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COYOTE

Kayo Dot

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Kayo Dot Coyote album cover
3.82 | 148 ratings | 25 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Calonyction Girl (7:59)
2. Whisper Ineffable (11:13)
3. Abyss Hinge 1: Sleeping Birds Sighing in Roscolux (3:45)
4. Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature (13:40)
5. Cartogram Out Of Phase (3:11)

Total Time 39:48

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Toby Driver / bass, vocals
- Mia Matsumiya / violin, guitar
- David Bodie / drums, percussion, gong
- Daniel Means / saxophone
- Terran Olson / keyboards, organ, piano, synths, saxophone
- Tim Byrnes / trumpet, french horn

Thanks to jtp88 for the addition
and to Evolutionary Sleeper for the last updates
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Choirs of the EyeChoirs of the Eye
Tzadik 2003
Audio CD$9.40
$7.05 (used)
Gamma KnifeGamma Knife
Limited Edition
Antithetic 2012
Vinyl$15.54
CoyoteCoyote
Hydra Head Records 2010
Audio CD$7.99
$8.00 (used)
Kayo Dot - Hubardo (2CDS) [Japan LTD CD] DYMC-218Kayo Dot - Hubardo (2CDS) [Japan LTD CD] DYMC-218
Indies Japan
Audio CD$32.91
Dowsing Anemone with Copper TongueDowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue
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Audio CD$43.37
$0.84 (used)
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KAYO DOT Coyote ratings distribution


3.82
(148 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
28%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)
7%

KAYO DOT Coyote reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progkidjoel
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Probably my most anticipated release of the year so far, Kayo Dot's 2010 release is, as was expected from Toby and the gang, an incredibly enigmatic and poetic foray into a whole new world for the band. The album is not metal in any typical sense; rather a much darker, more foreboding lyrically based recording. The album is a single, narrative-driven masterpiece split into 5 tracks. Not only is this new territory for Kayo Dot, but new territory for progressive music - with the birth of a new genre (Goth Fusion), expectations were high, and indeed met. It isn't fair to categorise this album lightly, although this album is without a doubt truly progressive.

The lyrics and album are dedicated to a friend of the band, Yuko Sueta, who recently, and tragically, passed away due to breast cancer. The lyrics and concept detail the last days of her life. As expected, Kayo Dot mix up the compositions and instrumentation a lot on this one, with Toby on bass, and nearly no guitar at all. The main instruments are bass, trumpet and alto-sax, with an underpinning, loose and free drum section.

The album opens up with the first part of Coyote, 'Calonyction Girl'. The opening lyrics of 'Help me... I'm disappearing' are sung in a truly ethereal fashion, and the instrumentation is immediately distressing and dark. The bass creates an incredibly dark and heavy sound, which works with the drums to create heaviness in the absence of typically metal instrumentation and playing. The single syllable lyrics in the latter half of the track, combined with the sorrow-filled violin and crescendo of drums and bass, create an atmosphere that is both disheartening and frighteningly beautiful at the same time. This section closes with the tragically sung lyrics 'I want to live forever...'

'Whisper Ineffable' opens with soft violin commences with soft trumpets and evil bass playing. Fierce drumming and straining vocals with trumpet and saxophone layers soon join, helping to create metallic music without metallic instrumentation and building layer upon layer of brilliance. This track feels like a step towards the heaviness the band used to employ more thoroughly, although the instrumentation lends and entirely different atmosphere and quality to the music. Entering a moor of such dark sounding compositions was not really expected, although nothing Kayo Dot ever makes really is.

'Abyss Hinge 1: Sleeping Birds Sighing In Roscolux' is the album's only instrumental track, which consists of a repeated rhythmic section with a fantastic keyboard solo over the top. The occasional saxophones and trumpets cut in to help break up the pace, and the foreboding echoes in the background also create a solid base, which plays perfectly into the start of...

'Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature' opens up with a slow bass rhythm and wonderful saxophone, trumpet and alto-sax interplay which is occasionally cut into by lovely, eastern sounding violin sections. The drums are probably at their rhythmic peak for the album here, which, combined with the trumpets and (absolutely wonderful) saxophone work, create a completely new beast, and take long, gallant steps towards uncharted territory. This section changes pace rapidly with slow vocals from Toby, with nothing but a pounding echo. This track is incredibly diverse as far as mood goes, featuring sections repeated from the first Abyss Hinge, albeit with much looser drumming (one of my favourite drum sections EVER) and even better saxophone and trumpet interludes and overtures. This track closes with more saxophone and trumpet over the familiar bass line, this time with semi-absent drumming and lovely background noises.

The 5 section composition comes to a close with 'Cartogram Out Of Phase', which is easily my favourite track as far as emotional value goes and is definitely high up in their catalogue for my favourite. This probably has what are my favourite, and what I consider to be, the band's most heart-felt lyrics to date. This slower piece is absolutely wonderful and provides a brilliant closer. The mood is once again incredibly unique, which to this reviewer sound like a resignation to fate... The album closes with the line 'With a perfect shade of love... Filling the empty holes in my heart'.

This album is easily my favourite of 2010 so far, and in all honesty, I don't expect anything to contest for this place. By creating such a unique album, which is still filled with Toby and the gang's signature style, I truly believe this band has shown that they're an entity at the top of its creative power. Although a departure from the old style of the band, I can't complain with the new direction Kayo Dot has taken, and as always, I eagerly await the next chapter in what I consider to be the artistic pinnacle of modern music. Its also worth mentioning that Yuko Sueta wrote the lyrics to this album, which helps give it a much more authentic feel, and at the same time makes it much more tragic and realistic.

