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Old 07-07-2009, 11:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Kayo Dot - Blue Lambency Downward

Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


Kayo Dot's music to me, is the perfect combination between the progressive side of music, the avant-garde, and the abstract. Each album that Kayo Dot has released has become progressively darker and more experimental, demanding more from the listener. In Choirs of the Eye, the band's music was abstract and experimental, while still being beautiful and almost soothing. In Blue Lambency Downward, we see Kayo Dot adopt a much darker, violent, open and free sound that makes this album much more difficult to listen to and has even left many long-time fans of the band with mixed views of the album.

The album starts off with a very mysterious, ghostly almost folk inspired sound. This song perfectly represents the album art. It has an ethereal sound with a dark underlying, filled with echoed vocals, frantic drums that add a chaotic background texture, flutes, acoustic guitar and various psychedelic effects. Throughout the album, the band touches on many styles previously never heard on their previous albums. It never feels however, like the band is just playing another style of music just for the sake of doing. In Clelia Walking, the band explores free jazz and dark ambience with sudden violent outburst of distortion and dissonance. On The Sow Submits, a Jewish influence is present.

The album overall comes across to many as un-focused, but I almost think this is what the band's focus was, creating abstract movements using audio as their medium. The music constantly switches emotion and feel, while still retaining a sense of flow in a stream-of-conscious fashion. This is not an album that you casually listen to, but experience. The band highly recommends listening to the album in its entirety and has even provided a website to stream the entire album. This is a hard album to listen to, especially if you do what I did and listen to the entire album with no interruptions. You really need to be in completely different state of mind to appreciate this. The aim of this band's music isn't simply to be enjoyed, but to explore every realm of human emotion. It’s an album that needs to be appreciated from an artistic standpoint. Overall, I’m not sure what to think of this album. It is one of those albums that definitely feels like a grower, so I’m going to wait before coming to a final conclusion. As for those who want to get into Kayo Dot’s material, I would suggest starting with their first album, Choirs of the Eye and as for this album in particular, Right Hand is the One I Want is probably the most accessible track on the album. I think it would also be good to mention that the band has provided a website where you can listen to the entire album for free at www.bluelambencydownward.com.

Last edited by Kamikazi Kat; 07-08-2009 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This album and the band in particular deserve to be heard more. There is so much going on in their music that it could appeal to a wide cross section of fans. One of my favourite bands.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This has been on my radar for a while, but I'm still trying to digest their first album before I move on.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great review, even if it leaves me a bit intimidated in regard to listening to the album. I recently acquired Choirs in the Eye. My first Kayo Dot album. I was so immediately impressed by it that I had to throw it in the Jive Essence 42.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies everybody. I was worried about people turning down this album because I seemed to focus so much on the whole "ZOMG its avant-garde" thing in the review. The main reason for this is that I don't want people to listen to this album first as it might turn them down from such a great band. I would much rather people start off with Choirs of the Eye and go from there. This album really isn't so much extremely hard to listen to and appreciate, its just hard to do so if you aren't used to Kayo Dot's sound and haven't heard their earlier work.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks to your review I have been listening to the album for a couple days and enjoying it quite a bit. I love the Hydra Head label -- rather, I really really like the stuff that I like on it but a lot of the catalog doesn't grab me. This is the first listen I've listened to Kayo Dot and I'm finding them highly exciting. I love the 'jazz' feel and that only happens when a band knows what they're doing.

I am hearing a lot of stuff (mostly in the vocal melodies) that remind me of the old (defunct?) Hydra Head band, Mare. Is there a connection?

Edit: Encyclopaedia Metallum tells me that no members of Kayo Dot had anything to do with Mare.

Last edited by Engine; 07-12-2009 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah, that's one thing I really love about kayo Dot, not matter what they are playing, it has a loose, jazz-based feel. Whatever genre they are playing, the jazz roots are still present. I'm planning on checking out some of Toby Driver's stuff, as he is the main guy behind the band. He writes the songs, plays most of the instruments and does the vocals. maudlin of the Well looks interesting as well. Really haven't heard much from them, what I've heard so far never do anything for me. But I'll have to listen more before making any sort of conclusion.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I actually just got my hands on Kayo Dot and was definitely planning on spinning Choirs Of The Eye today. The way you described their latest work, it really sounds like exactly what I would want to hear- specifically the part about it being an experience more then anything. Glad I read this, I'll be sure to give Choirs my utmost of attention as to really let it envelope and carry me away. Great Review by the way.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schizotypic View Post
I actually just got my hands on Kayo Dot and was definitely planning on spinning Choirs Of The Eye today. The way you described their latest work, it really sounds like exactly what I would want to hear- specifically the part about it being an experience more then anything. Glad I read this, I'll be sure to give Choirs my utmost of attention as to really let it envelope and carry me away. Great Review by the way.
Thanks, hope you enjoy Choirs. Thats probably one of my favorite things about the band as well. The leader of the band Toby Driver says that escapism plays a major role in his music and it shows.
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