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DOWSING ANEMONE WITH COPPER TONGUE

Kayo Dot

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Kayo Dot Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue album cover
3.68 | 137 ratings | 39 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gemini Becoming The Tripod (10:43)
2. Immortelle And Paper Caravelle (9:42)
3. Aura On An Asylum Wall (7:44)
4. ___ On Limpid Form (18:00)
5. Amaranth The Peddler (14:07)

Total Time: 60:16

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Toby Driver / compositions, guitar, cello, bells, double-bass,
keyboard
- Greg Massi / guitar, voice
- Mia Matsumiya / violin, viola
- Ryan McGuire / bass guitar, double-bass, keyboard
- Forbes Graham / trumpet, euphonium, guitar
- D. Thomas Murray / live sound engineering and samples
- John Carchia / guitar
- Tom Malone / drums

Releases information

CD Robotic Empire 2006

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and to M@X for the last updates
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Choirs of the EyeChoirs of the Eye
Tzadik 2003
Audio CD$9.42
$8.49 (used)
Kayo Dot - Hubardo (2CDS) [Japan LTD CD] DYMC-218Kayo Dot - Hubardo (2CDS) [Japan LTD CD] DYMC-218
Indies Japan
Audio CD$38.39
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Dowsing Anemone with Copper TongueDowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue
Robotic Empire 2006
Audio CD$44.86
$11.39 (used)
Coffins on IoCoffins on Io
Flenser 2014
Audio CD$15.98
Gamma KnifeGamma Knife
Limited Edition
Antithetic 2012
Vinyl$15.15
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Stained GlassStained Glass
Limited Edition
Antithetic 2012
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CoyoteCoyote
Hydra Head Records 2010
Audio CD$8.98
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DIW Records (JAPAN)
Audio CD$35.25
$25.37 (used)
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KAYO DOT Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue ratings distribution


3.68
(137 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
35%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (15%)
15%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

KAYO DOT Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After such an unexpected, earth-shattering debut as Choirs of the Eye it is not surprising that Kayo Dot's fans had high expectations for this album. Well, what did they expect? An album done in the traditions and under the borders of the first release? A return to the roots of maudlin of the Well? Or a an album that sounds like nothing you've ever heard before, let alone the group's previous efforts? I am proud to say that, in this case, it is the latter.

When Choirs of the Eye was released, many loyal fans of the group couldn't accept the metamorphosis, which was the transition between Bath/Leaving Your Body Map and CotE. The "songs" were hardly songs anymore and would be better described as "free compositions, which opened new inspiration sources to the artists, however, with it also became more challenging for the average listener. Is the change between Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue and its predecessor even more apparant? Definitely, although now that the listeners are prepared to expect anything from Kayo Dot, it is not as surprising as it used to be. The new release seems more carefree and laid-down, surely jazzier and not as post-rocking as the debut. Those who enjoyed Choirs of the Eye(like myself)should prepare for a brand new experience once again.

The album is opened with Gemini Becoming The Tripod, a dramatic, atmospheric song with both quiet, dreaming parts, as well as apocalyptic, distorted and drone-doomy ones. The vocals(and lyrics too!) used here suit the music perfectly, and the instrumentation matches the mood of the composition - even the woodwinds help to get the message across. I especially like the outro of this track - the one that starts after the vocals end. Immortelle And Paper Caravelle is the next song, and it is more relaxing than anything else on this album. It has no surprises whatsoever, but I find the songwriting to be rich, which makes this track a personal favourite. Aura On An Asylum Wall is the shortest and, perhaps, the most "usual" track here, although that's not really the right word to describe it. The vocals don't take any long to appear and the music instantly takes the listener's attention. There is some lovely use of trumpet and violin here, which makes the jazzy parts more enjoyable. Why I said the song was more unusual was because it can be somewhat compared to the build-in structures of the previous album and it is, possibly by intention, the easiest track to listen to. The melodic jazzy part builds-in into a faster section, which eventually ends with top class Grindcore noise. I still haven't listened to that one Pig Destroyer album I've got, so this part always reminds me about it. Now, where was I, the transition seems so perfect and even logical(which is not really the world, as you feel it with your heart, not consider it mathematically obvious)that there is really nothing to complain about. The next track is ___ On Limpid Form and it sure is a contradictoring one! The first few minutes of the song are beautiful and rather easy to listen to, whereas the 13 minutes after the melodic guitar solo are pretty repetitive consisting of noises and sounds done by guitars, bass and drums. Now, this is likely to scare some of the listeners off, but I tend not to skip it whenever I listen to the album. It creates an incomparable atmosphere and, although a difficult listen devoid of any pleasure, is an interesting part of this great album. Honestly speaking, I can't confess that this track is a huge pleasure to me with a straight face, but I must still say I find it interesting enough. After such a gruesome journey that was this track, Amaranth The Peddler seems more appealing that it would be, hadn't it been the last track. It, once again, features nice trumpet and especially violin and I often say to myself ironically that the song should have been called Amaranth The Fiddler. The approach to singing is unique here as well and the instrumentation is minimalistic, yet very pleasing. There is one short moment around 8:00 that I get an eargasm from each time I hear it. Mia Matsumiya's playing in this album is something out of this world. The album ends quietly, making you want even more.

I really can not give this album less than five stars, the maximum rating, which, from my point of view, equals an absolute masterpiece. Don't forget that it was released in the year of 2006 and knowing that music nowadays progresses so impressively gives me more faith in future. If the artists continue to make new decisions and take different approach with their music each time without fear of being abandoned by their fanbase, the music will be saved. Kayo Dot seem to be a group who realizes this very well.

However, not every person would like this. I especially do NOT it to fans of usual Symphonic Prog, as no mellotrons, neo-classical guitar work and eclectic songwriting can be found here. The aim of this album is to make an attentive listener think carefully and reconsider his values in music, it is not meant to impress someone just because it can. Approach with caution, thoughtfulness and an open mind - this album is too important to be misunderstood, knowing its place in the world of music!

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Send comments to Trickster F. (BETA) | Report this review (#71399) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Words cannot describe the feeling that Kayo Dot convey with their sophomore effort. This album is dark, moody, and undeniably heavy and yet features (only a few) moments of dare I say it, uplifting music. The mostly instrumental album is the culmination of 3 years of work from the group, and it comes off remarkably well. Toby Driver guides the group through the multi-faceted compositions, which feature dreary and dark riffs, and some quirky horn/violin sections in between. One word comes to my mind when I think of this album, brilliant.

Gemini Becoming the Tripod is the opener, starting off quietly but quickly picking up pace. Driver and Massi shine vocally here, and the riffs and sounds created are nothing short of breathtaking, especially the horns used on the song. Immortelle and Paper Caravelle is next, and it has a more mellow feeling than the rest of the album. It has a very ethereal and atmospheric feeling to it, with the violin standing out in my mind as some of the greatest fusion of metal and violin I've ever heard. Aura On An Asylum Wall is third, and it has the most conventional feeling of the entire album. This song also shows some experimentation with jazz, with the horns and violin giving a great groove to the backbone of the song. ___On Limpid Form is the most noteworthy track on the album as well as the longest track on the album. The breakdown that takes place from the 8th minute to the 18th minute, which is just an onslaught of well timed chords and dissonant modes, is utterly breathtaking and in my mind the best moment on the entire album. Amarenth the Peddler concludes the album, and it takes the Post-Rock label this band has been given and takes it into new, more exciting realms, the violin on this track is utterly brilliant and I constantly refer back to this section (towards the end of the song) whenever I listen to it.

Overall, fans of metal and post-rock will find something to enjoy on this album. Although the album has so many strengths, there are a few minor gripes. One, the quiet sections are as I said, quiet, too quiet. And Aura On An Asylum Wall tends to drag on a bit in the middle. But despite these faults, there is a lot going for this album, and I highly recommend it. 4.5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#75177) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A Triumph, easily the finest of 2006 and much more.