Needless to say, 5/5 for this one.

-Joel

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Send comments to progkidjoel (BETA) | Report this review (#280673) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2010

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars New Kayo Dot album just put the last Dot over i. Even if their debut (on Zorn's Tzadik, by the way) some years ago had visible traces of prog metal roots (what possibly was the reason they sometimes are tagged as post metal band, by mistake, for sure), this new release has no relation with metal at all. I believe some fans will hate that idea, but -sorry...

So, music there is avant-rock. Based on dark gothic visions, strongly influenced by modern classical music, and - free jazz. Compositions are mostly free form, but with complex structure and far from easy accessible. What doesn't mean automatically, that music is great ,though. But there are nerve, energy, and listener can hear they're searching something new in music. Running off from stereotypes.

It's quite difficult to describe their sound-mix, but try to imagine Zappa's free-form symphony mixed with Zorn's hardcore minimalism. Audio pictures, framed by complex drums, bass from one side and violin and sax from another. With empty central part.

In all cases, no way easy listening. No pleasant, to be honest, as well. But interesting and stimulating. Should be checked by all avant garde lovers, and possibly avoided by all others.

P.S. After some months of listening this album grow up in me. One of the best release from 2010. Really 4,5, rounded to 5!

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#280676) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2010

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Are you familiar with Univers Zero, especially their latest (2010) release ? Because "Coyote" is its little bit darker brother. Less Symphonic, more dissonant, but nothing extreme.

I wanted to do something insane that is in contradiction so after waking up with Klaatu's Hope I've decided to put on Kayo Dot's new album for fourth time (three times yesterday, but I wasn't able to write a word) and finally sum few scattered ideas and write a review.

How Prog is involved ? Well, proper analyses are in two previous reviews by two guys who know about this far more than I do, so I won't try to be smart guy (because I lack proper knowledge) and will rather present you my feelings.

Really no easy listening (No elevator / mall / lounge music), but also not impossible to enjoy. For example Whisper Ineffable is dark, frantic drumming, strong bass flavour that makes atmosphere pretty thick, but on the other hand there is violin and saxophone so even this song is far from being balanced, it is enjoyable even by me (and you know how Trout Mask Replica experiment failed, something that I mention quite regularly - one has to set the rules and lines).

And this Klaatu album I mentioned isn't a joke, I really wanted to try positive symphony and then dark, Coyote symphony. At least in mood. This comparison was meant to help me separate two different universes, to enjoy opposites. And I didn't conceive better opposites than these ones. And it works. Weird experiment, but helps me to understand this music better.

This is Avant, whatever it means (and I understand more and more what it means by listening to these bands - and I'm glad that I am able to enjoy them, because I can imagine not being able - as this is genre quite difficult for some to swallow. Well, Prog prepared me as I used to say). This is Prog, again, whatever it means. But in this case, I understand it as exploring of new frontiers, new horizons of music that is advenrutours, but still human being is able to listen it.

You know what ? Sometimes I feel the atmosphere of 60's Miles Davis albums, especially Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature which is (when using these mood synonyms) also the lightest song of this album.

4(+), but only because this record leaves me little bit confused and even though I know that I like this kind of music, that Coyote is a good release, both as someone who likes it and as someone who evaluates it from Prog point of view, I'm not sure about the very last parts of rating process, therefore don't know if half a star more wouldn't be too much. But there is possibility of this being true more prominent than ever before.

Sad that this album is so short.

I think I will revisit Univers Zero too

Thanks Joel (progkidjoel) for encouraging me so that I've tried this record.

EDIT: Now it seems that it lost some of its magic, so I'm changing rating to 4(+)

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#280789) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 07, 2010

