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Kayo Dot Plastic House On Base Of Sky album cover
3.83 | 118 ratings | 4 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Amalia's Theme (7:33)
2. All The Pain In All The Wide World (10:09)
3. Magnetism (7:29)
4. Rings of Earth (8:41)
5. Brittle Urchin (4:32)

Total Time 38:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Toby Driver / vocals, bass, synth, guitar, producer
- Daniel Means / saxophone
- Keith Abrams / drums

- Ron Varod / guitar (5)
- Lemuel Bardor / harpsichord
- Bree Eng / pipe organ
- Duggan Elston / Hammond organ
- Valentin Dublev / Mellotron
- Gloria Hattifer / celesta
- George Chamdles / Rhodes
- Sage Riesman / violin
- Stacey Winegyn / violin
- Roman Celine / viola
- Dabe Wyche / viola
- Alexis Travelion / cello
- Landen Chelengs / contrabass
- Charmane Tressel / glass harmonica
- Bhin Turmes / trumpet
- Ephraim Narata / flugelhorn
- Stelvio Nebulli / hand percussion
- Guillaume Veltaj / hand percussion
- The Adirondack Twilight Choir / chorus vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Fuco Ueda

LP Flenser Records ‎- FR69 (2016, US)

CD Flenser Records ‎- FR69 (2016, US)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KAYO DOT Plastic House On Base Of Sky ratings distribution

(118 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

KAYO DOT Plastic House On Base Of Sky reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars My first listen to any Toby Driver music project is always so darn humbling. Every time. And Plastic House on Base of Sky is definitely no exception to this pattern. Surprise, shock and awe are invariables in my range of responses. Toby does things with sound, with music, that are beyond any conceptual imaginings that I could ever have for the scope and bounds of musical expression--and I think I have a pretty good imagination! I can honestly say that every single Kayo Dot album has caught me totally unprepared. I'm never sure whether or not I really like the music I'm hearing but I am ALWAYS floored and awed by it. Creative genius. Expanding the horizons of musical possibilities like nobody else in the 21st Century. Taking ten steps further into the realm of techno-electronic music than they did on 2014's Cofffins on Io, Toby Driver and company have once again put forth a challenge to all lovers of progressive rock and progressive music: Is this good? Is this progress? Is this prog? I can hear the arguments from both sides lasting for years to come. I, for one, like the constant unpredictability of Toby and the projects, themes, and musical directions he has chosen. To my mind, he is one of the very few truly "progressive" artists in the music industry today.

1. "Amalia's Theme" (7:33) is an amazing song of layers upon layers of--as if five different songs are all playing together as one--each "song" playing in their own channels (tracks), oblivious to one another, and yet the blend, the weave, works as a cohesive single song. This is so difficult to describe. This is techno pop taken to the next level, 70s BOWIE or 80s DEPECHE MODE elevated to meaningful sophistication. Awesome melodies, awesome effects, awesome instrumental weave, awesome synth solos, topped off by one of my favorite vocals from Toby. One of my favorite songs of the year! (10/10)

2. "All The Pain in All the Wide World" (10:09) Cool sounds can't save the discordant disconnect between music, melody and lyric on this one. Perhaps it is intentionally done, but it makes for a very difficult listening experience when one feels pulled apart in three and sometimes four or five directions all at the same time. Again, this may have been the desired effect KD had here, but I find it more than I choose to take. Perhaps it'll grow on me. (7/10)

3. "Magnetism" (7:29) DEPCHE MODE 30 years later! Even the vocal sound is stylized remarkably like that of DAVE GAHAN. No more need be said! (9/10)

4. "Rings of Earth" (8:40) opens with some synthesized drum sequence and multiple layers of synths before Toby's treated voice--mixed slightly back of front and center--enters. At 1:10 the music shifts a bit and Toby's voice comes slightly forward. This is so like early SIMPLE MINDS! Especially the rhythm programming. ("Promised You a Miracle" comes to mind.) The next shift in the third minute is pretty cool--multiple synths doing multiple things while a gradually increasing multiplicity of Tobys shout out, "Rings of Earth."* Then things return back to the second part before a ROBERT FRIPP-like heavily distorted guitar solo begins. The vocals become really cool with multiple voices layering and even harmonizing. Another outstanding song--perhaps more favored than "Amalia's Theme"! (10/10)

