DEVIN TOWNSEND — Ki

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DEVIN TOWNSEND - Ki cover
3.79 | 41 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2009

Tracklist

1. A Monday (1:43)
2. Coast (4:36)
3. Disruptr (5:49)
4. Gato (5:23)
5. Terminal (6:58)
6. Heaven Send (8:54)
7. Ain't Never Gonna Win (3:17)
8. Winter (4:48)
9. Trainfire (5:59)
10. Lady Helen (6:05)
11. Ki (7:21)
12. Quiet Riot (3:02)
13. Demon League (2:55)

Total Time 66:50

Line-up/Musicians

- Devin Townsend / vocals, guitar, fretless bass, ambience, programming
- Duris Maxwell / drums
- Jean Savoie / bass guitar
- Dave Young / keys, piano, ambience

- Ché Aimee Dorval / additional vocals
- Ryan Dahle / additional vocals
- Bjorn / additional vocals
- Peter / additional vocals
- Christopher / additional vocals
- Grant / additional vocals
- Corey / additional vocals
- Jeremy / additional vocals
- Ryan / additional vocals

About this release

As Devin Townsend Project

Label: HevyDevy Records
Release Date: May 25, 2009

Thanks to negoba for the addition and Stooge, UMUR, progshine, bartosso, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

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DEVIN TOWNSEND KI reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

arcane-beautiful
I remember the day Devin said he was quiting Strapping Young Lad. I was watching a very old British TV station called Rock something or other (it was very good but it didn't meet viewers needs and kind of fell into the ground). Devin was performing a puppet show as Ziltoid and made me laugh like the hyenas from The Lion King.

Then Devin comes out and says “I'm done!”

I was saddened. I had just gotten into Devin's work and hearing him say he was retiring from music pretty much was sad. But...luckily enough he was pretty much stating he was leaving Strapping Young Lad.

So a year or two passed and Devin emerged again. He was looking healthier, he had shaved his head and he said he was going to release a 4 album series that was going to be like a 4 course dinner. And that the first album Ki, would be like an appetizer. And in many ways this is pretty much a great appetizer.

This album did receive some slight confusion whenever it was originally released, mainly due to it's vast difference to anything Devin has done before. In many ways it does harken back to some of Devin's earlier material and touches of his original sound, but it very much is a very different and rather different type of album.

The opener “Coast” has to be one of my personal favourites from Devin. A very beautiful song with some rather interesting guitar lines. The ambient sounding backgrounds are also very beautiful as well. A great vocal performance from Devin as well, showing a lot of diversity in his softer and operatic tones.

“Disruptr” is one of the more heavier moments on the album with some brilliant build ups throughout. This song and the next track are rather similar in nature, with Disruptr having a slightly more calmer effect. The next track has “Gato” has to be one of my personal favourites on the album and is definitely one of the more heavier songs. Also, any lyrics about cat people will always interest me. Devin's vocals in this track are pretty insane at times.

The ballads on the album “Terminal” and “Lady Helen” are also very interesting. With very minimal and quiet music behind them, it harkens back to some of the more prettier moments found on an album like “Terria.” Terminal in particular is done brilliantly live in “By A Thread.”

My favourite track on the album would have to be the longest composition “Heaven Send.” A rather relaxing start with a rather bluesy groove, it builds up with some brilliant distorted guitar grooves and an almost gang like chorus. The guitar solo in the song is also one of Devin's most interesting guitar solo, with great use of a whammy peddle.

One of the prettiest tracks on the album has to be “Winter.” A very beautiful song with a very large instrumental base, with the vocals being very simple. A beautiful and relaxing song.

One of the most oddest tracks has to be “Trainfire.” A song inspired by 50 and 60's rock and roll, it really gives off a rock a billy train feel to it. The ending is also very different with the song taking on a rather different and more interesting form with some beautiful guitar playing.

