KAYO DOT — Plastic House On Base Of Sky

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KAYO DOT - Plastic House On Base Of Sky cover
4.44 | 5 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2016

Filed under Non-Metal


1. Amalia's Theme (07:32)
2. All The Pain in All the Wide World (10:08)
3. Magnetism (07:29)
4. Rings of Earth (08:40)
5. Brittle Urchin (04:32)

Total time 38:23


- Toby Driver / voice, synths, guitar, bass guitar
- Keith Abrams / drums
- Ron Varod / guitar on “Brittle Urchin”
- Daniel Means / saxophone
- Sage Riesman / violin
- Stacey Winegyn / violin
- Bing Minz / violin
- Roman Celine / viola
- Dabe Wyche / viola
- Alexis Travelion / cello
- Landen Chelengs / contrabass
- Lemuel Bardor / harpsichord
- Bree Eng / pipe organ
- Duggan Elston / hammond organ
- Valentin Dublev / mellotron
- Charmane Tressel / glass harmonica
- Gloria Hattifer / celesta
- Bhin Turmes / trumpet
- Ephraim Narata / flugelhorn
- George Chamdles / rhodes
- Stelvio Nebulli / hand percussion
- Guillaume Veltaj / hand percussion
and The Adirondack Twilight Choir

About this release

Recorded by Toby Driver in various locations between August 2014 and December 2015
released June 24, 2016

Produced by Toby Driver

Drums and additional guitars recorded by Marc Alan Goodman at Strange Weather, Brooklyn NY
Mixed by Marc Alan Goodman at Strange Weather
Mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk
Artwork by Fuco Ueda
Composed by Toby Driver
Lyrics by Jason Byron except “Brittle Urchin” by Toby Driver

Thanks to siLLy puPPy for the addition and bartosso for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Revisiting the uncharted

Some of the more perceptive readers might deem the title of this review absurd and some of the more radical ones, stupid. And yet, the very existence of postmodernism depends on how good we are at reshaping the old into the new, making it as fresh and intriguing as it was when it first came into being. More important still, is the ability of postmodern art to go beyond this premise, set itself in a world of its own and exist there on its own terms. And who else would I ever believe capable of creating an entire world for their music to exist in, if not Toby Driver. Ever since Choirs of the Eye (and for some, early maudlin of the Well), Toby's musical identity has been shining through layers of inspiration and styles he has so far explored. None of what he did has ever seemed either derivative, calculated or entirely spontaneous and the fact I don't really understand how or why he does what he does made me wonder - is it part of the fun? And yes, it actually seems to be a big chunk of it. It's like admiring someone's brilliance despite being blinded by it.

It's no wonder Toby's decided to go for more focused, more compact albums after Hubardo, arguably the most diverse and, quite obviously, the longest album in his career; a summary of all he did up to this point. Unlike pre-Hubardo records, both Coffins on Io and Plastic House on Base of Sky feature a somewhat vintage sound, marking a change in stylistic direction. Strongly inspired by the Japanese composer Susumu Hirasawa and by some of the greatest 80s icons, with the most prominent being David Bowie, Joy Division, Brian Ferry, Vangelis and the whole era of progressive rock and electronica, Toby does what he does best; he dislocates all elements from their hinges, makes them his own, unique. They all are doors to his plastic house. It's especially true on the new record where the border between organic and synthetic became completely blurred. As radical as ever, Kayo Dot takes no prisoners despite leaving their extreme music roots behind. Plastic House on Base of Sky is a playground for electronic polyphony: jarring, often atonal, rhythmically complex and intense to the point of being exhausting. As with all of their albums, however, a profound feeling of purpose grows stronger with every subsequent spin, a feeling of discovery. This definitely is a record that interacts with the listener on the most personal level possible, mostly because the artistic process itself knew no compromise. That's also why reviewing Kayo Dot albums is so daunting - the band doesn't try to prove anything to anyone. Toby seems to be lost in a maelstrom of self-expression and despite fiercely pushing the envelope, he never loses track of what makes Kayo Dot music so engaging: the unrefined, frantically honest emotional charge put into it.

The latest Kayo Dot release catches Toby Driver drifting further and further away from his extreme music roots, deep into the unknown where the old merges with the new to become something, somewhere. Despite being extreme in a general sense, Kayo Dot was never meant to appeal to metal fans or fans of any other specific genre. I honestly don't know who this music is addressed to, and I doubt it actually is to anyone in particular. All I can say is that an open minded approach is advised and any preconceptions you might have about art-rock, progressive electronica or synth-pop are to be discarded. Plastic House on Base of Sky is neither of those things. It is more.

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