It is with no strange occurrence to find Kayo Dot at the top of the creative heap amongst various clones and fanboy favorites. Those familiar with previous outputs are well aware of the band's ability to craft works of imaginative art and weave a variety of sounds into something nearly indescribable. This release is more mature, more moving, and better than any of their other previous outputs, and that's really saying something given the quality of their work.

First of all, throw away all preconceptions you might have about progressive metal. Otherwise it will take you extra listens to truly appreciate this work of art (the first listen would be spent completely shattering your views on the genre). A quick look at the list of instruments should give you a basic idea that this is no ordinary album. Also, those instruments actually play a crucial role in the album/song structure, unlike other albums with "guest appearances" of other instruments that are nice, but rarely needed other than to add variety. These instruments have meaning, purpose, and power over the songwriting. Graham's trumpet is especially of note on the track ___ On Limpid Form as well as its unlikely appearance in the dark and brooding Aura On An Asylum Wall.

The music evokes a "longing" effect on a variety of occasions, largely due to the work of Mia Matsumiya's violin. The drums have purpose, and are not merely beat providers, but advocates of change and tension builders. Toby Driver's vocals have become more refined and crafted to fit the music, especially of note on the opening track. As reviewer Trickster F. noted, the ending is especially powerful.

Throughout the course of the album we are presented with a variety of choices for what might have been the next stage to the song. I always find myself enjoying the choices presented by the band, having each song reach it's full potential while remaining particularly unique and avoiding predictability. The album has an undeniable jazz element, which not only gives the "weirdness" and experimental nature contrast, but showcases the musical awareness and control of the band.

It is a great rarity that we come across albums potent enough to perhaps change our outlook on music itself. Kayo Dot's fusion of a variety of music styles allows it well enough to attract a variety of listeners, some of whom may be completely turned off by these sounds and others who will embrace it. If you are looking for something new and vibrant in today's music of increasing imitators, I urge you to consider this. It is with great rarity that I rate an album of 5 star quality, so one can be sure that there is superb musical context here. A true diamond in the rough.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#101761) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In this album, Kayo Dot's leads their experimentation intents to the limits. But the price the album pays is that, though with exceptions, in most parts of its avant-gardeness, the music runs in a tremendous vacuum of feelings, so empty as it flows. That's the problem with Avant-gard music itself, may it be rock or classical, and I do not want to enter deeply in this discussion. Though the avant-gardness, the album is not as revolutionary as it might indiciate. Most of its ideas bands like Novembre, Pelican, Type O Negative, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Mahavishnu Orchestra or No-Man have experimented before.

The notorious exception I refered before is the last track, "Amaranth the Peddler", in which the band achieved a great skill - the mellow guitars, funereal ambience and the symphonic avant-gard lines are combined in a delicate way, creating a very deep and somewhat original structure. In the rest of the album, the band does not reach such success. "Gemini Becoming the Tripod", the opener, it's the most difficult track to accept, mostly because Greg Massi's vocal posture, screaming almost to the vomit, blended with avant-gard cacophony. It transmitts few more than rage. Minimalism at its peak is also the trademark of "... on Limpid Form". "Immortelle and Paper Caravelle" shows the different side of the band, more delicate, blending feeled metaphisical textures, celestial heartbreaking voice and symphonic arrangements a la No-Man. "Aura on a Asylum All" is as captivating as the previous track, well achieved, making remeber Mahavishu Orchestra with its symphonic arrangements.

Sometimes the band gets blind with experimentation and forgets they are playing music, not a collection of sounds or noises. But othertimes the result is, not being completely revolutionary as GY!BE did years ago, something interesting and worth it. The band shows, at times, to have nice sensibility. But, for those who seek GY!BE similarities, it may be disappointed as it does not reach its deepness. 3,5 stars.

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#104173) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 22, 2006

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars (2007 DISCLAIMER: As of now I've learned Kayo Dot is NOT post-metal but "Avant Garde Metal". Anyway, the "post" sound is there, and it's very easy to get confused. Just please don't say to anybody that Kayo Dot is post-metal, or people with more knowledge of genres will be there to correct you. Besides that, and with apologies to anybody who could be offended by my comments about "drug-induced music, everything remains the same in regards to my feeling towards this music).

It's obvious that the word "music" doesn't have the same meaning for everybody.

For some, music is just the art of making sounds and recording them, arranged in such a way that the results can be called "songs", "pieces", or whatever term that fits.

For me, music has always been about more than just sounds: it's been about using those sounds to create MELODIES, using those melodies to create THEMES, playing with those themes to create a STRUCTURE, and making that structure coherent enough as to create a SONG (or an instrumental piece for that matter). Once this is achieved, the other part of the music experience comes from hearing how each artist chooses to do that, how each musician puts a note, a melody on top of another and how that juxtaposition actually sounds, or HARMONY. If the artist chooses to put a melody on top of another different one, then I admire the COUNTERPOINT work. Of course, all of these has to have a RHYTHM, has to be played in a tempo, in a speed. Finally, music, for me, has to CHANGE within a single song or piece: the themes or melodies can't stay untouched; some variation has to be present. Repetition makes music coherent, but over-repetition could make music a boring, painful experience to follow.

After saying that, it's even more evident that every person has its own particular way of understanding music, because for me, what I get in Kayo Dot's DOWSING ANEMONE WITH COPPER TONGUE isn't good, but just a pile of experimental waste.

I've heard a little bit of this so-called "post-metal" genre before: Isis, Pelican, Agalloch. Though I didn't particularly love any of the albums I listened to from these bands, I found them at least somewhat interesting, I found their music to be a little dull, a little repetitive, a little too ambient-like for my taste, but I was able to sit through the whole thing without getting angry about some musicians trying to sell me the idea that what they were doing was not just drugged-jamming but actually playing SONGS, playing musical units that were planned, created in advance.

That I cannot say about this overly praised release. I will not use the word overrated because, as somebody wisely pointed out, the term implies a "I'm right, you're wrong" meaning to it; so I will say that I just CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FUZZ IS ALL ABOUT. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm getting left behind by the train of time and modern music, maybe what I cherish is dinosaur-music. Maybe... But I'm glad I'm still able to make the difference that works for me: this is NOT GOOD. Period. If this is the music of the future, well, no wonder I'm feeling a little bit sad about it.

I have to make this clear: it's not that there ISN'T ANYTHING worthy of mention in Kayo Dot's latest; sure, there are some moments here and there during which my brain actually felt like if MUSIC was coming to it through my ears; the drummer is quite capable; I CAN'T SAY that this music is not original, for it IS, it's unique, I'll admit that. But, is it GOOD? The album has 5 songs: of those, one I sort of accept, like, even; two are forgettable, two are just TOO MUCH for me to handle. And the biggest problem for me is that those two songs actually amount to HALF the record's total length.

Gemini Becoming The Tripod (6/10), at least this song is short - short by this genre's standards, that is, for its actual duration is almost 10 minutes - so it doesn't get too boring. I have to say that it also has a couple elements of interest. It starts quietly, slowly; it immediately goes into full-fledged "post" mode, "sludge" mode, but with some interesting harmonies here and there. The first thing that turns me off with this track is when the vocals appear: the singer sounds like Radiohead's Thom Yorke but after a large dose of ... something; he screams, yells, his voice is a series of laments, cries, is he actually in pain? This kind of singing is over-self-indulgence at his most annoying, because I really can't find any MUSICAL sense into it, just a desire to set the listener in the same mood as the band: STONED. And maybe that's the key! The members of Kayo Dot know that their music is better enjoyed with the brain a little bit off-touch with reality. The torture-session with the singer reaches an end when, suddenly, the guitars start playing a heavy, death-heavy riff; it's a good moment, because it's probably one of the scarce moments throughout the album that are performed at a DIFFERENT TEMPO. All in all, not an atrocious track, but nothing that makes me hold high hopes for the remainder of this opus.

