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Kayo Dot - Gamma Knife CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.54 | 76 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Since 2009's Part the Second and 2010's Coyote, Toby Driver's many projects and albums have presented some of the most exciting music this genre has to offer. With the announcement of Gamma Knife at the end of last year and its recent release, my anticipation for a Kayo Dot album has never been higher. While it's held back slightly by its length and audio quality problems, the music of the band's newest album is great, and is a great way to start off 2012.

Gamma Knife is a live album of new material recorded in late 2011 in New York City, with studio overdubs later on, similar to King Crimson's Starless and Bible Black. The audio quality is generally OK, with the vocals taking the biggest hit out of anything. The instrumental mix isn't without flaw, but for the most part, there may as well not be lyrics for how understandable they are. Besides the quality of the mix, the only way you would be able to tell that the music was recorded live is brief clapping at the end of the third song; Gamma Knife certainly has the feel of a studio album.

The album consists of a half hour of material made up of five songs. The opener and closer are mellower, atmosphere kind of tracks, with the middle three being the dense and dissonant affairs that Kayo Dot fans will crave. The music is generally great, and has a heavier feel than Coyote with the inclusion of guitar again, and growling vocals that are reminiscent of early maudlin of the Well albums. In contrast, the first and last songs provide beautiful, softer pieces of music before and after the calamity that is the middle of the album.

Overall, the music contained within the 30 minutes has the regular dissonance, some insane counterpoints, and even more density than the usual Kayo Dot album. The album flows from beginning to end, with smooth transitions and shifts in mood and energy that make perfect sense. However, there is only 30 minutes (and less than 20 minutes, taking out the first and last songs) of this music, and that's hard to ignore. It helps that you can purchase the album for just $5 on bandcamp, but this combined with the quality of the mix unfortunately holds Gamma Knife back from reaching its full potential.

Considering just the music alone, this album is easily worthy of 4 stars, and if you have any interest at all in Kayo Dot is a must buy. For those on the fence, just know that your purchase will get you a great, but short and technically marred album.

m2thek | 3/5 |


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