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A fabulous, exquisite progressive fiery is this 2010 effort by Kayo Dot entitled "Coyote": by mastering their own lucidness at opening new realms for authentic avant-garde rock and managing to evolve in consistent yet surprising ways, we have witnessed Kayo Dot starting as a post-metal unit and presently becoming a genuine chamber-rock ensemble without losing an inch of musical coherence along the road. It's all about thinking and writing in terms of atmospheres and textures within an eclectic musical framework that feels simultaneously friendly to the power of experimental metal, the emotional darkness of post- rock, the agile colorfulness of free-jazz, the inscrutable challenges of post-modern chamber and the somber intelligence of RIO. In their previous release "Blue Lambency Downward", Driver, Matsumiya & co. were particularly preoccupied with enhancing the introspective vibe of post-rock as a main focus; now, based on the inspiration drawn from the late writer/filmmaker Yuko Sueta's poems about mortality, longing and transcendence, the RIO element happens to be the dominant one. The instrumental developments comprised in all tracks provide a wide room for the brass items to shine within the overall structures, which means that Mia's violin is not as featured here as it was in earlier albums (or even in Maudlin Of The Well's 2009 release, were she was just a very special guest). Anyway, she also provides some input on occasional guitar interventions, while the band's guiding brain Toby Driver cuts down his usually busy work to the bass guitarist's role (besides singing). The album's key factor is the way that the trumpet, saxes and violin elaborate tense orchestrations and dense moods, at times leaving room for some exciting organ solos that shake the ground up and down. Well, going for the album's tracks themselves, we'll start with the opener 'Calonyction Girl', which installs a grayish dynamics where tension and passion melt fluidly. Driver's singing is urgent and a bit distant as well, and had it not been present, the educated listener would have mistaken this KD piece for one written by Univers Zero or Vortex. The global framework's claustrophobic mood is quite effective at displaying emotional turmoil. A few seconds before the 5 minute mark, the framework lights up a little bit, but the psychological thunderstorm remains intact all the way to the end. 'Whisper Ineffable' is the album's first epic, and as such, it is in charge of bringing up occasions of bombast for the ensemble. The 3 minute long prelude installs an aura of expectation: Byrnes' trumpet delivers robust emotions and fills the whole center stage before the drum kit enters and states a solid scheme for the band. What happens next is a lovely mixture of dreamy post-rock and eerie avant-jazz augmented with spacey psychedelic ambiences. Toby Driver seems like he's drowning in a mental trance while he's delivering his lines. At the 7 minute mark, the track shifts to a series of languid pulsations that conveniently prepare the arrival of the orchestral code, very much on a RIO- like note. The first section of 'Abyss', 'Sleeping Birds Sighing in Roscolux', shows the first moments of real extroversion in the album, featuring semi-tribal drumming, an exciting organ solo and an undercurrent industrial ambience. The second section of 'Abyss', 'The Shrinking Armature', incarnates the album's other epic, and may I add that it is arguably its definitive highlight. The first 4 ˝ is a sublime, majestic exercise on power and refinement that is very reminiscent of Univers Zero's classic legacy (first 3 albums). When the brief sung sections emerges, the basic sonority shifts toward a post-rock thing wrapped in cosmic airs of crepuscular desperation. It won't take long before the sense of tension returns, which is when the dissonant web of violin, organ, trumpet and sax build a dark landscape on the shoulders of Bodies muscular percussive architecture. Perhaps this is his best performance in the whole album: his impressive dynamics becomes the essential nucleus for the band as a whole. Tension reins supreme and cannot pass unnoticed, but it does in a partially patent fashion: the fact is that part of this tension remains a bit subdued all throughout this instrumental journey, and this is undisputed proof of the particular musical intelligence that we have come to expect from any KD album. For its last 1 ˝ minutes, the track creates a cleverly gradual descent as if portraying something that is fading away (or growing apart) slowly. The last song, 'Cartogram Out Of Phase', is an elegiac song full of soft sadness and soft melancholy delivered on a subtle bluesy pace. Perhaps some (like me) would have loved it if this track had been just a bit longer, but again, that is something that might as well be applied to some other track in the album. Why isn't this album longer than its 40 minute span? Wishful thinking like this may be OK, but all in all, it shouldn't fog our minds to keep us blind about its amazing brilliance. Certainly, "Coyote" is yet another manifestation of musical greatness, which means that Kayo Dot remains a big name in the contemporary avant-rock area. IMHO, this is their best release so far.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#285514) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 07, 2010

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Upon listening to a new Kayo Dot album, the only thing that I find predictable is that I'm going to like it. A lot. And once again that has held true for Coyote, the bands fourth album, which is a very good thing because this is without doubt one of my two most anticipated releases for 2010 (the other being Kayo Dots Stained Glass EP, go figure). Its also true that, for the fourth album in a row, Toby Driver has taken the band in a new direction.

On first listen of Coyote two things stand out. The first being that this is probably the heaviest album Kayo Dot has made since the debut Choirs of the Eye, this despite the fact that all traces of metal, be it distorted guitars or screaming vocals, have long since gone. The second thing is that the electric guitar seems to be a thing of the past now as well, or at least on this release at any rate. What we have is an album of dark, menacing and unsettleing atmospheres created through Driver using the bass guitar as a lead instrument, holding both rhythm and melody whilst the violins, saxophones, trumpet and keyboards add a whole range of colour and feel to the compositions with all of them alternatly leading or supporting the smooth and dissonant melodies that make up this amazing album. Though this album is clearly dominated by the bass guitar, Drivers decision to give leading roles in different places throughout this album to all members of the band, even drummer David Bodie, is clearly a good move as the counterpoint created by the mulitple roles of the instruments has led to a feel of a reel group effort on this album, whereas its predecessor Blue Lambency Downward could at times be accused of being mostly a duo effort from Driver and violinist Mia Mastumiya.

As far as this albums musical direction is concerend, the best description would be to say that its a development of the previous album but with a greater emphasis placed on the free jazz aspects. I've also heard the term "goth-fusion" being placed on Coyote and Driver himself cites early goth bands like Faith and the Muse and The Cure as prime influences on his creation of this music. Now, in the more obviously melodic parts of the alum this influence is easily decerned in Drivers bass playing but I wouldnt really say that it extends too much to the other musicians, probably because an ensemble of bass/violin/saxes/keyboards/trumpets wasnt exactly the usual set up for goth rock.

I've mentioned that the album posesses an unrelentingly dark atmosphere, to a level that would make Univers Zero circa Heresie proud, and thats something that might put people off. But thast fitting for this album as its lyrics concerne the last days of life for someone that knows that they are dying and Coyote is not just dedicated to Yuko Sueta but she wrote the lyrics for it as well. Now, for those that don't know Yuko Sueta was a visual artist and close friend of the band who died of breast cancer this last year and the lyrics are her personal refflections on death. With that thought lodged firmly in mind the heartfelt, haunting singing of Toby Driver on this album never ceases to give me goosbumps.

I dont know what it is about Toby Driver but his projects, particularly Kayo Dot, never cease to amaze me at every turn and Coyote is no different. Its dark, haunting and utlimetly unsettleing sound and feel blows me away and I make no apology for once again giving 5 stars to Kayo Dot album. This will probably remain as the best album of the year that I will hear and more than that it is going down as one of the best albums I've ever heard and all but matches the bands classic debut Choirs of the Eye.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#288755) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars The first half of the 2009 Maudlin of The Well album had made such an impression on me that I felt encouraged enough to also try out the new Kayo Dot. And again we are buried under expressions of alienation, misery and pitch-black nihilism. But regardless how impressive the music can be at times, the self-important weltschmerz portrayed here can be hard to swallow. Once you are passed that this album reveals some sheer brilliance.

