Monday, 21 July 2008

Review - Kayo Dot - Blue Lambency Downward

Kayo Dot - Blue Lambency Downward

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2 out of 10

Jazz. As a wise man once said - "Hate the music, love the mags". Well, there's enough here to send that fellow straight off to the bathroom for some solo flying. Ironic, really, because that's exactly what this album consists of. It's chock-full of individually beautiful sounds and more than a few transcendental moments; the guitar tone towards the end of The Useless Ladder, for example, or the hallucinatory Right Hand Is The One I Want. Unfortunately, the whole collection feels enormously disjointed - as if you were sat inside a kaleidoscope playing Yellow Submarine and Eraserhead simultaneously in reverse, with a soundtrack of Zappa fighting Brian Wilson with John Zorn as the referee. As you might suspect, there is a quasi-religious aspect, since the main players are students of Dr. Yusef Lateef and his 'Autophysiopsychic Music'. Wake up at the back, there.

Visually the album is a treat. The CD package is a mini-gatefold with olde-worlde thick card from the days of vinyl. Musically, it is a great showcase for the compositional talents involved. The listener, however, is pretty much excluded. The fault for this lies mainly with the vocals - which are deliberately atonal and whiny, as if a geek were trying to sing Finnegan's Wake - although the schoolchildren apparently let loose in the percussion cupboard for The Sow Submits and the rather contrived riffage in Clelia Walking (And no, that's not a typo - it really is spelled 'Clelia') don't help matters. So, musically, it has its moments but wears its exclusivity like jazz stigmata, which is a bit wearing by the end. Everything comes together at the close, but, so what? We are left thinking that the music cupboard has been dismantled and reassembled, but why?


1. Blue Lambency Downward
2. Clelia Walking
3. Right Hand Is The One I Want
4. The Sow Submits
5. The Awkward Wind Wheel
6. The Useless Ladder
7. Symmetrical Arizona

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