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Kayo Dot – Gamma Knife by orlandooom407

This one is the surprise that isn’t. Learning to expect the unexpected can be  elusive. With Kayo Dot‘s compositional habits, while ever changing, it’s typical to feel comfortable expecting some tightly knit, suspenseful, yet heartily full compositional maze with something left over to listen to for another day. Toby and Mia, being the two remaining original members, have been building Kayo Dot since 2003. Each new release has shown consistent innovation and growth leading up to Gamma Knife which released on January 4th. Their vision is another fresh mix of songs that exhibit great contrast and still maintain a well rounded out, while quirky, entirety. The first and last songs bring plenty more calm than those in between, and it paints a quiet and innocent scene with an insidious beast snoring in its belly. Dark, eternal and necessary as Yang is to Ying. Kind of like a backwards Oreo.

Listening to Gamma Knife back and forth over the past few days has certainly given itself its own life. Encased between underwater creeping galleries there are brutal mixtures of droned strings, horns and synthesizers beside hurricane percussion and throaty growling. A peculiar clarity and tension holds the listener until you think it will just lead on forever, before suddenly swirling into an entirely new tide of ripping currents. The timeline of Kayo Dot reveals their incessant changing nature, yet any fan can point them out of a crowd like Waldo at a Necrophagist show. Dredging horns and strings accompanied by grizzly vocals and blasting drums will confuse you as to whether the songs would fit better at a progressive show or a metal show. That is, until you find out how loud and entirely encompassing they are with their coordination in a live setting. By the same strange token its simple to feel confident expecting a newer direction in vision with new releases by them. A chord was struck that lead into a new whirlpool of rhythms, dynamics and meticulous notation that tell the story. Since fans already know to expect something different it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to need to disconnect in order to explicate what they have done with their new release, Gamma Knife.

It was never meant to be an effortless approach, there have been many times in which it has taken many times of listening to the album on and off until one day it finally clicks. “Mirror Water, Lightning Night” is a perfect example of the robust, dynamic quality that Kayo Dot likes to spin at you. While the blast beats and double bass are a relatively new development for them it is certainly making itself well known as it carries nearly the entirety of the 5 minute and a half minute song.

Click here to stream/download Gamma Knife by Kayo Dot in their Bandcamp.

– Elliot Smiggen