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

DOWSING ANEMONE WITH COPPER TONGUE

Kayo Dot

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.71 | 175 ratings

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TCat
5 stars "Choirs of the Eye", the previous album by Kayo Dot was a masterpiece. This was dangerous for a debut album for this band, even if they are all accomplished musicians, because it set the bar high for the follow up album. Guess what? They got themselves another masterpiece. But they did it without copying anything from the previous album. This album is a masterpiece on it's own merit. If anything, this one shows more cohesiveness within each track. Each epic song has it's own basic feel to it and seems to have more focus, for the most part anyway. Now this is not really a flaw in the previous album, but it is a difference between the albums and it pays off in both cases.

Reviewers outside of PA have said this album is a lot heavier. Except for the track "____On Limpid Form", I don't find this to be true. The album starts out with "Gemini Becoming the Tripod" which is somewhat heavy, but not in the extreme. The vocals on this one are almost dirty vocals (growly) all through the track, but there is a lot going on here, just like there is throughout every track. There is a lot of space in the music allowing a lot of improvisational work along with the structured work. A loud track but not extreme except for in little spurts. Very dynamic. The next track is closer to ambient, though I wouldn't go so far as to call it that, it only approaches it. The vocals are soft, there are nice short touches of jazz and even though it stays pretty soft through all 9 minutes, the time goes by quickly because of the beauty of the track with enough dissonance to keep things interesting.

"Aura on an Asylum Wall" is the shortest track at over 7 minutes, but it is an amazing example of dynamics with the overall feeling of the track being around the midway point between extremes. The jazz and orchestral passages through this track are wonderful and the interplay of the instruments is perfect. As I said earlier, "___On Limpid Form" is extremely heavy. It starts out innocently enough with vocals and stays innocent for about the first 5 1/2 minutes, then a sudden build of dirty heavy guitars, a wall of sound, starts to build, plodding along almost like an early Swans track, but without any discernible hooks, mostly noise, with feedback being added slowly into the mix. Soon the feedback becomes a lead instrument almost playing a melody of sorts, this track is extreme to the max by the end. The last track is more of a free form, with a small amount of structure, remaining dark, but much more sparse than the previous track. Plucked guitar chords with strings whining and screeching very low in the background and an occasional lead violin weaving around the guitar. It's a nice cool down after the previous track and a good way to complete the album.

I have yet to hear anything conventional by Kayo Dot. They explore so many styles of music, usually centering around harshness that exists between musical palettes. The best label to put on this music is definitely avant-garde. They were early on looped into the Progressive or Art Metal category, because of their harshness and their tie ins to their previous band, but they go so far beyond that. This is music in the abstract with it's roots in Progressive rock and as I have said in other reviews, it is worthy to hopefully be added in with a Classical Music category some day. Kayo Dot is one of the best bands for effectively mixing styles and being innovative.

Their next album "Blue Lambency Downward" is somewhat of a departure and it suffers for it. I understand the need to explore, but, even though it is still excellent, it is very dense all the way through with very little let up. I don't mean dense in a metal way either, it is dense as there are so many things going on without a lot of recognizable structure. It takes a lot more getting used to, but the amazing sounds present in this and "Choirs of the Eye" are harder to find. If you are looking into finding a way to hear what this band has to offer, be prepared that it will be different from anything else you have heard. I would say it is closer to Mars Volta's first album than anything, but even then that is a half assed attempt to compare it to something else that a lot of people have heard. But this album, or the previous album, are your best bets for initiating yourself into this music. I suggest you have an open mind and that you listen to it a few times before passing judgement. Kayo Dot had become one of my favorite bands to follow lately because I am always excited to see where they go next.

Highly recommended to everyone that is willing to explore. A masterpiece once again for Kayo Dot. 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |

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