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Kayo Dot - Stained Glass CD (album) cover

STAINED GLASS

Kayo Dot

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.94 | 41 ratings

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VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It took me far too long to pick this EP up, especially given the legendary status I tend to assign to anything Toby Driver is attached to. On that note, Stained Glass certainly does not disappoint. This single track, 20 minute long EP blends together a huge variety of styles that have appeared on previous maudlin of the Well/Kayo Dot/Toby Driver projects to create a final product that, if not quite at the level of Bath or Choirs of the Eye, is still tremendously satisfying.

"Stained Glass" begins with a section that I think is heavily reminiscent of maudlin of the Well's quieter moments; it has that same kind of gorgeous texturing and (for now at least) lacks a bit of the harshness that is prevalent in Kayo Dot's music. There's even some very laid back vocals. However, this introductory section is short lived, and the motif quickly switches to a more ominous feel. This persists for a little while before distorted guitar enters, but almost as quickly as it arrives it falls away, leaving a variety of what sounds like wind chimes at the forefront of the track. The wonderful thing about this music is how well- arranged it sounds despite its often chaotic nature. No instrument is present unless it has a purpose.

The next section of the track strips back on the instrumentation a little bit and lets some high- pitched, haunting vocals take the forefront. The bells or windchimes or whatever they are continue to play a prominent role, though some distorted string sounds enter during this section as well, giving the main instruments a howling backtrack against which to play. This persists for quite a while before subtly transitioning to add bass and winds. This middle section of the track is definitely very experimental and avant-sounding, but it's also very beautiful music if you're in the right mindset. As the track comes to an end it increases in intensity, building up and then dropping down until it finally falls away to nothing.

It's always hard to assign EPs a star rating because there's such a tendency to want to compare the rating against the ratings given to complete albums. Nonetheless, this single track accomplishes everything it sets out to do with flying colors, and while I don't think it's the absolute best thing Kayo Dot or Toby Driver has ever released, it's pretty gosh-darn good.

4/5

VanVanVan | 4/5 |

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