The main problem sits with the vocals which can't be better described then the sound you would get if you'd play the dying wail of Jeff Buckley at an 'off' pitch. I'm not easily put off by vocals (unless they're obviously incompetent), but this type of free expression takes some time to get used to before you can enjoy the great avant-garde jazz prog that is played here. And there are occasions aplenty to enjoy the music. Whisper Ineffable is largely instrumental and simply gorgeous. The Abyss Hinge is mostly instrumental and is really adventurous, wandering off into bleak scary swamps that are usually inhabited with the Universe Zeros of this planet, the closing Cartogram is calm and jazzy.

I had to go back a couple of albums in this artist's discography to be able to crack the code, but it looks like I'm totally sold now.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#297281) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 03, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After the disappointing "Blue Lambency Downward", Kayo Dot return with a near perfect masterpiece: Indeed, "Coyote" is so far the best abum of 2010, and the best album of the band since their wonderful debut "Choirs Of The Eye".

Every Kayo Dot fan knows how this band never keeps one style, but always changes, so every album is completely different from the rest: "Coyote" is not an exception.

The sound is much darker, more sinister, more alarmed, and definitely more down earth than the first three albums. Mainly the reason is that a dear friend of the band had died before the recording of this album, and so it was dedicated to the friend.

The structure of the album is also quite impressive: five songs, just like the debut, but differently put together, thanks to the two parts of "Abyss Hinge", the center of the album.

All the songs are amazing: "Calonyction Girl" is one of the most successful representations of agony I've ever heard, "Whisper Ineffable" is a breathtaking, eleven minutes of alternated moods, from calm and tense, to wild and somewhat confusing, the two parts of "Abyss Hinge", the first one short, instrumental, and full of different sounds, and the second part, long (thirteen minutes), and in some moments relaxing, some tense, and the ending song "Cartogram Out Of Phase", even this short but interesting.

A brilliant album, that you should give a try if you're into progressive music.

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Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Review by Any Colour You Like
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Kayo Dot's much anticipated fourth release is one that is sure to generate a lot of discussion for several reasons. Having transformed themselves from album to album, Kayo Dot is one band that actually does defy any attempt at a definition. Put a tag on them, and by the next album, that tag is as good as useless. Therefore, when I first listened to this album, I had no clue what I was about to listen to. And that is a good thing.

Coyote is a stream of consciousness, a musical journey, an exploration, a catharsis. What Coyote is, is a re-definition of what Kayo Dot is. Gone are the dense guitars of Choirs of the Eye, the droning elements of Dowsing, and gone are the nightmarish free-jazz fusion elements of Blue Lambency Downward. Coyote is loosely based in chamber rock, but experiments with jazz chromatics, ambient, neo-classical music and atonality. In fact, a lot of this album is far from traditional in the melodic sense. It sounds like a nightmare. Toby Driver's vocals tend to shift from more traditional singing to atonal wails, signifying the downward conscious spiral of the storyline. The instrumental freak-outs that morph from uninspired jams to furious dissonance are apt to catch the inexperienced listener unaware. While I embrace such brazen experimentation and eclecticism, it often doesn't do much for the overall memorability of the instrumentation.

The darkness and heaviness of this album is developed through a heady mixture of instrumentation and a dense layering of noise. The dissonant chaos that this album develops replaces the more traditional metal eruptions one would be apt to see on almost any other related album. Thus, Coyote is heavy without being metallic. However, I must lament that the poetics (both sonic and literary) that made me fall initially in love with Kayo Dot appears to be missing here. Maybe I just haven't quite grasped the scale and atmosphere of Coyote, but there is an emotional void here. Ironically, it is this void which the album is intending to portray, and the uncertainty in the lyrics neatly encapsulates my feelings towards this album. Yes it's good. Yes it's challenging. But there's something missing, I just don't get that emotional hook. Alas, it's there somewhere, lost beneath the chromatic dissonance and chaos of Coyote.

I'd love to give Coyote 4 stars but I just can't bring myself to do it, in reality it is a solid 3.5 star effort.

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Posted Friday, October 08, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars You want a challenge? Try for yourself, you might actually think it is good?

I just have to be honest. At the risk of receiving hate mail from my esteemed colleagues, I can only say that this is an acquired taste and it was a taste that was bitter as far as I am concerned. I am not going to jump on the bandwagon and state this is a masterpiece like so many here. Apparently it is supposed to grow on you. It did the opposite for me. At first i was amazed. Then I hated it. There is no analysis of why it doesn't appeal to me. I simply like to be entertained by music and this has the opposite effect. We all come from different backgrounds and some music was simply not designed for us. I can see that even this review will draw people to hear Coyote just to see why I am writing this.

I was disturbed from the first wailing and off kilter drums with bizarre embellishments of violins that are played out of sync, arhythmically and out of tune. A cry that sounds like someone spat in his socks says 'Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp me Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii'm disappearing?. The doors are breathing?.. remiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind meeeeeeeeee?.. if I'm not saaaaaaaaaying anythiiiiiiiiiing?.. there's just sooooooooooooooooooo much I caaaaaaaaan saaaaaaaaaay?. I feeeeeel misplaaaaaaced" Honestly, that's what it sounds like. Just sustained wailing, no melody, chanting how he feels, which is pretty depressed and miserable, down in the dumps. The band just wallow in misery, even bring their own streamers to the party and they invite us to join in their misery. This is challenging beyond description. It sounds like a bunch of college students tuning up, or sitting in a studio and just playing anything they can without unity. There is no unification in melody or sound. Yet there is an aim, to be out of the box... OK they achieve this. They not only jump out of the box, they blow the box to pieces and we are hit by the shrapnel of cadence, meandering, tuneless drivelling multi instrumentation and blaring atonal bass nuances. Everything is totally off, and it is at first fascinating, and then becomes annoying, and then becomes depressing.