Immortelle And Paper Caravelle (5/10), mmmm, incredible, another very quiet, almost impossible-to-hear start! The guitar work consists of a few very high notes over a weird effect. When the bass comes into the mix, the music begins to take shape. The low, quiet mood gets a makeover when finally the singer comes back from wherever the last song sent him. He actually SINGS here, in that usual narcotic tone that post-musicians seem to love. The trumpet gives us hope that this song will be good. Sadly, silence strikes again (I have to say that if we were to add all the minutes of silence on this disc, we would easily have a medium-long song made of... SILENCE). The quiet mood is with us again! The guitars are joined by violins, played with the wrong side of the bow (is intended, I know) and then with the right side, falling series of notes that sound like the last gasps of a dying man... Then the song ends. And we didn't know what the heck just happened.

Aura On An Asylum Wall (8.5/10)unbelievably, this track starts LOUD. Vocals over drums, with some trumpet accents for effect hit us with a force I couldn't believe. Then, THE INCREDIBLE: MUSIC! The trumpet plays a SOLO! Over piano and very frenetic drums, the brass player is doing what we bought this cd for: giving us interesting, innovative MUSIC, not just innovative NOISE. The mood of the song is like some dark-jazz-blues, it feels good, we start to BELIEVE. Yes, this track is GOOD, almost VERY good. At the end we have some speed, some virtuosism. It still doesn't have a coherent structure but the good playing makes up for it. But it's the last moment of relief we will get...

On Limpid Form (1/10), we start, how else could it be, quietly, like a whisper. The indulgent vocals come back. We cannot believe what we hear next: a CHORUS, more than one human voice at the same time! This starts so well, it seems this is going to be THE SONG, the song that finally shows me why this album is heralded as a masterpiece. We are about 3 minutes into the song and everything is going just fine. Then we arrive to the fourth minute; the intensity starts to wear down. What we're hearing is still worthy of attention, but it could lose us if it doesn't change quickly; minute 5 strikes and the tragedy has started to unfold: silence, some chords accented by snare and cymbals; silence; some chords, some snare, some tom-toms, cymbals; and we go on and on in the sme direction. We check the clock: the song lasts 18 MINUTES! It's a sure bet that it will eventually switch to a different mood... but then, we keep on listening, and NOTHING HAPPENS. And thus we wait till finally the end of the song arrives, and NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. THE SAME THING PLAYED TILL EXHAUSTION FOR MORE THAN 14 MINUTES!! I did a sort of experiment the third time I listen to this: at about the 6 minute mark, I went to do something, came back two minutes later, and it felt like if I NEVER LEFT; I did the same thing a few minutes later, came back, and AGAIN, like if I never left! Now, I would like that to happen when I'm watching some sport, my team is winning, I have to go the bathroom but I come back and the score remains exactly the same; but I don't want that in my MUSIC, I don't want to be sold the idea that 14- minute repetition is talent. Is it? I don't know. I may be old fashioned... Yes, I probably am. But THIS BORES ME. All that was good about this "song" got completely lost in my mind, all I could remember was the 14-MINUTE NOISE. (or "talent"?)

For me, that would serve as the best possible explanation of the term "pretentious": a group of musicians pretending us to sit through 14 MINUTES of mindless jamming, of stoned-jamming. Somebody can point out that there's actually a lot of invention going on, that is a work of genius how they play over and over the same pattern just adding a few percussion effects here and there... I could accept that if there was a MELODY repeated till death, like some kind of Bolero (how insulting I am by mentioning Ravel's exercise in orchestration in the same review where I'm talking about this WASTE). But no, it's just NOISE, GLORIFIED NOISE.

Amaranth The Peddler (1/10), only cymbals played with brushes signal the start of the final (thank you Creator) song. Some dissonant chords in piano, some violin. You know, this was much more interesting when it was done MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO by composers like Lygeti. This is just a band of rockers trying to impress us with DIRECTION-LESS NOISE. When the vocals and the drums make their appearance, we're already too scared of the final outcome of the song, as we see that it lasts 14 minutes. Of course, Kayo Dot won't let us down, so they do what they know best: repeat noise till our ears are fooled into believeing we are not hearing music but just ambiental noises. Then, at last, the albums fades away.

This is my take on this album. I know almost nobody will agree with me, but that's the great thing about PA: you don't have to, and neither have I to agree with other reviews: we can make comments about our music, whether they go with the flow or not. And my position is, this is just SLEF-INDULGENCE and PRETENTIOUSNESS played till death, to the LIMIT. No melodies, no themes, no songs, just a bunch of guys that, I give you that, seem like they know how to play their instruments, making us believe that their jamming has a SENSE, that their jamming is ART. For a few minutes, the music actually becomes that: MUSICAL. but those moments are few and far between. What we got here the most is SILENCES, REPETITION, NOISE, BOREDOM. This is not avant-garde. this doesn't defy anything, this is just GLORIFIED DRUG-INDUCED NOISE, played by capable musicians who seem like they could create songs, but sadly they chose not to.

Pelican is better, Isis is better, Agalloch is better. But I've yet to hear the post-metal album that blows me away with MUSIC, I've yet to find a band that integrates this experimentation, this ambience, THIS JAMMING IF YOU LIKE, TO ACTUAL SONGS. That would be very, very interesting.

Incredible, where I thought I would find that, turned out to be the place where I MOST DEFINITELY DIDN'T.

Post-metal? Post-rock? For me, the status of music after hearing this genres is, well, POST-MORTEM.

Not recommended for: fans of melodic music, fans of thematic invention, fans of compelling songs that take you through a whirlwind of emotions, that make you open your eyes in amazement, that make your heart pump faster becasue of the beauty you're experiencing. Fans of GOOD MUSIC.

Recommended for:

I'm at a loss of words. But it's very easy: if you don't agree with anything I said, go buy the album. It will make you happy.

If you agree with just ONE WORD, think it twice.

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Posted Friday, January 19, 2007

Review by Kotro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Halfway between Progressive Metal and RIO/Avant-guarde, this will never be a consensual album, especially after being brought into the limelight with its choice as "ProgArchives Collaborator's Top Prog Album Of 2006".

Listening to this album, I cannot cease to recall "In the Court of the Crimson King". Some of you might say that this comparisson is beyond logical thought, or even discard it as complete gibberish. However, bear with me on this point.

Like "ITCOTCK", this is an album that stirred mixed emotions and was received in various manners. It's lack of compliance with the "general Prog picture" (how sad is it that some people consider Prog to have patterns and rules?), just like King Crimson had "escaped" their contemporary rock trends, had many stand on guard.

Similarities don't end here. I find the album structure slightly similar. Both albums feature 5 tracks, beggining with one considerably "heavier" and darker than the others. "Gemini Becoming The Tripod" is nothing but Kayo Dot's "21st Century Schizoid Man", the faster paced, more avant-garde track.

Like "ITCOTCK", what follows are two considerably softer tracks (even though both are quite longer and heavier that KC's "I talk to the wind" and "Epitaph" - a sign of the times). This is undeniable, even if third track "Aura On An Asylum Wall" gets rougher and hand harder towards the end.

OK, I reckon that so far this comparisson might have been a bit forced so far. But c'mon, guys, don't tell me "Moonchild" doesn't come to mind once you have finished hearing track 4, "___ On Limpid Form"? Granted, it is quite longer, but the structure is basicly the same: it starts of with a great tune, something that might actually be called a "song" (and is probably my favorite moment in the entire album), before turning (almost 13 minutes left till its end) into a great-senseless-improv-instrument-tuning- session - just like Moonchild.

And here the similarities end. While on "ITCOTCK", once "Moonchild" is over you get to hear the amazing title track, on Kayo Dot's "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue" you get to hear... more "Moonchild", in the form of 14-minute "Amaranth The Peddler", featuring just a couple minutes of vocals. I'm sure that both "Moonchild" and these two final "Dowsing Anemone" tracks apease a lot of prog-fans. But it is a fact that the oposite occurs to many other. And when you get almost 30 minutes of noodling in an hour long record, then it is quite obvious this will not be an experience to rememeber. It sure as hell ruined it for me.

