviews for this album, it is quite difficult to get into. KAYO DOT's brand of avant-garde music really comes into their own on this release. Their debut, CHOIRS OF THE EYE, felt to me a little bit too much like a more focused MAUDLIN OF THE WELL continuation. Granted, that meant I loved it, but there was a sense of retreading old ground and learning about how this new beast could work that only fully came to bear on this album.

The first two songs are meandering and beautiful. They drift about somewhat freely, but each line is interesting and the mix is deep enough to have something interesting going on in the interplay at all times. The opener, "Gemini Becoming the Tripod", has some sections of violent screams and violent noise which perfectly encapsulates the necessity for heavier genres, I feel; he gets across a sense of anguish, anger and darkness that is quite different from what is available with cleaner registers and it creates a genuinely disturbing atmosphere. The second track is pretty all the way throughout, which is an excellent reprieve. The third tracks brings back some very heavy elements.

At this point, you're probably noticing that I am brushing over these earlier tracks. This is for two reasons: 1) I feel quite a lot has been said about them by other reviewers that leaves me with little that I could really contribute and feel satisfied with, but most importantly 2) the fourth track, "___ On Limpid Form" is so astounding to me that I want to spend some time on that one.

"___ On Limpid Form" is what broke the album for me. I don't mean "break" in the sense of destroy, but pushed through into me like a knife. Be warned that the track is heavy on noise, drone, and industrial sounds; the majority of it is a thick, doomy haze of oppressive sounds, featuring heavily distorted instruments pounding away mercilessly at a singular groove. This is almost as minimal as you get without drifting into SUNN O))) territory. However, the sound of this is powerful beyond belief. If you have an ear for drone, noise, or industrial sounds, this will take your breath away. Think early THROBBING GRISTLE pounding with the intensity of BLACKONE-era Sunn or perhaps early period EARTH and you'll have a good idea of how intense this part is. It took my breath away. Another point of comparison would be if you cut LOU REED's METAL MACHINE MUSIC up into 10-minute chunks and layered them all on top of one another. Pure catharsis through the sheer power of violent noise. The other tracks are really, really good, but this one makes this a masterpiece for me.

"Amaranth the Peddler" is a perfect closer to this album. It focus on pretty, melodic sounds, but has rather mysterious chord voicings and progressions backing it, keeping a similar meandering feel as the opener. It doesn't touch on the heavier elements; TOBY DRIVER and company wisely understood that those parts had been used enough and let "Amaranth" focus on being rather poetic and lyrical with some easing music behind it. Still avant-garde, yes, but closer in feel to the modal explorations of MILES DAVIS or MWANDISHI-era HERBIE HANCOCK.

For me, a great deal of what makes this album so perfect is its sequencing. The opening track has bits of all the sounds that will follow, the second one offers an exploration of quiet sounds, the third explores the heavy sounds, the fourth sets up a moment of pure catharsis, and the last track brings you down and lets you breathe a bit. It feels like a true album, in which the songs complement and comment upon one another. Brilliant piece of work.

And now, for a personal note to Toby and anyone in control of pressing this album: This has been out of printed for at least the past year or two, which is a crime. Of all Kayo Dot's albums, this is my absolutely favorite and to not be able to purchase it feels like a crime. I am aware that this is likely because sales on other Kayo or related albums are not high enough to afford a repressing, and this saddens me.

So, to everyone reading this far: Buy their back catalog so that, one day, I might own a physical copy of this album. Yes, this plea is selfish, but you have to know how much I love this thing!

Gorloche | 5/5 |


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