Kayo Dot
Blue Lambency Downward


4.5
superb

Review

by Tojes Dolan USER (33 Reviews)
May 30th, 2008 | 36 replies | 6,203 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Much anticipated continuation to "Dowsing Anemone..." and with newly featured musicians, the album is less of a trip, more concise... and no growls to be heard.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

It's difficult to define intensity in terms of music. It's easy to put in in physical terms as exposed by "current intensity", for instance, which is a measurable physical quantity, and as it grows larger, its effects can be seen more prevalent by external witness corpuscles (like magnetic fields or power dissipation. Nonetheless, the task seems to get fuzzier and blurrier as it approaches the music aspect.

How could intense music be defined?

The approach to distinct music genres will lead to different answers. A pop-music listener might define intense as a musical piece which is easy to relate to, whether for the emotional link it creates or, put more simply, the more it talks about getting dumped and guys being jerks. A sludge-metal-music listener will define an intense musical piece as that which most evident crescendos are put in particular, special moments of musical distress, or as those moments in which the song seems to have lost its entire point and goes back to tie links musically.

As a Kayo Dot listener, it's quite not so much of an easy task, since the most intense moments are not equivalent to each listener, nor is the focus each gives to a certain moment of the song. To put a clear example, Gemini Becoming the Tripod could be used. The intensity is marked by the screeching. helpless, anxious vocals by Toby driver, as if it wasn't meant to be sung, but screamed. And that's how it sounds. And it sounds fitting, as the birth of a new being from a once complete entity.

"The world closed its eyes..."

The poetic intricacies in the last line are obvious, once put in context and to a lesser extent out of it, whether its the sentiment it's sung with or the overall context of the piece as a whole.

On a different approach, one could take The Antique or more significantly __ On Limpid Form for an intense musical moment, given by the subtlety of instrumentation or the build-up necessary to reach... absolute nowhereness. And all three examples are distinct from each other, even being the same band. Leaving the philosophical dissension of what Kayo Dot implicates, onward with Blue Lambency Downward.

First of all, the most evident missing element are growls and other distinctive vocal experimentations present in "Dowsing Anemone..." and lesser in "Choirs of the Eye". Whether it was a creative decision or simply put, growing up, it can't be said that the appeal of the band was lost. Au Contraire, the feeling of the band is still there, albeit the lack of classically-understood "metal intensity". Given intensity is now given by the band's instrumental capacity, and rarely recurring to rock instruments to achieve it, so that when they do use them (like the intro to Symmetrical Arizona or most drum participations along the album) they actually seem like they are "in place" and not so much leaving a sensation of "oh, there goes another solo". As the album goes on, the musical intensity spikes at moments and unlike what was tried to be done with "60 Metonymies" by giving a lot of the stress work to the strings department, it seems like what Toby Driver knows how to do best is to create pieces of magnanimous proportions with as many elements as he can bring to the table. Nonetheless, it can't be denied his genius for ambient creation and minimalist touch, but the more vast compositions happen to be what I perceive as his best work (given the chance, my personal preference is questionable at this point, I suppose).

Leaving the growls-are-missing part of the album, most of it flows amazingly, and each instrumental section is interesting as is on its own. When the news that Charlie Zeleny (formerly with Behold... the Arctopus) was going to be featured in the band as the drummer, quickly conclusions were drawn in the vein of the band becoming some kind of technical-core ambient sludge drone monstrosity. It's a good thing to know that it didn't.

The drumming in this album is possibly one of the biggest differences when compared to previous releases. As the album progresses, it is noticeable that there's no longer the intent to make it part of the music, as it was used for example in Gemini Becoming the Tripod, where percussive effects were used as tension points when building up from nothing, and a masterful companion all the way around. In this observation, however, drumming has its own voice, doesn't help much with the ambient but just blends in amazingly in songs like The Awkward Wind Wheel, which are predominantly chaotic and for that reason, fitting to Charlie's drumming. There seem to be less solo moments and more convergent musical moments than in previous albums, there seem to be less diffuse moments and more focused, mature musical moments. And altogether, it sounds just like Kayo Dot, as if change was the key element to the success of this band's musical observations among its avid listeners.

What might throw off some are the "jazz" moments which keep popping up in different opinion sectors, which are not really "jazz", if it sounds more fitting to the listener, it reminds me more of classical movies instrumentation where the key is not to make outstanding solo instruments, but where convergence of sound is to create the mood of the scene rather than accenting music itself, making it moreso interesting and making the whole picture to fit in together. Don't be mislead by some drumming and the saxophone here or there, other music genres other than jazz use such instrumentation and musical motifs and it doesn't make them "jazzy" or anything of the sort.