However, I quite enjoyed the first half of the album, and find it quite well-done. I have no problem in quit listening to this album 5-6 minutes into "___ On Limpid Form" - did not some of the great albums of the 70's clock at just over half an hour? For that, I will give it a 3,5. It is not essencial to my small collection, but it's an excellent addition if you're a true Prog afficionado, and a great sample of Prog's vitality in the new millenium.

Like James Joyce's "Ulysses" or Velázquez's "Las Meninas", this is a piece of art, one on which you may never find the sense, or just what makes it so great in all its intricacy, but that you definitly aknowledge that there is something "special" about it.

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Posted Friday, January 26, 2007

Review by laplace
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Now here's a disc that puts a thousand others into perspective.

Kayo Dot remind us that many musical ideas are cliches not because they are the best way of doing things but because they are easy to replicate, so it's a shock to hear true musical gentility on tracks such as "Immortelle and Paper Caravelle", which curls along the senses with whispered eloquence without offering a clear hook, and snatches away its most "song-like" moment almost as soon as it surfaces, because we have come to expect far more structure in a band's emulation of emotions such as joy, anticipation and wistful acceptance. Similarly, during the course of "___ On Limpid Form", which rattles with droning bass and eventually a certain noisy clatter, inevitablity is expressed more purely and directly than many artists would care to attempt. The closer, "Amaranth the Peddler" provides us with a gestalt song on order of the infamous Moonchild - and whether you think either band had a clear, planned composition or were simply improvising minimally on the spur of the moment, the final effect of both songs is profound.

I don't find there to be much metal on this album and consider Kayo Dot to be a band that has the genre on its radar - along with avant-jazz, post-rock and hardcore - rather than a metal band as such. Of course, the controversial and defining moment during "___ On Limpid Form" is thunderous but there are no conventional riffs to be found on this album, nor any powerhouse drumming and certainly no direct, sloganeering vocals; I find the lyrical content to be ethereal and somewhat vague - miles away from confrontational metal epic poems.

This is a polarising album for good reason: Kayo Dot have found a new way to transmit emotion. If your definition of progressiveness has upward limits, "Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue" will be way off your charts in terms of structure and sonic variation; sadly, you may not yet be equipped to receive their transmission.

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Posted Saturday, April 07, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A fascinating album that will certainly not be to most people's taste. It's certainly not completely to mine.

Here's the problem. Music like this can't be divided up into those intelligent enough to 'get it' and others too dumb to understand. 'Getting' a song or an album is simply a function of listening to it enough times that the main themes become embedded in your memory. Familiarity allows you to relax and enjoy. An album like this is harder to 'get' on first listen because there are few themes. But the noises are so unusual it takes only a couple more listens before it all starts shaking out. It comes down to this: is the amount of effort required to embed the album in your mind worth the effect it provides you?

Well, yes and no. Certainly the outstanding '___on Limpid Form' comes together on first or second listen. A pleasant opening section is followed by a few minutes of a repetitive, jagged riff, which then forms the base for a frenetic final rhythm. This track bristles with energy and purpose. I have to admit, were the whole album like this, I'd be raving like many other reviewers. Instead, much of the record is ambient, almost post-rock, and really does not draw me in. 'Gemini Becomes The Tripod', for example, glistens like droplets on a metal surface, moodily atmospheric, but it draws me in too many contradictory ways; and, to be frank, the vocals are an irritation. It is not enough to transmit emotion: one must communicate with clarity to avoid confusion.

I repeat: forget the snobbery surrounding this and other similar experimental records. You don't need to be intelligent to get this, just stubborn. But buying this kind of record is a gamble. You won't know if it's worth it until you try.

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Posted Friday, April 13, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A wild and worthy first half runs dry in the second

Kayo Dot's second album is generally speaking a continuation of the wide-open experimentation and unconventional approach to the sound and concepts of music. And while half of the album is a worthy successor it fails to live up to the standard set by the glorious "Choirs" album. It's a tale of two albums in my view. The first three songs, while lacking the surface beauty of the Choirs material, are quite good and definitely worthy of your time and investigation. But it runs out of creative steam about 6 minutes into the 4th track and never recovers. As the last two tracks represent half of the one-hour running time, that's a problem.

"Gemini Becoming The Tripod" firmly establishes another bleak, barren landscape of post-apocalyptic ambient avant-metal. Wretched, tortured vocals writhing in pain with a tension filled chorus of sounds behind them, occasionally the drums and guitars will throw a body against the wall. In my "Choirs" review I mentioned it was like the sound that might fill your ear cavity just seconds before the plane crash, the screams mixed with the blown engines and fuselage torn apart rapidly descending. To try to describe the "feel" of the music I would say "Gemini" is like watching a gun battle in a war scene: the climax spurning furious guitars and rapid fire drumming sounding like an automatic weapon. An exhausting opener. "Immortelle And Paper Caravelle" offers strange minimal sounds before a lone bass guitar arrives with some comforting notes. Soon the noises cease as guitar and drums come in, very relaxed. Then we have some serene vocals with trumpet and violin and we have transformed to beauty from the pain of the first track. After some silence there are tiny guitar chords all alone with a menacing cello coming in and out of the picture. These small, lonesome clean chords wander through the rest of the track with occasionally violin sprites for companionship before the sun sets. "Aura On An Asylum Wall" has very unique sounding piano use in a jazzy sequence with trumpet. Teetering like a drunk on a high wire the song can't really decide where to go but the ride is no less fascinating. Violins and guitars are used as the more stable forces later in even providing brief glimpses of melody. The track slowly begins to constrict as the guitar/violin and bass/drums close and get faster before taking it over the cliff in a metal burst.

"___ On Limpid Form" starts very well with 6 minutes of formless beauty, dark and mysterious, with some nice guitar parts. But with all respect I personally chide them for wasting my time over the next dozen minutes with a repetitive sludge drone section that succeeds at little either emotionally or artistically. I understand that pushing the listener's buttons is admirable in prog but I appreciate it more when the artist is willing to show some compassion for the effort. These minutes are filled with dull, juvenile masturbation of the kind which Driver usually avoids. It was interesting the first time but does he really expect people to listen to this nonsense repeatedly? And people call Topographic Oceans pretentious? "Amaranth The Peddler" recovers a bit with some interesting guitar and drumming but I can't help but feel he has run a bit dry on ideas at this point. After the previous 18 minute track the 14 minutes here feel like stretched too thin. Much of the track is very minimal, just quiet spaces with delicate guitar touches. This kind of track can be rewarding but this is not the best example of the style I've heard.

If you are new to Kayo Dot I would strongly suggest starting with "Choirs of the Eye" before trying this album. It (Choirs) is more successful at what it attempts and significantly more appealing in my experience. That said, the first half of this one alone is enough to get 3 stars. I just wish they had released the first three songs as an EP

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Posted Sunday, April 06, 2008

Review by Dim
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars THE WORLD CLOOOOSED IT'S EEEYYYYEEESSSSSS!

I love this album, love it, and if it were an album by any other band besides Kayo Dot, it would be a five star album, but you cant give the same rating to one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, to a slightly lesser album by the same band, that's just not fair. So I'll have to reluctantly give this album a four star rating, but a good review will come with it.

2006, an awesome year for the music I listen to, Cult of Luna's Somewhere along the highway, Agallochs Ashes against the grain, Russian Circles Enter, Negura Bunget's Om, 65daysofstatic's One for all time, all albums I wouldn't rate less than four stars, especially somewhere along the highway. Yet, amongst all these incredible albums, you have Toby Driver, and his incredible band Kayo Dot throw in Dowsing the Anemone with the Copper tongue, a mesmerizing and enigmatic album, that, like almost all Kayo Dot/Maudlin of the Well albums go's from Minimalistic, to drone metal, to jazz all in five songs. This group knows no bounds, and with my twenty first century hero Toby Driver at the head of it all. Every song invokes a different feeling, and each completely opposite from the other, whether it be the avant garde chaos of the song Gemini becoming the tripod, or the drone/doom chaos of the last couple minutes of __On Limpid form, it's all different, it's all divers, and it's all excellent. This, like the Masterpiece that is Choirs of the eye is an album that needs to be addressed by song.

