Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ektoise - 2011 - Kiyomizu

Ambient/ Alternative/ Electronica
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Today we finally got around to writing a proper review for Ektoise, which were already featured in the mail bag section once. There was quite a lot of good feedback regarding these guys, so we thought it might be a good idea to extend our impressions.
    Writing this review has caused my brain to burn out at least twice now, as if experiencing the album is the only way to tell someone about it and trying to do so by any other means boggles the mind. Genre douchebaggery and descriptors floating in the air around me. That may sound like faint praise for Kiyomizu; the new release from Ektoise. But that is not the case, nor the intention. No, the album itself is exceptional, it's just densely packed into a ten song aural experience unlike any other I've had the pleasure of listening to in a long long time.

    One might come to take the band, and the album as a whole to be the post-rock same old, same old going by the lushly textured, yet sludgy post-rock staple song structure of opener, “The Shoreline by Morning.” After that however, any pretense of what to expect is thoroughly tossed aside, as Ektoise let loose with a sonic attack from all possible angles. This is not a band concerned with genre restrictions or labels as songs freely flow from one time signature into another, totally changing musical landscapes along the way. “There and Here” is a prime example of this, starting out as paranoid trance before transforming in thudding drum led techno-rock akin to big-beat wrapped in noise and feedback, then bleeding itself out into a piano and drum freak out that ends in near silence. Obviously the calm before the storm, as “Square Peg” comes out of the gate firing on all industrial metal cylinders to pummel everything in it's path, namely the listener. And album closer “Down River” wouldn't seem that out of place on an album by dark ambient pioneer Lustmord. There are no discernible lyrics on the record, and it's better off for it. None of these songs require words to create images of warm, serene beauty and grimy Teutonic nightmares in equal measure. Of the ten tracks, only “Dissolved”s chilled out guitar riffs swimming casually in space could really support a voice without it feeling out of place. Get the right female vocalist and this would be a smash on the charts. That being said, even the most relaxed, less rock focused songs that round out the album have a sense of urgency to them that makes everything fit and flow together naturally. Not rushed by any means, more a sense of purpose and destination in mind than playing through 70+ minutes of music as fast as they can.

    An album that's too good to be free. You'd be doing yourself a disservice not grabbing it from their bandcamp.


    1. Ektoise are also working on a few video live performances. We'll update you on it as soon as we get these.

    2. There are two live videos out so far: Subquanta and Active Denial System:

      There will be a few more soon, probably There and Here next