The lyrics are bleak, such as "I feel sick here?." The woodwind constantly competes with drums that just crash sporadically, the violins screech random dissonant chords. They are perhaps the worst thing about the music. At the end I felt depressed and I don't listen to music to feel depressed. Maybe this would speak to me if I were going through a break up or lost my job or a loved one passed away or I gave my soul away, but life is not like that for me. I can't relate to dark depressing sonnets and don't really want to subject my ears to hearing from the jaded warped minds of such musicians. I didn't like Soft Machine's 'Third' for the same reasons. The music is dissonant and doesn't hang together by any semblance of a thread or even a melody. The repetitious chords are actually a breath of fresh air at times as at least it begins to feel like a song. The fusion or anti fusion of instruments is astonishing. Drums crash out of time, pianos jangle randomly and in the case of Abyss Hinge we have sonic blasts of noise and some quaint sax or trumpets. Perhaps this is the best track on the album. It was kind of fun to listen to all these instruments competing together.

Cartogram Out of Phase, can't make it's mind up if it wants to be a jazz fusion piece, the crawling drum time sig, the Miles Davis trumpets, the shimmering organ are always competing, the disunity is criminal. The vocals are just miserable and despairing, "and the moon has disappeared?. I'm out of the room of my mind? with a perfect shade of love?. Filling and tolling my heart?." Or something like that. It is quite a feat of endurance to get through this.

In the title track, there are one syllable lyrics that cry from the depths of the soul and the gut wrenching music is nauseating beyond belief. It just blasts away fluidly and yet out of sync. I kind of liked the first track as a curio of RIO. As a one off it is fine but not a whole album of this. It's not even as accessible as Zappa. I can see how this appeals, as its brave, its challenging, its like nothing else out there, but it is simply not entertaining. Your parents may hate this. As a parent I would cry if my children were listening to this. There's so much better and more positive prog out there.

I guess what makes prog so great is that it encompasses such a wide range of music. Not everything will appeal and not everything is going to be deemed a masterpiece although a majority might say it is. The rest of us remain in our quiet place ignoring this type of music so the only people who review RIO curios like this are those who actually like the genre. I can never like this genre, but Maudlin of the Well is still superb, so Toby Driver is really experimenting with the genre. I really liked Part The Second but not the animal called Coyote. I won't go on. I know that not everything has to be upbeat but Coyote is drab and disturbing. You have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy this. Bleaker than Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and I would prefer that band any day as they are much more compelling and fascinating.

2 stars for the sheer bleak atmosphere generated. But I won't be returning to this.

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Posted Monday, November 15, 2010

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Coming from dark quarters

I'm definitely not an expert on avant-chamber music but I've enjoyed Driver's work since Maudlin. I missed the last album and was caught off guard by the direction of this album, I wasn't expecting the shift toward this style. Steeped in pain and darkness (or so it seems), I read that Driver lost a very close friend named Yuko Sueta to cancer during the making of the album, and I think this comes through in the tension on Coyote. Like many Kayo fans I cherish the sound they had on Choirs but I cannot be disappointed with Coyote. We expect Driver to be one of those artists who embody the progressive attitude, to keep moving, which is what he is doing here. We'd rip him if he settled into a comfortable pattern. He comes across as perhaps channeling a modern take on the Velvet Underground mission albeit with less guitar and more freedom. Others have written that this album relates to Henry Cow or Univers Zero.

The pieces flow together into one long work, for me, with amazing violin work by Mia Matsumiya. It meanders along on this harrowing journey, unnerving as hell, yet often quite beautiful in a bleak way, like a stark black/white photograph of something both distressing but intriguing. The strings and brass are rarely melodic but rather repetitive, tense, insistent. Driver's vocals can be a little tough to take but there are plenty of spaces where he drops out in favor of instrumental sections. The more rock oriented sections help provide some variations, when the bass comes in and the drums get violent, or the minimalist guitar in the background asserts itself. ("Abyss Hinge 1" has some downright feisty, abrasive soloing, which sounds like screaming Frippian guitar but according to what others have written is apparently keyboards.) Other parts are shadowed with dissonance or dissolved in keyboards washes, but each piece is thoughtful and evolving, drawing the listener in. I find this stuff very hard to describe with words as it is so seemingly free and without structure, even though I know it is well planned and not simply improvisation. Each listen is just a little bit different and in this sense Coyote is the Kayo experience I expect.

Coyote is not my favorite album of the year but it's so interesting if you happen to be in the right mood for it. It's a musical adventure into the chaotic world around us. It's an album that couldn't give a damn if the prog community enjoys bopping around to it. It exists for its own reasons. You can sit back and soak, or you can curse the thistle-rock. Thistles can hurt like hell but they also have these beautiful purple flowers and they pulse with vibrancy in the most oppressive heat of summer. These plants many consider horrible weeds draw the butterflies to them. (sorry for the pompous analogy) Recommended for anyone who enjoys somewhat "difficult" fare.