Gemini becoming the Tripod- If I had to choose a favorite song, this one would probably be it! The song kind of starts like Marathon, except with a little less edge, and not any horns, therefore you're not expecting hell on earth to jump up and bite you in the @ss like in the opener for Choirs... You are wrong! This song is just as evil as Marathon, except that the evil doesnt all come at you at once, you have to wait as Toby's voice gets more and more intense, as he eeks by every syllable, as if everything he is saying is paining him tremendously, and all that pain is spilling on to you. I love it, it's just a beautiful song, in a really sick and disgusting way, the ending of the song is almost as epic as The Manifold of curiosity's is, with one final scream from Toby, the song goes into one of Kayo Dots last metal moments as the drumming just gets ballistic while the guitars are wailing away to the end of the song.

Immortelle and the paper Caravelle- A very minimalistic song, almost no action, just an avant garde, easy listening song (that's right, I used the two in the same sentence), with odd instrumentation, pretty little jazzy forays, and some awesome, moody bass work. This song, unlike Gemini shows how the band has indeed moved from Choirs of the Eye, and metal in general, with no distorted guitars (barely any guitars to begin with), very little vocals, and almost no percussion. Yes, very minimalistic indeed, another killer classic in the book for Kayo Dot.

Aura on an Asylum Wall- The song that gets the most praise it seems, it starts kind of creepy, with some hushed vocals, and some driving piano, but as the song progresses, it becomes a jazz jam song, then a post metallish climax song, then just a weird metal song. Awesome no doubt, the best part is when the trumpet is flying around through the song while a semi easy going rhythm section just guides it along, while you're at the edge of your seat knowing this could not be the extent of chaos this song is gonna go to, ha, and it isn't. On the first listen, it's the easiest listening on the album, but as most Toby Driver albums, they usually end up being the least rewarding, but none the less, a great song. Now that you look back on it, this is also a crossover song to a lot of the music that would be on Blue Lambency downwards, heavy emphasis on the horns, and a lot of use of clean guitar for rhythm, rather than lead.

__On Limpid Form- One of the most controversial songs Progarchives has yet to hear, this is the song in which most of the listeners absolutely hated, and some have considered this groups their finest work. For the first six or so minutes, the song is just a weird jazzy song with some cool vocals, awesome atmosphere, a cool guitar solo, and semi chaotic closing. You must be asking what happens in the next twelve minutes of the song right? Hell happens. The same four or five chords happen, the most horrifying 12 minutes of your life happens, if you think you have the attention span to make it through *looks at The T and scoffs*. Unlike on The Antique off of Choirs, where he undistorted, dissonant guitar slowly distorts and become heavier, until your in death metal heaven, the guitar is already distorted, and the drums are already being hit faster than Keith Moon could have dreamt (The drums on this album are sick BTW), it's not more metal elements that come into play, it's more space and ambiance. Weird noises start creeping in, radio static, desks being hit with sticks, MANY MANY tracks of feedback. This keeps going to where you don't even need the guitars anymore, and when they drop out, you all the sudden find your in one of the scariest places in the musical spectrum this side of Universe Zero, absolutely terrifying, and I love every second of it, while it was hard to get into the song, when it clicked, it clicked, and I love it!

Amaranth the Peddler- Kayo Dots only downfall up until Blue Lambency Downwards. While a really easy going, and almost catchy four minutes starts off that almost reminds you of A pitcher of summer. This doesnt last, unlike Limpid, the last eight or so minutes of the song are just some simple dissonant minutes of Toby's guitar, while some horns either play, or make weird squeaking noises in the background. Other guitars come in gradually, and even some strings, but the song doesn't climax, maybe a cymbal hit every once in awhile, accompanied by the double bass, but really these last few minutes of the album are meant for ambiance, and minimalism, and really it's not bad, but when you consider the time, especially the time that could have been used for Kayo Dot to make some excellent music, there is a lot more potential then what is used. Don't get me wrong, I really like this final section, it's really soothing in a creepy kind of way, but I definitely was looking forward to something more grand than this to finish the album.

This album, behind Cult of Luna's, does deserve album of 2006. There's nothing else out there like it, it's completely original, the only other album that even close to this one is Kayo Dots first album, Choirs of the eye. Toby still has his edge on this one, he's still able to make captivating, and beautiful music, no matter in what form, everything he has done thus far has captured my mind, and I wont deny that he is my favorite musician to exist, and this collection of songs, along with Choirs, and the Maudlin catalogue are my reasons why. My only regret is that I am not allowing myself to rate this album the rating it probably deserves, but it simply doesn't stand up to Choirs of the eye, and to rate it the same as such a masterpiece is wrong doing. So this album will reluctantly get four stars from me.

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Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Kayo Dot - 'Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue' 4 stars

This is one of those albums that you hear many times, yet still cannot give it a rating, more or less even a solid opinion. I first saw this as a harsh album then later caught some of the beauty in this and even hearing some early 70's era Crimson with the strings.

The album starts out just as frantic and eerie as the opener on the debut 'Choirs of the Eye' and is once again my least favorite because of the stellar tracks following it. There are plenty of clean jazz sections on the second and third tracks, with plenty of beautiful uplifting strings to accompany the pieces. Some of my personal hotspots on the album are the excellent melodies on 'Immortelle and Paper Caravelle' along with some really catchy lyrics. 'Aura on an Asylum Wall' has one of the best endings to any song, with a full-blown jazz first half, followed by an intense build-up that reminds me of King Crimson's 'Starless'.

One of the few weak-spots for me was the opener that was a little too similar to the last album and actually the BEGINNING of '___ On Limpid Form'; I find the ending to that song to be pretty hectic in a good way. This album ends very well with 'Amaranth the Peddler'; Toby's vocals are extremely hypnotic on this one which was great.

The growth factor really makes this album worthwhile.

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Posted Sunday, August 03, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Artistic, beautiful, terrifying, aggressively challenging ... "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue" is the consumate avant-garde release, and will either leave you gushing with praise for its audaciousness, or lost in the vacuum of its enervating nihilism. You've been warned.

The tone of the opening track, "Gemini Becoming the Tripod" sets a dark and fragile tone for the album. Distorted, delicate guitar strums out tones giving way to a gradually building palette of slow-tempo intensity. Most listeners will be onboard for this introductory section, which is indicative of the "quite" sounds one will hear in this album; they are very beautiful, moody, and exceptionally well-played. When things explode, they do so in a big way, and most listeners will be immediately tempted to push STOP. The huge crescendo of percussive violence, anxiety inducing strings and guitar, and the non-stop wailing of bizarre vocals positively shatter the one's composure-- some will love it, others will be on the verge of a panic attack.

The second track slows things down, opening up the composition with airy textures and a variety of instrumental mood. The vocals shift to delicate melodies, almost etheric in quality with words becoming more notes than lyrics. Throughout the album these more moody moments shine, with moments of jazzy improvosation and intriguing use of minimalist playing. "Aura on the Asylum Wall" is probably the best example of this, with Driver's songwriting capitulating into giving us a few solos, although the savage bass close is a cool touch. The pattern continues, with the big, world-destroying intensity returning and giving way, closing the album with the wonderfully nuanced "Amarath the Peddler".

"Dowsing Anemone" is an incredibly difficult album to listen to, but it never felt like a chore... more like a challenge. Its tone is one of near psychosis, taking the listener on wild mood swings of fairy-tale beauty to nightmarish destruction. This music is not for everyone-- especially those who need something human to latch on to in their listener (like melodies or structure), but it rewards those up to the task with a genuine font of musical jewels to lose oneself in.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

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Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars After having mixed feelings towards Kayo Dot's debut album it still managed to come up on top thanks to the opening and closing compositions. It's true that this particular genre of music has so far been a hit-and-miss for me but after the debut album it felt like this band could only improve with every new release since there wasn't really any lack of skill on their part.

So why would I even consider giving this follow up album the collectors/fans only label? Let me begin by stating that Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue does in fact have some really nice parts but as a whole this albums doesn't hold together all that well. For some strange reason this particular release works best when the band keeps the songs under the 11-minute mark. That way there is enough time to convey the emotion/atmosphere without making things feel too stale or over-the-top experimental.

