KILN: Dusker (Ghostly International)


Posted on Apr 7th 2008 11:00 pm

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Kiln: Dusker

Ghostly International 2007
11 Tracks. 52mins07secs

Michigan-based trio Kiln, formed of Kevin Hayes, Kirk Marrison and Cark Rehberg III, originally operated under the Fibreforms and Waterwheel banners. As Kiln, they have released five albums since 1997, exploring the boundaries between post rock and electronica. With their latest effort, released at the end of last year on Ghostly International, these boundaries are more blurred than ever. Indeed, while the trio’s music is partly based on guitars, drums and live percussions, these sources are considerably processed and redeployed to fill spaces that aren’t naturally that of the original instruments, making it almost impossible to distinguish between the sound sources and the added components.

This results in Kiln’s sound appearing warm and organic, with tracks building consistence around dense sonic formations and slowly evolving into heavy melodic themes. The album opens with the rather intense Fyrepond, led by a comatose beat upon which additional percussive layers add to the original oppressive impression, only partially lifted as the refreshing tones of an electric piano trickle down on the piece for a moment. A similar mood is found later on Templefrog and Rustdusk. On both tracks, the progress seems to be made more difficult by the dense atmospherics applied on both rhythmic section and on the overall backdrop.

But then, the mood lifts up quite noticeably on the piano-led Airplaneshadows and Korsaire, and, to a lesser extent, on the more subdued Flycatcher or Arq, revealing beautiful pastoral soundscapes evoking the sensorial wealth of the countryside at springtime. It is as if green valleys and rolling hills, luxuriant with new vegetation, had been turned into sounds and brought to life once again through some widescreen kaleidoscope. There is however here no gentle Boards Of Canada psychedelia. While Kiln create colourful soundscapes and apply them in generous brushes, the mood remains somewhat restrained all the way through, privileging impressionist rather than expressionist touches.

As the album enters its last phase, the tone becomes once again darker and heavier. Sunsethighway floats over cobblestone-like statics and clicks, with the recognisable strum of an electric guitar guiding the way, while Tigertail, the longest track of the album, slowly progresses through a dense forest of earthy sounds to draw the album to an elegant close.

With this latest effort, Kiln are found more than ever between traditional instrumentation and electronic processing, their overall treatment having developed into a strong and consistent sound. While Dusker can, at times, appear dark and ominous, it is actually its lighter moments, concentrated in its core, like a clearing found deep in a rainforest, that reveal the true heart of this surprisingly engaging and accomplished album.


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