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Posted Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars While maudlin of the Well's Part the Second was instantly accessible despite incredible creativity and intricate arrangements, I have experienced this album multiple times since I purchased it, and even now, am not quite sure what to make of it, and, while I do not know Toby Driver, my gut tells me he wouldn't have it any other way. Let me describe the experience: It's like having a dream- not quite a nightmare, but not particularly pleasant either- then waking up and not being able to remember much of it. Kayo Dot's Coyote is a hazy, murky affair. The varied instruments paint only a desolate picture. Though I feel this album is less engaging than previous works from either Kayo Dot or maudlin of the Well, it does not fail to impress me in terms of its arrangement or general moodiness.

"Calonyction Girl" Animalistic wailings of violin and brass undulate over a lazy bass. A lonely vocalist keens as though mourning the destruction of an already desolated steppe. The hypnotic repetitiveness during the second half is nearly trance-inducing. It is the best of the five compositions.

"Whisper Ineffable" Initially similar to the opener, the second piece is even lonelier and full of more despair. The song ceases to drag after the three minute mark, as pummeled drums and eerie vocals drag the listener into a spiral of confusing dissonance. Perhaps the harsh discord remains too long, but eventually the sleepy music from before returns, perforated with bass harmonics.

"Abyss Hinge 1: Sleeping Birds Sighing in Roscolux" A grittier piece of music, the third track juxtaposes high-pitched electric guitar runs with fuzzy, muffled snarls.

"Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature" The lengthiest part of the album relies more on brass and unsettling compound rhythms, pairing lingering notes with brief explosions of bass and drums, and employing a very good electric guitar motif. Unfortunately, the piece loses my attention after a while.

"Cartogram out of Phase" In a way, the closing song reminds me of lounge band that has been sneaking nips of cheap liquor from the insides of their coats- everything drags along in a languid manner, yet still retains some old-fashioned classiness.

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Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is a really challenging album that is absolutely worth a listen if you want to hear something challenging, unique and dark. It's some sort of chamber-avant-atmospheric music, composed to a poem written by a friend of the band who was dying of cancer. The album is intended as a single continuous piece, and although it is split into five distinct tracks it is strongest as a whole.

As I stated, atmosphere is the name of the game here, and that can lead to sections that are unsettlingly sparse only with mastermind Toby Drivers very-unique vocals overtop, or to chaotic sections where strings, sax, and guitar meld into a cacophony. Ultimately, the point of this album is to drive home the sense of mortality and an end coming, and it succeeds in this. But, as alluded to in the beginning, this album has a very distinct sound that is a little difficult to parse at time. Upon multiple listens it becomes very clear that the band has carefully thought out the feeling behind each note but that does not make the music any easier to parse. Expect to give this album many devoted listens before any sort of understanding truly emerges.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to predict how this album will settle with any particular listener. There is very little discernible here in the way of melody, or rock - the palette of noises is unusual and beyond what one would normally expect to hear. This is a double edged knife, and while it is clear that the music has been expertly crafted, as some times it is still too alien for me to be moved by it. How well you react emotionally will of course depend upon your pre- disposition to these kinds of sounds.

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Posted Sunday, December 12, 2010

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Soundtrack to a Bad Trip

Toby Driver has been trying to translate a nightmare into recorded sound for some time now. As Kayo Dot's COYOTE opens with a painful wail, I thought he'd finally done it. In my review of the Dots' previous album, BLUE LAMBENCY DOWNWARD, I complained that Driver seemed to have forgotten that we the audience were part of the picture. He was in his own self-absorbed world of major depression. On my first listen to COYOTE, I almost laughed out loud because he had fixed that exact shortcoming. Much more attention has been paid to pacing, movement, and emotional communication on this album. Certainly, the narrator of this tale is in misery, but as the very first line describes "Heeellllpp Meeee," we can feel Driver reaching out to us. We're being drawn in to the horror. And what a difference that choice makes.

Drivers style has evolved a lot over the years to the point that I'd describe COYOTE as a kind of avant chamber rock. Where BLD felt like free form jazz at times, I can almost see Driver directing the members of his band on this one. The horns, strings, and bass (which is especially splendid) provide almost all of the tonal structure to the album, and their performances remind much more of classical music (though very avant) than rock. There is no metal here at all. There is plenty of intense, heavy handed drumming and some electronic textures, but COYOTE is more like a Univers Zero record than it is like Driver's previous band Maudlin of the Well.

There are places where the music falls off the edge into chaos, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing given the type of music this is. But there's really not a sense of growing tension or release on either side of the noise. You, the listener, are just moved from one form of misery to another. These sections are not insufferably long as they were on the previous record, and I can understand Driver's basic intentions placing those parts in the songs. Its just that it doesn't work for me. Similarly, some of the slower sections still drag a bit too long. Thankfully, I can always feel a kind of pulse, a sense of rhythm running even if it is woefully crippled, like a 17 year old dog with a thorn in one paw and a bad hip over another.

Unifying all of Drivers work is a singular sense of tonality which often creates an eerie beauty that is virtually nowhere else. I'm not sure I can pin it down, but Driver's work is pretty quickly identifiable. Perhaps its just the combination of rhythm, lyrical theme, pale oblivion, too much junk in the veins, hard to tell.

Two of the best pieces on the record are the opener "Calonyction Girl" which sets the horrorific stage, and the multi-part "Abyss Hinge." The second is a (relatively) quicker, livelier piece with a lot more going on in the mix. Part I is nicely concise, and the first third of Part II does its job to maintain interest. Just when things become a morass of quicksand again, a lonely trumpet playing a (gasp) major melody comes in and then it picks up, only to wander to its conclusion. In contrast, the second track "Whisper Ineffable" is pretty much mud the entire way and doesn't have much to say that wasn't already done better in the opener. Also, having two major downer tracks in a row was just a little too much. The closer "Cartogram Out of Phase" is again painfully slow, I think quarter note = 7 or something. But the vocal is more focused, has some nice interplay with the instruments, and the piece finishes in a merciful 3:11. I wouldn't say we get any kind of release, but there is just enough major tonality and lift at the end that I don't finish feeling like I'd been beaten with a hammer.