I just can't get over the feeling that Kayo Dot is making long compositions just for the sake of it. Those tracks go in many different directions but at the end don't bring much joy or pleasure to my ears. Surprisingly the previous album's 14-minute long tracks never had that particular problem but those compositions always had a sense direction which gave them a purpose. I guess that I have to draw the line somewhere and the 18-minute monster of a track known as ___ On Limpid Form is a good place to do just that.

There is just nothing here that comes even remotely close to some of the fantastic compositions available on Choirs Of The Eye and therefore I don't see why anyone but the fans of this band would have any reason to even consider purchasing this release.

**** star songs: Gemini Becoming The Tripod (10:43) Immortelle And Paper Caravelle (9:42) Aura On An Asylum Wall (7:44)

*** star songs: ___ On Limpid Form (18:00) Amaranth The Peddler (14:07)

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Posted Sunday, March 14, 2010

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Choirs of the Eye, Kayo Dots debut album, was a large departure from the music of the bands predecessor maudlin of the Well, and a hugely successful one at that, but Toby Driver posseses anything but a stagnent imagination and the band has once more moved on. The results this time, however, are quite a mixed bag.

Frustration is the word that comes to mind to describe this album. Half of it is captivating, rocking, beautiful, calm, dissonant, melodic and many other adjectives that could probably fill this review on there own, in short an emotional rollercoaster that never fails to leave me on a high. The problem is its just the half of it. The first half to be precise. The second half touches on the emotions of the first, but doesnt quite reach the same heights and for large swayths brings in elements that I really, really dont care for.

Of the five tracks on this album, its the first three (Gemini Becomeing the Tripod, Immortelle and Paper Carravelle and Aura on an Asylumn Wall) that capture me fully. Gemini... sounds something like a continuation of the music from Choirs of the Eye, however it quickly becomes apparant that Post-Rock has become a major part of the music. Its this that has lead to the long time (and in my opinion errant) labelling of Kayo Dot as a Post-Metal band, but its only one aspect of the music and, though I am by no means a fan of the Post-Rock genre, its been used exceptionally well here. Immortelle... is the first Kayo Dot song to be completely devoid of metal, and as an experiment into the direction that Driver would eventually take the band, it works fantastically. Its one track were dissonance isnt called on too much and instead makes way for a clamer melody building slowly but surely to a moment of triumph. Aura... is an unuseul track in that it sounds the closest to Choirs of the Eye Kayo Dot of any of the first three tracks, but also sounds fairly different due to the fact that metal is pretty much missing from here as well. The sound can be charecterised as a heavy rock, where the heavyness comes from the tones of the bass, guitar, violin and trumpet rather than the distortion, except for the last minute orso which gets pretty close to being metal, but is entirely dominated by the heaviest bass guitar sound I have ever heard. In a way it works as a paired down version of The Manifold Curiosity, so its no surprise that this is my favourite track on the album.

From here on out its where the band lost me for one simple, but very important reason: they introduced drone music as a major element. Both __on Limpid Form and Amaranth the Peddler start out in a similar vein to the first three tracks, but around the 6 to 7 minute mark they veer off into a drone that lasts well over half of each song. Though I've heard plenty of arguments for the development present in these tracks, I dont hear it at all. ..Limpid Form has the same crashing guitar chords going for most of the songs and the work done over the top of this comes of as noodily, and a hald hearted attempt to liven things up. The live version of this song condenses things down a lot and adds direction to it all that just isnt present here. Amaranth is just plain noodily for most of the song and lacks cohesivness, but at least some of the things they try sound interesting.

I think by now its become clear that drone music does not sit well with me at all. As I said earlier, frustration is a the word I'd use to sum up this album because thats the overiding emotion following a complete run-through ( I must admit most times that I play this album now, I skip past the endings of the last two songs), which is a huge shame because the first three songs are of an exceptional quality, to a level that most bands could only dream of, but is followed by tedium that actually last for more than half the album. Still very much worth having for those first 3 songs.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#275408) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 29, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue' - Kayo Dot (6/10)

It's always a real dissapointment when you get really worked up to listen to a band and album, and it satiates very little of your musical thirst. That seems to be the case here with Kayo Dot's 'Dousing Anemone...' Having already been a huge fan of maudlin of the Well and what Toby Driver had accomplished with that project, I was greatly excited to dive into what is generally considered to be the continuation of that band. While maudlin really seemed to get the concept of balancing beauty and experimentation just right, Kayo Dot goes overboard with this one, going as far as throwing a 19 minute drone-texture jam in the middle of what otherwise could have been a much better album.

'Dousing Anemone' certainly has the potential to appeal to some people; I won't contest that. However, with the exception of the few beautifully done, more 'conventional' parts of the work, most of the time it's either too quiet or too uneventful for it's own good. Believe me, I'm all for musicians being creative and tripping into the realm of the avant-garde... I rescind that belief when being 'avant-garde' means bursting out with barrages of guitar sludge for fifteen minutes however, or whining in monotone for minutes on end.

The only two songs that manage to be throughly good and interesting compositions are the second and third tracks, 'Immortelle & Paper Caravelle' and 'Aura On An Asylum Wall.' The first of the mentioned tracks has some of the most beautiful orchestrations of the entire piece of music, and the third track is certainly the most consistent; immediately breaking into a vocal section before turning into a beautiful instrumental jazzy section with the violinist at the helm. The remaining three tracks certainly have moments of real inspiration that are reminiscent of Driver's past work, but the real issue here is that I can have a much, much greater concentration of those great inspired sections on any maudlin of the Well release. Why then, would I choose the new Kayo Dot over something that's tried and true?

One of the real highlights of the album is the string work of violinist Mia Matsumiya. While it's clear that every musician working in this avant act is drenched in talent, she really brightens up every section she is in. Without her, this would be a much darker and bleaker trip to take.

Overall, this is quite a poor introduction to Kayo Dot, and while I will definately look at more of the band's repetoire (avant-garde bands have a tendency of changing their act constantly) 'Dousing Anemone With Copper Tongue' has certainly left a bitter taste in my mouth, much as copper would in real life. This is worth a listen for the few truly beautiful moments it has to offer, but it's certainly not worth a purchase when there is so much other stuff that's much more consistent to listen to. Two stars, and at times; that might even be a stretch.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#277786) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the astonishing and beautiful debut, Kayo Dot in 2006 releases their second album, with a rather strange title, "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue". At the release of this album, and still today, there has been a pretty big controversy: some think that it's a masterpiece (PA collaborators named it album of the year), while others think that it's a really bad and useless effort, where the use of avantgarde goes too far.

"Gemini Becoming the Tripod" starts everything. Copmpared to the genius "Marathon, it isn't much of an intro. But there are some moments here that really scared me: after a pretty soft intro, accompanied by Driver's soft voice, the song slowly becomes more enlivened, and Driver's voice begins to be more angry and creepy, thanks to some screaming and to his suspended vocals. Now the atmosphere is tense and kind of scary, it seems like it could explode into a fierce song any second. But that moment never comes, leaving the audience pretty stunned.

"Immortelle And Paper Caravelle" is much more minimalistic and calm, with many delicate moments. In fact, some are so delicate that you can barely hear them. A big contrast to the previous song, but very effective, so you can take a sort of a break from all those sinister moods.

"Aura On an Asylum Wall" is yet another contrast: the song is violent, with a very bizarre feeling, a little disturbing and creepy, but much more violent compared to the previous song. At least for the first couple of minutes: after a while, the sax comes in, the atmosphere is suspended between calm and strong, a peculiar balance that probably makes "Aura On An Asylum Wall" the best song off this album.

"__On Limpid Form" is the most controversial song off the album. Many have hated this song, because of it's excessive and repetitive moments. It's a 18 minute song, the longest Kayo Dot song so far, where at least ten minutes are stale and bleak, if not also monotonous, where the same chord is played, with a pretty violent and rude touch. I personally am not a big of this song either, even though I do find it quite interesting in many points.

