kandodo – K2O (Thrill Jockey)
19 August 2013
Earlier in the year we ran a review of an album by Anthroprophh aka the artist (Paul Allen) formerly known as one half of devastating brain-bending heavy psych monsters The Heads. The other half of The Heads, Simon Price, has gone on to form kandodo who today, with the release of k2o, return with that ‘difficult second album’. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates is sitting in the reviewers chair for this one.
Let not the fact that kandodo starts with a lower case ‘k’ deceive you. This is not an album to be understated. As a member of The Heads and therefore a former John Peel ‘sessionee’, Simon Price has been around for a while, and in k2o he’s released an enthralling album of superbly put together guitar and keyboard instrumentals which reveal more hidden depths on every listen.
There are early signs of the albums promise with opener ‘slowah’ which fades in with synths before some interesting guitar layers make their appearance. There’s a delicate throb throughout with the eventual reserved percussion moving the track along. There are soundbytes from a tour of Elvis Presley’s home on the cleverly titled ‘grace and’ which accompany echoing and louder guitars, and sounds from a rippling shoreline feature in ‘waves’. You can imagine Price playing his guitar whilst sat on the beach.
The eleven minute ‘kandy rock mountain’ could be something taken from The Beatles’ acid adventures as it weaves a gorgeous, hypnotic myriad of sounds that drift in and out beautifully. It somehow resists the opportunity to introduce a crashing drum and is more the better for denying the urge. Synthesizers hold the track together whilst fragile guitar work adds a certain Eastern feel.
The Blues tinged ‘july 28th’ is the new soundtrack for your daily horse ride through dusty deserts with its crying guitar over an ancient Red Indian percussive back-drop. Not really going anywhere, but, at the same time taking you on a long calming journey.
The album of just six tracks closes with the mammoth ‘swim into the sun’. A twenty-two minute opus complete with chatting crowds, speeding cars and lapping water. On the vinyl version of the album, it takes up one full side, not surprising at its length but it’s well deserving. Slightly more upbeat with drums from fellow Head, Wayne Maskell, its length doesn’t really become an issue as it rises and rises.
It is said that the track took two years to fully complete and it’s easy to see why, as its steady beat continually meets with washes of sound. It’s ambitious and could well have faded into nothing but obvious pretentiousness, but it keeps going and is rather wonderful for it.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.