I must say that of all the music to hack your wrist to in the world (of which there is far too much) this is probably one of the best. Perhaps it is because I have something to live for that this music doesn't connect with me more than it does. I certainly recognize an artistic talent that is quite high, and an achievement that far surpasses its predecessor. To balance my mixed feelings Im giving 3/5. That seems fair.

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Posted Friday, December 17, 2010

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I really had no intentions of getting this one after the disappointment of "Blue Lambency Downward" and certainly the poor ratings for that one indicate I wasn't the only one who was let down. I was convinced though from people on this site that this one wasn't nearly as minimalistic, that it had some life in it, and that it was very good. And I agree on all counts. In fact when the vocals are silent i'm reminded of Terje Rypdal and of the ECM label in general because of the atmosphere with horns and violin. I like the mood here.

"Calonyction Girl" opens with violin and sparse sounds as a voice cries out "Help me ! I'm disappearing." The melancholy and sad words continue. It picks up some around 3 minutes. Horns too. "Whisper Ineffable" features mournful horns, bass and other sounds that come and go. Drums kick in with vocals after 3 minutes as the horns continue.This is intense with the drumming upfront. It settles back 7 minutes in.The horns are prominant late to end it.

"Abyss Hinge 1 : Sleeping Birds Sighing In Roscolux" has a powerful intro as drums pound. Killer stuff right here. It settles before 3 1/2 minutes with horns to end it. "Abyss Hinge 2 : The Shrinking Armature" is my favourite. Horns and drums weave their way through this amazing piece of music.Incredible ! A change after 4 1/2 minutes as it calms right down with mournful vocals. It starts to pick back up 7 1/2 minutes in with drums and horns leading the way. Great sound. "Cartogram Out Of Phase" is slow moving with vocals and more throughout.

A return to form and their best since "Choirs Of The Eye" in my opinion. Closer to 4.5 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review by m2thek
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Coyote is an incredibly dark and bleak piece of music. The music that Kayo Dot has crafted for this album is hardly pleasant to listen to, but there's just something about it that keeps me coming back for more listens. If you're ready for your ears to be assaulted, and possibly come away very confused, Coyote is an extremely intriguing album, and effective in its purpose.

This album is somewhat of a tribute to a close friend of the band, Yuko Sueta, who sadly passed away last year. Toby Driver's original plan was to release this as a solo album, with accompanying art and story by Sueta, but as her health declined, and took a turn for the worst, the whole band took on the project in her memory. The lyrics were adapted from poems that Sueta wrote while she was in the hospital, and the vocal and music style employed reflects the pain and suffering that she was going through. The story behind Coyote is very touching, and makes the album very interesting on a conceptual level.

While the concept is interesting, interesting may not be enough to carry the album for you. The music consists of extremely dissonant and moody jazz, with lots of repeated, brooding brass sections, played over purely evil sounding bass and drums. There is no relief of consonance around the corner, so the tension just builds and builds with no ultimate resolution. There's not a lot that's particularly pleasing to listen to here, but if nothing else, the music is incredibly successful at conveying the melancholy the subject material calls for. It's important to note that while not pleasing, the music is intricate and interesting to listen to, that is, if your ears can take it.

The vocals are as much, if not more effective at making you feel down than the instruments are. Every word is drawn out, with each syllable having lots of space between it. Driver sounds like he's in agony when he sings, adding yet another layer of emotion. The lyrics, as you'd expect, are depressing, but it's interesting to listen to them knowing where they came from.

Even though I don't particularly like Coyote, I can't stop myself from wanting to listen to it. I have a morbid curiosity with it, and I don't think it's ever going to get satisfied. Each listening does get a little bit easier, but this is a very, very slow burn. Also, if you've never heard really dissonant brass music before, this is probably the worst place you could ever pick to start. It wasn't until I exposed myself to music that had it in bits that I could really get into this. If Coyote is your first taste of this kind of music, I suggest you listen in very short bursts. If you force yourself to like it, chances are, you won't.

After listening to this album, I'm not really sure what to think. I'm a little confused, and I don't feel any better than I did before listening. That's the point of Coyote, but it's just a little too good at making you feel bad. I can't imagine anyone not being touched by the story behind it, and if you're willing to take the plunge, the music serves as a great representation of the raw emotion and pain that spawned it.

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Posted Saturday, January 08, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Kayo Dot: Coyote [2010]

Rating: 9/10

Coyote is the fourth album from American avant-garde group Kayo Dot. I have found that many great bands tend to change and grow throughout the course of their careers. Although some artists are able to stick to a specific style for decades without sounding stale, most respectable musicians find themselves evolving and adapting their sound to fit new artistic goals. Toby Driver's music has undergone numerous transitions throughout his relatively young career, both within Kayo Dot and with his other projects. Kayo Dot began as an experimental rock group focused on combining metal, chamber-music, and ambient to create a unique take on rock/metal music. However, 2008's Blue Lambency Downward showed the band almost completely eschewing the metal elements of their sound. Coyote takes this approach even further. All metal influences have been completely eliminated in favor of mercilessly dark avant-garde jazz-fusion.