"Amaranth The Peddler" is the final 14 minute song. Like "Immortelle...", it is quite a minimalistic song, and it seems like just a few cymbals are playing. Some moments are enjoyable, nice and calm, but certainly not melodic, a word that obviously does not exist in Kayo Dot's vocabulary.

In conclusion, I must say that it is a bit overlooked, and it really should be more appreciated by prog fans, since generally all the songs are worth listening. Of course, I don't think any die hard metal fan would like "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue", for the fact that it truly has some excessive touches of avant garde.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#286377) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 14, 2010

Review by Any Colour You Like
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I've been putting off reviewing this album for too long now. Partly because I was still unsure about how I felt about it, but also because it never really struck me with any strong opinions. However, I feel necessary to at least mention what this release means to me. So hang in there with me folks, this might not make much sense!

Panned by some for the 'overlong' and 'repetitive dross' that consists of the final two movements, one could be forgiven for thinking this was just pretentious navel gazing masquerading as art. However 'Dowsing' (as I shall refer to it, for brevity's sake) is definitely not an album to hastily rush into, nor one you can critique without attempting to understand it's scope. The first three tracks follow roughly in a similar style from Kayo Dot's debut, that is, neo-classical, dreamy ambient music with a penchant for dissonant slabs of metal and anguished wails. However the final two movements are an altogether different beast. '___On Limpid Form' is relatively 'normal' (heh, that's Kayo Dot normal) for five or six minutes, before we are treated to the sonic equivalent of having a nail hammered into your head. Now call me a hedonist or sadist or whatever, but I love the progression of this 'drone' movement. Yes it's long, but at the end of it, you are drained, purged and tired. Whether that's your cup of tea or not, well I can't answer that for you. Following is 'Amaranth the Peddler', one of the more minimalist Kayo Dot compositions. If the former movement tires you, the latter should be it's antithesis. I especially love the percussion and solitary flourishes in this movement. Few tracks have ever said so much by doing so little. In conclusion, the aura, ambiance and chaotic nature of 'Dowsing' should not scare any hardy Toby Driver veterans. However, it tries hard to eschew the listener thematically and musically. Therefore those who can see past the seemingly inane and desolate nature of the music are apt to be richly rewarded.

This is not to say that 'Dowsing' is flawless, far from it. It's one thing to understand and enjoy the challenge it poses, it's another thing to enjoy it unconditionally. I can't always enjoy this album, but in the right context, it's highly pleasurable. Just don't play it too loudly around people who may not share your sentiments, they may not appreciate it.

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Posted Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Even if I can't stand too much with screams and chaos when it's apparently useless as in the second half of "Gemini Becomes The Tripod", I realized that this is a song that needs several listens, because it's only "apparently" useless. Well, I can't understand any single word of what is being screamed and probably the lyrics could help.

Then I'm surprised by the ambient music of "Immortelle And Paper Caravelle" with vocals and trumpet over calm and relaxing music, even if dark. This fits with my personal tastes and demonstrates, in addition, that there's much more in this album than what could appear at the first listen.

There's a bit of scream also on "Aura On An Asylum Wall", but the jazzy mood of the trumpet solo first and the violin later is excellent. It's still dark but of a different kind of darkness: the darkness of a smoky pub, at least until the jazz mood is replaced by the tension of an odd signature and a crescendo. Here the band demonstrates a lot of skill, too.

The "odd signature" makes me return to the first track. The key is the fact that there's absolutely no signature. It's demonstrated that our brains are constantly searching for schemes and rules. We are mathematical machines, and when a passage is too trivial there's no surprise at all, but in general we are used to rhythm and melodies because our brains need them. "Gemini" doesn't have anything of this and it's what makes it a challenging experience. I still don't like the screaming but it's clearer that the experiment consist in not giving to the listener any possibility to anticipate what is coming.

Now let's go on with the epic (in terms of length) "___On Limpid Form". When Kayo Dot goes into ambient it'e when I like them more. I like the trumpet, the slow rhythm and also the pauses of silence. When the jazzy mood disappears replaced by disconnected chords of distorted guitar and drums the change is not sudden but what comes is totally different. There's no jazz at all and we are back to the no-signature style of the first track. This is music for headphones. Without putting your mind "inside the music" this may seem meaningless and boring. I understand who has rated this album very low. They have probably chosen the wrong state of mind when approaching it. This track, in the most dissonant part puts me in a sort of hypnagogic state. Like being awaken but with hours of jet lag. Back to the band, it's clearly a jam session but as it happens in jazz they know what they do.

"Amaranth The Peddler" starts very low-volume. It takes about one minute before a bass piano note is heard. Here I see a connection with classic contemporary. The dissonances and the absence of a signature, plus the fact that the instruments are acoustic: piano, viola and percussions makes it strict. This time the singing is calm and warm. There's a bit of melody and metric and the voice reminds me to Art Garfunkel for the warmth. When the rhythm is added after a short drum roll it's more similar to a "normal song", but it doesn't last long. Floydian noises, I mean wind and discordant notes of piano and violin like in the middle section of Echoes change the mood, but more than psychedelic it's closer to classical authors like Ligety. Then it proceed seamlessly with piano, guitar and a background of sliding violin strings and percussions until the end. Very calm and relaxing even if not properly melodic.

It's an excellent album, the word "any" in the 4 stars definition makes me think. It requires open mind and attention. It requires the "right moment".

And I think I'll never like the screams on the first track.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#512939) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 02, 2011

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars After falling in love with 'Choirs of The Eye', the second Kayo Dot album initially came as a bit of a disappointment. I admit the main reason was my ambivalent position towards Toby Driver's vocals. Driver uses his vocals as much for melody as for emotional expression, and while he can touch me right where it hurts, it can also be a total miss. In many cases I swing position on the matter one day to the next, so my rating indicates where I stand on this matter today. Tomorrow I will tell you something else entirely. Confusing yes, but you sure can't say Kayo Dot is boring.

The album starts with the challenging 'Gemini Becoming the Tripod', a composition that is as unsettling as its title, with heavily chromatic heavy guitar arpeggios, an oppressive atmosphere and very confronting vocals that cry and try to pierce through your skull. This track is a strange experience, when played at an ear-shattering volume it's brilliant, at normal gain it can be quite annoying, or should I say disturbing?

After this enormous start, the music quiets down, becoming increasingly free-form and subdued. Coming from the heavy opener, the shift that Kayo Dot made from experimental metal to avant-garde music could be made more apparent.

'Aura On An Asylum Wall' is more rocking and jazzy. Instrumental, apart for a short introduction, if you'd ask me to put this in a box I'd call this nu-jazz, but Kayo Dot isn't the sort of music you would want to put in a box; it would upset too much people when opening it.

'On Limpid Form' is an ambitious 18 minutes long. It starts jazzy, with strong - almost catchy! - vocals that remind me (again) of Jeff Buckley. The track gets gradually heavier, more atonal and chaotic. It works quite well for me but it might be too long and uneventful for other listeners.

If the lengthy 'On Limpid Form' is a serious attack on one's attention span, the challenging 14 minute 'Amaranth' asks another heavy effort from the listener. Maybe too heavy, it's slow, languid and free-form, and not good enough as a closer for this album, even though the section with the vocals is quite blissful.

Despite a somewhat disappointing ending, this is still an excellent and defining album. It's may be too difficult to serve as an introduction to this band so approach with care.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#568082) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Kayo Dot: Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue [2006]

Rating: 8/10

Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue is the enigmatically-titled second album from American experimental music group Kayo Dot. Many people consider this band's debut Choirs of the Eye to be one of the greatest avant-garde rock/metal albums of all time, and I proudly include myself among their ranks. Expectations were high for Toby and company after such a stunning first album, and the possibility of a sophomore slump was distinct and looming. Fortunately, while this follow-up doesn't even come close to the level of its predecessor, it is still an enormous achievement in its own right. Stylistically, the band has not changed much in the three years since Choirs. Rather, they have separated and intensified the extremes of their sound. The contrasting highs and lows present on Choirs are even more apparent here. Where that album was atonal, this album is jarring. Where that album was ambient, this album is minimalistic. Kayo Dot have even further established their status as avant-garde sonic pioneers. This radical experimentalism does not always succeed with flying colors, but when it does, it soars.