The title track is one of the more interesting tracks on the album. Again, another song that wouldn't go amiss on “Terria”. A very quiet start slowly building up to a multi layered contrapuntal musical masterpiece. Great production on this track with some spellbinding guitar playing from Devin.

The album closer, or the should be album closer “Quiet Riot” is a rather beautiful acoustic ending, taking melodies and lyrics from Slade's (or Quiet Riot's) “Cum On Feel The Noize.” A very beautiful ending to the album, along with the other close “Demon League.”

In conclusion, this album does get a lot of mixed opinions from people, but I personally I really like it. I do admit that it does have a lot of styles and is a lot less cohesive than most of his albums, but personally I find the album to go through a whole range of emotions due to Devin going through a whole load of emotions at the time. This is a mixed bag, but there is some really beautiful and powerful moments on this album. Something very different, but something very interesting.

8.8/10
Pelata
Ecclectic. If any one word was to embody the musical mad scientist that is Devin Townsend, that would be it. This newest creation, under the Devin Townsend Project moniker, is about as far from Strapping Yonng Lad as we can get, and yet, its every bit as intriguing and infectious.

What Hevy Devy has given us this time around is a more laid back affair unlike anything I can recall from him. I hear a lot of Post Rock in the textures here, sort of like something Dredg or Sigur Ros would do if they joined forces with King Crimson. Then the natural curve balls pop up like the Simon & Garfunkel laced “Quiet Riot” (I’ll let you discover why it’s called that) and the Carl Perkins/Elvis Presley stomp of “Trainfire” (this track doesn’t stay this way, but it takes up the first few minutes of the song). “Distuptr” shows strong signs of that Robert Fripp influence I alluded to earlier (and even a little bit of King’s X). The middle of this tune (as well as “Gato” after it) showcases one of the albums more noisy/aggressive moments as well.

The album as a whole is an enjoyable slice of experimental, Progressive Rock music worthy of attention from not only Devin fans, but fans of the unusual and ambitious. Well worth seeking out and picking up.
Stooge
This was quite a refreshing listen when I first heard it. Having recently put Strapping Young Lad to rest and cutting his trademark skullet, Devin was looking to shake things up. Ki, the first release under the Devin Townsend Project moniker, showed he was serious.

This is pretty much as stripped down as you get for a Devin Townsend rock/metal creation, with most of the songs being based around clean-toned guitar playing, shifting his vocals (and occasionally those of Che Dorval) to the foreground.

There is some evidence of the aggression and heaviness we are accustomed to hear from Devin (parts of “Disruptr” and “Gato”), but for the most part this is a rather calm affair. In fact, many of what I’d consider to be the album highlights (“Coast”, “Terminal”, “Winter”, “Lady Helen”) are among the most laid back songs off the album.

Though the album is a shift in a slightly different direction, the songs really aren’t that far off of some of his earlier material, just a bit minimal. One track that covers more progressive territory would be “Ki”, which incorporates the layering of simplistic musical riffs, melodies, and vocals that build strongly as the song progresses.

Anyone familiar with Devin’s work knows he’s quite a quirky character, and he’ll often throw some humour and other surprises into any given album. The song “Trainfire” has him tackling a bit of a country/western song done his way, and “Quiet Riot” is an acoustic song with a somewhat lullaby feel that makes obvious reference to said hair metal band and their famous cover of “Cum On Feel The Noize”.

Ki makes for an excellent listen that should have crossover appeal with metal and non-metal fans.
Conor Fynes
'Ki' - Devin Townsend (7/10)

After relentless touring with bands and tiring of his personal demons, Devin Townsend pulled out of the public eye, and for a while, there were fears that his career- for the most part, would be over? Then, in a true fashion of Devin Townsend, he surprised us all by announcing one of his most ambitious projects yet, his self-titled 'Devin Townsend Project.'

Adopting a totally different style for each of the four albums along with a unique set of musicians for each, the Project's first album 'Ki' comes as a bit of a surprise to anyone who was expecting the extremity of Strapping Young Lad or the experimentation of his solo work. What you get here is a protest against convention, through some of the most chilled out music I've ever listened to.