I tend to roll my eyes when the word "dark" is used to describe music. Artists that deliberately try to make their music dark often fall into needless melodrama and unnecessary disharmony. Kayo Dot take this approach on Coyote; the lyrics were based on a story from a dying friend of the band. This is one of the most unrelentingly bleak records that I have ever encountered, but the darkness sounds natural and genuine throughout. The music here has been described as "goth fusion", and I cannot conjure up a more apt term. Coyote combines the experimental jazz-fusion sounds of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock with a dark and brooding atmosphere that would not be out of place on an industrial-rock album. Guitar has been almost completely eliminated; trumpet, violin, and saxophone are the primary melodic instruments here. These are backed up by a stunning rhythm section that brings a strong sense of groove to this pitch-black madness. All of this is complimented by Toby Driver's vocals. Toby's voice can be either pretty of horrifying, and his vocal work on this album trends towards the latter. His singing on this album is horribly tortured and emotional.

"Calonyction Girl" has to be one of the most emotionally harrowing and stunningly atmospheric pieces of music that I have ever heard. Toby's tortured vocals stay with me long after the track has ended, and the instrumental interplay is perfectly seamless and fascinating. "Whisper Ineffable" is probably the most disquieting piece on the album, which is certainly saying something. Toby sounds like an unhinged lunatic, spewing sounds that one would not normally consider musical. However, it all sounds cohesive, and even the most discordant sections are driven by a sense of musical purpose. "Abyss Hinge 1: Sleeping Birds Sighing in Roscolux" is a darkly groovy instrumental with insane electronic effects. The impressive drumming contrasts well with the madness. "Abyss Hinge 2: The Shrinking Armature" is, simply put, one of the greatest pieces of jazz-fusion that I have ever heard. Each and every musician is in total prime form here. The instrumental interplay is nothing short of astounding; the groove is irresistible and the melodies are disturbingly compelling. "Cartogram Out of Phase" is a short concluding piece. Oddly enough, this track manages to sound both pretty and disturbing at the same time. Toby's voice is fragile and the instrumentation is darkly lush.

On Coyote, Kayo Dot managed to do what so many bands cannot. They created a melodramatic piece of darkness that doesn't even come close to sounding forced or artificial. This is no emo snoozefest; it is a bleak desert of disquieting insanity and complex pain. Such things sound unpleasant, and they are. But must all art merely reflect the positive and simpler side of things? Kayo Dot have created a rewardingly dense piece of work here, full of fascinating musicianship and intricate emotions. However, do not expect music without a significant degree of challenge. It took me several listens before I even began to understand all of this album's intricacies. Such challenges should not deter; in fact, they should encourage. Any open-minded music fan who is willing to spend a lot of time with an album should find a plethora of things to appreciate on the masterpiece that is Coyote.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#613999) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars This album features a return to form sonically to what KAYO DOT was doing on DOWSING ANEMONE IN COPPER TONGUE; take that as you will. I personally found this greatly satisfying. While BLUE LAMBENCY DOWNWARD's ethereal sonic space was satisfying in a certain way, really playing on the chamber musi ... (read more)

Report this review (#409030) | Posted by Gorloche | Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars At this point, Kayo Dot has become more akin to chamber rock outfit expanding 20th century composer's ideas in a 'rock' oriented setting. Coyote sounds like a nightmare happening in the space between existence and non-existence. Bookended by beautiful manifestations of pure despair, Kayo Dot ... (read more)

Report this review (#357074) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Frightening, morbid, sad, depressing, but still a masterpiece. Toby Driver managed to synthetize the fear of death and despair into this album, in homage to his friend who lost her life to cancer. And what a hell of a incredible trip this album is. From the agonizing vocals on Calonyction Girl ... (read more)

Report this review (#327314) | Posted by The Neck Romancer | Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One thing I've noticed about Kayo Dot albums (or maybe it's all a huge coincidence...) is that each successive album expands upon a subtle sound/style used on the previous album. For example, Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue expanded on Choirs of the Eye's dissonance and droning, Blue Lamben ... (read more)

Report this review (#287310) | Posted by philGab | Saturday, June 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I got this album expecting somthing completly different and at first i was a little bit dissapointed, i was told the band was like isis, which they are in the post sense but hardly the same at all. The album has alot of horns, sax, strings, bass and alot of atmospherical effects, very little ... (read more)

Report this review (#286447) | Posted by DASistGrantTeeL | Monday, June 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Help me! I´m disappearin´!!! The first two verses of the album (appropriately tearfully singing) perfectly describes a whole substance of this piece. That is to say, disappearing, searching, sadness, even nihilism or decadence. I declare: this smiling woman face on the front cover is only one smi ... (read more)

Report this review (#285948) | Posted by Gandalff | Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Toby Driver continues to push the envelope! Amazing! While I can see some people not liking, not enjoying, or even detesting the music on Kayo Dot's latest, "Coyote"--because it strays so far from what are "normal" parameters for "pleasing" or melodic music, I, myself, stand in awe at Toby & crew's ... (read more)

Report this review (#284736) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Thursday, June 03, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How much music in this beautiful album of Kayo Dot! Finally something that comes from repeated and often tiring patterns of progressive music to introduce fresh air and beautiful and valuable news. The album is dense, dark, mercurial and hypnotic blend of electronics distortion. Surrounded by so ... (read more)

Report this review (#284549) | Posted by zorn1 | Wednesday, June 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am probably one of the few Kayo Dot fans that prefers the Blue Lambency Downward stuff over the old Kayo Dot/motW stuff. I'm not saying Toby Driver doesn't mix it up a bit, I see a different quality in all of his albums, but Blue Lambency Downward was my fav. With that said, I expect to see a ... (read more)

Report this review (#278908) | Posted by maxiepad2006 | Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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