"Gemini Becoming the Tripod" may be the most atonal piece of music that Kayo Dot has ever done, which is saying something. It opens with pretty chamber-metal, but it eventually morphs into a brutal post-metal barrage with absolutely jarring vocals. Toby sounds like he's crying, screaming, and getting sick all at the same time. "Immortelle and Paper Caravelle" takes an entirely different approach. This is a gorgeous piece of semi-ambient chamber-rock with wonderful quiet crooning. Toby's vocal approach does an absolute 180 here. "Aura on an Asylum Wall" is one of the most interesting fusions of jazz and metal that I have ever heard. The first half of the track is dedicated to light trumpet soloing that echoes traditional jazz. Everything slowly builds in intensity until the crashing metal conclusion. "__ On Limpid Form" is the most controversial and maligning piece of music Toby Driver has ever been responsible for. This 18-minute monster is often compared to King Crimson's "Moonchild", in that begins with soft unassuming music that eventually transitions into an enormously long abstract instrumental section. I would normally detest this kind of repetitive sludge-metal wankery, but the band actually manages to pull it off well. The manic percussion section at the end is especially awesome. "Amaranth the Peddler" is a lengthy piece of minimalism that may be a bit too plodding for its own good. There are some great moments on this track, but five minutes of it could easily have been trimmed away.

Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue is a flawed release, and it certainly isn't the greatest thing that Toby Driver has created. However, there are so many fantastic ideas here that most of the flaws are nullified in their wake. Each of these five compositions is a fascinatingly creative exploration of experimental music. A plethora of sounds are packed into each lengthy piece, but the diversity sounds entirely natural rather than forced or disjointed. Many of the musical perspectives explored here - such as endless minimalism and intentional disjointedness - form some of my least favorite elements of avant-garde music. However, Kayo Dot pulls them off incredibly well. A few ideas are unnecessarily extended, but the majority of them are executed with grace and precision. Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue may seem ploddingly disjointed upon first listen, but further examination will reveal the many intricacies of this release. This album is further proof that Toby Driver is one of the greatest avant-garde composers of the 21st century.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#609681) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue shows a different, but related, facet of Kayo Dot as did Choirs of the Eye. As far as the band's music is describable in these terms, there are post-metal elements on the album, but Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue exhibits more atmospheric chamber tendencies th ... (read more)

Report this review (#507391) | Posted by Earendil | Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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. G ... (read more)

Report this review (#409045) | Posted by Gorloche | Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What else can be said about the album? It's gorgeous. What I love about it is that I've never heard anything like it at all. I don't know if I would say it is as innovative as Larks' Tongues In Aspic. That album sounds like nothing else and this album seems to be a large large mash of influences. ... (read more)

Report this review (#293440) | Posted by Tengent | Wednesday, August 04, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars And I so wanted to get into this band... This album was my second experience of Kayo Dot. I started out with the debut, and I liked it very much. So I went on to listen to the second album, which started out promising. Then it all went wrong... A description of the music: "Gemini Beco ... (read more)

Report this review (#288904) | Posted by DisgruntledPorcupine | Friday, July 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I held the holy tripod and all the nothing held its breath Gemini solemnly split themselves The world closed its eyes Supreme love in the opposite The world hid in the clouds... dowsing anemone with copper tongue is a singularly unique experience at once beautiful and terrifying. the close ... (read more)

Report this review (#201642) | Posted by keiser willhelm | Wednesday, February 04, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue Kayo Dot's sophomore release is a lesson in development, and is, in several ways, a quite different beast from their debut. The sound on this album seems to focus more on its punches than its actual delivery and development leading up to the punche ... (read more)

Report this review (#170942) | Posted by Figglesnout | Wednesday, May 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are many artists who make music that successfully or unsuccessfully strives to expand upon or replicate the generally accepted standards of quality in music. In fact, I would say the great, great majority of artists from the past and present have or have had this ambition (and, don't get me ... (read more)

Report this review (#159520) | Posted by Csejthe | Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Kayo Dot, a reformed Maudlin of the Well, took the avant-garde music world by storm with their debut Choirs of the Eye. When it came time for a follow up, it was met with high expectations, but mixed reviews. Many claim this is useless noise, utterly without direction, and entirely hollow. Others ... (read more)

Report this review (#132208) | Posted by Shakespeare | Tuesday, August 07, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Not evryone will like this album, its just too origianal. Kayo Dot blends elements of Post-Rock, Jazz, Metal, Modern Art Music, and Avant without even breaking a sweat. I personally love the blending of style however Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tounge is a far from perfect disc, often trailing o ... (read more)

Report this review (#130856) | Posted by Proletariat | Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I DON´T UNDERSTAND Sorry Kayo Dot enthusiasts, i have really tried very hard to understand this recording, and i´ve listened to it in different times (8 months ago aprox. the 1st time),i´ve heard it in different places and moods to see if that was the problem, with earphones, in my car, with ... (read more)

Report this review (#128885) | Posted by FranMuzak | Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Compositions - 0/5, Memorable Melodies - 1/5, Inventiveness with a Purpose - 2/5, Vocals - 1/5, Extended Value/Charm - 1/5, AVERAGE = 1/5. GENRES: Post-Metal, Progressive Metal, Post-Rock, Avant-Garde/Jazz. SIMILAR BANDS: Maudlin Of The Well, Arcturus, Ensoph. I just can't gi ... (read more)

Report this review (#117008) | Posted by dalt99 | Sunday, April 01, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I must admit that being album of the year in progarchives was the the main reason that drove me to Kayo Dot. I am not into this "kind of music", it is too avant garde for my ears but I enjoy some of the elements that this record offers. And it offers them poorly. The first time I listened to it, ... (read more)

Report this review (#116438) | Posted by Sophocles | Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If Choirs of the Eye was the metal expansion of post rock (structurally it had the same uses of the quiet to loud formula in some pieces--occasionaly leavened by quieter,spacey, and shorter pieces that seemed to have a jazz influence in them), then Dowsing Anemone I think is something that has g ... (read more)

Report this review (#109275) | Posted by phantom banana | Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album was excellent, but not in the way I normally describe an album as excellent. It tries new things, and it does it well, still keeping the music good while exploring less-trodden paths. This album was, to me, an experiment on the border of music and sound. It tested the limits of mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#109179) | Posted by Scapler | Saturday, January 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I bought this used based on the fact that it got top honors in the 2006 poll. Post-rock is not something I listen to every day, but I am always open to new things so I gave it a shot. I've had some good experiences with Sigur Ros and EITS, so I figured it must be at least as good as them, bein ... (read more)

Report this review (#108430) | Posted by Walker | Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars All too many times reviews that use taglines such as "strikingly original", "one of a king", and "truly unique" are describing a piece of music that is quite the opposite. However, given what I've heard, it's fair to say that Kayo Dot sounds un-akin to much else perhaps besides Toby Driver's othe ... (read more)

Report this review (#101722) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Tuesday, December 05, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "This is weird; it's not bad but not very good either. It's just really weird". That's what everyone says every time when I put this record on to let one of my friends hear it. Actually, that's what I thought as well with the first couple of times I heard it. I still think it's a strange record, ... (read more)

Report this review (#101501) | Posted by Jochem | Sunday, December 03, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Amazing. The first time I listened to it, I liked it but really didn't understand the music. The second time, I started listening more to the complex parts of the music. Third time, I was enjoying more of the quiet parts. Fourth, I started understanding the quiet parts and the strange and ... (read more)

Report this review (#96170) | Posted by mecca | Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone With a Copper Tongue, First, I must say that I bought maudlin of the Well - Bath, Kayo Dot - Choirs of the Eye, Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone With a Copper Tongue recently and decided to review all these three albums at the same time. I bought Bath a week earlier tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#94619) | Posted by The Squirrel | Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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