The music can easily be described as atmospheric, laid-back and some times even psychedelic rock. Due to the fact that the majority of his fanbase was either attracted to him for his metal, or progressive aspects, there will be a lot of people alienated by this release. While there are certainly 'weird' moments of music to behold on 'Ki,' there won't be a whole lot that will leave you scratching your head on first listen.

'Ki' feels like a slingshot that won't be released. There are times when its almost certain that Devin will finally explode in a Strapping sort of way, but at the last moment; the anger is pulled away for total calm. While this can be frustrating at times from the listener's point of view, it is a real commentary on the artist, and his newfound lifestyle of moderation and er, self-preservation. However, while the 'heavy' moments on this album are few and far between; when they come, they sound more brutal than ever in contrast.

In any case, it's great to see Townsend exploring new facets of what he can do. It does not have the longevity of some of his earlier works, nor does it have as many 'mind-blowing' moments, but what does very well is show that Devin Townsend is far from extinguishing his creative abilities, and that there is a lot of great music to be heard from him in the years to come.
Negoba
New Direction for a Modern Genius

Ki is the first of a four album set from the newly sober Devin Townsend. This actually made me nervous, for though I am happy that a hero is pursuing a healthier life, other artists have sometimes floundered trying to explore their creativity clean.

I shouldn't have worried. Ki is the most innovative album Devy has made in awhile. Its sound, though recognizable as Devin Townsend owing to his voice and guitar tuning, is otherwise very different from anything he's done before. First of all, the mix is wide open, more spare and airy than probably any DT album ever. The guitars are often clean for the majority of the song, and even the distorted sections lack the huge wall of sound that had become a Devy trademark. Ironically, one of the descriptors that has come to my mind in describing the new album is "Chris Isaak on acid."

Others have criticized this album for being too mellow, but there is actually a very wide range of emotions on this disc. Early tracks like "Disruptr" and "Gato" are extremely intense with the latter being among Devy's scariest. At the other end of the spectrum, we have spacey ambient tracks like "Terminal" and "Winter." There are plenty of bluesy sections (which frequently start sounding very run-of-the-mill and then morph into something insane) and a female vocalist who actually ups the intensity and compliments Devin's voice quite well. There is also a nice dose of Devy's fun-loving humor, with the train-boogie riff and Elvis impersonation of "Trainfire" leading the charge. The title track is perhaps the closest to vintage Devy with a slowly building stack of musical layers climaxing in the ocean of sonic bombardment we've come to love. (ed. Now almost a year later, the end section of "Ki" is one of my favorite Devy moments of all.)

On first listen, there are multiple times I found myself thinking "What the hades is he doing?" Every time, the song would evolve or turn into something strange and beautiful in a way that only Devin could have done. On repeated listens, my regard for the album has steadily grown and grown. I definitely advise giving the album some time with an open mind, for the rewards are great. I don't think it reaches masterpiece level (some of the ambient bits are overlong), but overall it is a great CD and highly recommended.
Windhawk
Canadian artist Devin Townsend is a productive guy, with more albums to his name than the number of years he's been recording music. "Ki" is one of two releases from him in 2009.

And for a guy mostly associated with metal, this album is a rather surprising venture. Most of the songs are rather mellow and laid-back, with acoustic guitar just as if not more prominent than the electric. Distorted riffs are few and far between as well. In fact, in terms of style many of the songs here to a lesser or greater extent made me think of Chris Isaak.

Many of the songs do contain a brooding darkness though, often provided by some rather nifty synths, but also slightly distorted echoing bass and guitar sounds are used to good effect to create slightly disturbing atmospheres. And on a few select occasions, these moods evolve into brief, highly effective brutal-sounding metal parts invading the almost pastoral landscapes created.

It's a well made album, and while a progressive metal audience might have a hard time with this one those who appreciate sophisticated pop/rock and art pop might be a surprising, new audience for this artist. At least as far as this particular album goes.

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