5. "Brittle Urchin" (4:32) opens with a heavily treated midi-bass skulking slowly over some distant background synth chords. A minute in, Toby's voice--in a fairly clear mix--leaps out at us with some more synths and slowly strummed guitar chords also present themselves very forward in the mix. At 2:30 drums and heavy bass chords join in. Toby continues singing in this pretty, mellifluous voice. It sounds like a PETER GABRIEL song! This is actually a very pretty, sedate song for TD! And a very pleasant end to an album. (10/10)

Another five star masterpiece of progressive rock music. This is rather premature, but I have a feeling that this is going to end up being my favorite TD album of all-time--even above my beloved three maudlin of The Well albums released since Y2K. Thank you, Toby, for never getting stuck in a rut, for being ever-lured to explore new pathways, for going beyond where anyone has ever gone before, for feeling that you always have to test yourself (against yourself)!

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Plastic House on Base of Sky - Kayo Dot (72/100)

Roger Ebert once wrote of the wonderful director Werner Herzog that he had never created a single uninteresting film: "Even his failures are spectacular." There are a few select bands that bring that quote to mind for me. Kayo Dot's always been one of them. I have less fingers on my left hand than bands I'd say I admire as much; even if every album hasn't hit me with the same awe, it's never been because Toby Driver and company have ever lacked for talent nor inspiration. Is there another band that's been so dedicated on reinvention? Ulver comes to mind, but even then, I don't think their leaps were always so consistently wide. Kayo Dot has fashioned immortal music from metal to drone, darkwave and beyond, but knowing that they'll always move forward makes a new KD album more promising than most.

Coffins on Io from 2014 was a predictably unpredictable turn into 1980s Goth and darkwave from a band that had created an avant-metal masterpiece with Hubardo the year before. The 80s synth fetishism didn't start on Coffins, but it was the first place where the move characterized the atmosphere. In that sense, Plastic House on Base of Sky takes less of a risk than some of Kayo Dot's past transitions. The atmosphere is unmistakably based in the retrofuturist nostalgia of the 1980s; the dark brooding synths draw from the same well as the Stranger Things soundtrack from last year, and the lo-fi but busy drum programming sounds equally as nostalgic.

Vague threads of Coffins' aesthetic have carried over to Plastic House; the new album sets itself apart in other ways instead. While Coffins on Io was thick and bassy, here Kayo Dot have gone relatively light and airy with the style and production. I don't really agree with the notion that these changes have necessarily made the music more accessible. "All the Pain in All the Wide World" is as cacophonous as anything on the earlier album, and it's arguable that they've gone even deeper into atmosphere than before. For all their nostalgic charm, the synth arrangements are cumbersome, usually busy enough to flush out most melodic hooks on the first couple spins. The most immediate track isn't "Amalia's Theme" but "Brittle Urchin", surprisingly. With fewer synth textures to wash out the mix, Toby's vocals finally get a better chance to shine through.

Even if Plastic House on Base of Sky is actually one of the less immediate albums Kayo Dot have put out, I think there is something to the way some listeners have been interpreting this new evolution as a lighter, poppy alternative to Coffins on Io. There probably is a pop musical skeleton laying here, but the atmospheric arrangement drowns it out. I don't think that's a bad or a good thing, really; "Amalia's Theme" and "Brittle Urchin" are brilliantly written enough to have succeeded as standalone unplugged pieces, while "All the Pain in All the Wide World" would probably feel just as overloaded with any approach. The hazy, ethereal vibe is what gives Plastic House its character ultimately; for better or worse, Kayo Dot committed themselves to a specific artistic niche and fleshed an album out of it.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical

Latest members reviews

5 stars Toby Driver delivers again. This album's promotional material stated that "Kayo Dot never makes the same album twice", and while this is largely true, this is definitely the most similar two albums in a row have been. This definitely is not a bad thing in this case. Coffins on Io, while fanta ... (read more)

Report this review (#1594377) | Posted by jazz2896 | Wednesday, August 3, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 4.9 Stars. All the synths in all the wide world Kayo Dot are one of those few bands that you can never tell what they are going to do next. The only true connection between PHOBOS and the rest of their discovery is the desire to combine genres and styles to create something very unique and A ... (read more)

Report this review (#1585185) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Tuesday, July 5, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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