So what can be concluded from this album? Was this article supposed to change your perspective on what something intense should be? Was this a miniature physics course to try to demonstrate that change is not a subject of negative criticism but of praise to disorder? No more questions should be left from reading this than they were answered. Blue Lambency Downward is, in terms of Kayo Dot, another very nice set of musical leading always to want more, more mature musically, more cohesive, and outstanding as are its fellow observations by Kayo Dot; nonetheless, Blue Lambency Downward seems to leave this observation with a much more conclusive, grand finale song as Symmetrical Arizona is, which makes me wonder if it was really necessary after all to find closure from a finite number of tracks, or to always leave things hanging, wishing the experience lasted longer than it did.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TojesDolan
May 30th 2008



272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, up again guys. =)

DBlitz
May 30th 2008



1685 Comments


I've just recently got into Kayo Dot and maudlin of the Well, I don't have this yet. But it seems this has more mixed reactions then the other two release.

Sweet review.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2008



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol at Neoteric rating this a 1. He was telling me over AIM how amazing it was the day it came out.

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins® [AMDISCS]

Jawaharal
May 30th 2008



1832 Comments


I don't like it. Its too un-structured at times and just seems to go nowhere.

Mendigo
May 30th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just seems to go nowhere

In my eyes one of the most stupid excuses why people dislike so many great albums, comes right after pretentious. Why should a album lead somewhere? Ok, I know people just wanna say that it's extremely boring for them. But when you look at the term, it seems to describe a kind of ambient music that isn't structured in the usual way - but how does that make something bad? Why should an album that "seems to go nowhere" be bad? In my eyes some of the greatest music doesn't go anywhere, may it be some (modern) classical compositions, prog rock, post rock or ambience.
Just wanted to say that once, it's more or less coincidence that it happened here and now.
And by the way, if any album leads to a certain point, it's "Blue Lambency Downward" that leads towards the final outburst of Symmetrical Arizona.

dub sean
May 30th 2008



979 Comments


How do I pronounce the band name?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2008



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

K-O Dot.

robin
Emeritus
May 31st 2008



4221 Comments


so this is their least 'heavy' release?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2008



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yep.

Also their least 'good' release.

iarescientists
May 31st 2008



5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gay-O Dot

Yazz_Flute
May 31st 2008



18735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I absolutely loved Choirs, but not quite as much Dowsing. Would this be worth getting?

Digging: Anekdoten - Vemod

KritikalMotion
May 31st 2008



2259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

average

Mendigo
May 31st 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I absolutely loved Choirs, but not quite as much Dowsing. Would this be worth getting?

Why don't you just listen to it and decide for yourself?
http://www.bluelambencydownward.com/
I'd say it's worth getting, but it's very different from Choirs (and from Dowsing too, tbh) and most people here seem not to like it that much.

Oneiron
June 6th 2008



194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nowhere near Choirs, but on par with Dowsing... but not too much is really on par with Choirs. Of the three Kayo Dot releases this one reminds me most of motW

IanBandeau
June 8th 2008



45 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely my favorite Kayo Dot album, but I'll be damned if I can find it in any local music store.

barbarian
June 26th 2008



341 Comments


this is pretty awesome

dorsia21h
July 6th 2008



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

For me Kayo Dot is the best thing that happened to music since...I don't know. It's almost as important as Hendrix, Coltrane and Bartok put together. I'm slightly subjective...
This album is the less accessible of Kayo Dot (especially live), this is far from Choirs of the eye but this is still excellent.


Mendigo
July 6th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, it takes more listens to swallow everything that goes on here. I don't get all the people claiming this is going nowhere and such stuff, it is packed with more ideas and gimmicks then any other Toby Driver album.
and live this really kicks ass (especially the drumming, which is much louder than on the studio version - actually the only thing that keeps me from giving it the full rating right now). One of the greatest shows I've ever attended.
I hope sometime in the future Kayo Dot will be viewed as a classic on par with those musicians you've mentioned, they're maybe the only band around here right now deserving that status.

foreverendeared
July 6th 2008



14678 Comments


while i don't think this band will ever be as important as the previously mentioned artists, it is, no doubt, one of the best to come out this decade

Mendigo
July 6th 2008



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, you're right, they'll never be as important but they definitely should be



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