(Erototox Decodings, 2015)
Kenneth K. is a very productive musician (this is not the first release of his appearing on these pages), dealing mostly in soundscapes of various kind (his other projects besides [ówt krì] include for example Static Continuum and Aluminum Foil), and knowing the man personally, I have a strong impression regarding most of his projects, he would rather let the music speak for itself rather than analyse his work. So that is what we shall do, since Ambient is an extremely potent style of music for creating different inner visual sceneries in different individuals anyhow.
Kenneth has not been a stranger to experimentation with electric guitars through various pedals and effects in his Ambient music in the past (something that comes naturally from his Metal and Prog background in music), and this work is no exception. The theme of the album is of course a spiritual journey of some sort, letting the listener decide the outcome. Is the journey more important than the destination, and is the destination something negative or positive?
The album starts with a collaboration-track with the individuals from his other project Static Continuum, which is apparently an improvisation with very nineties-sounding keyboards and a couple of different guitars. Although quite Progressive in feeling, the attitude of the electric guitar leads is mostly quite “rocking” in nature, reminding maybe more of artists such as Steve Vai rather than for example 70’ies Prog Rock, which most likely appeals to some people more than others. There are moments when the guitars solos are picked and shredded with such speeds and emotion, they sound almost like taken from a technical Power Metal song or similar.
The second song continues with the same atmospheres when it comes to the synth-ambience and sounds, adding different bell- and chime-like sounds through various psychedelic filters in the mix. The third song however adds some organ-sounds to the journey, making it even more ecclesiastic and holy sounding. There are parts when the melodies from the synths are not in complete harmony with the guitars (which is most likely intentional), making the whole experience reach some psychedelically twisted and otherworldly heights. The fourth song features percussions besides the again very nineties (Cold Meat Industry era etc.) sounding synths, giving us a first song with clear rhythmical patterns rather than just pure improvisation. There is a very strong growing Prog Rock vibe coming through again halfway of the song.
The fifth song takes us into such deep spaces of the human inner cosmos, I haven’t experienced this kind of bliss in a while. Still sounding kinda like a mixture of eighties Tangerine Dream and an intro or outro of a nineties Atmospheric Black or Death Metal band, I am sitting in a planetarium of such proportions I am deeply amazed. Extremely cool vocal effects accompany the vintage keyboard-sounds in such a way you realize modern technology is never necessary in creating highly sophisticated and abyssial atmospheres. The vocal experimentation continues in the sixth song, using different layers of real and synthetic choirs and singing as instruments in the cool meaning of the word. The seventh song is a very ominous and eerie play of guitars, synth-sounds of bells, and a bit more drony ghosts and ghastly vocals, acting as a cool bridge towards the eight song and the end of the journey, which is a more melodic and beautiful piece of pianos, deep bassy sounds, jamming drums, and spoken vocals, ending the Pilgrimage in quite experimental and psychedelic feelings.
The album is mixed by none other than Dan Swanö, which may or may have affected the final outcome strongly, but nevertheless adds a very cool aspect to the general atmosphere of the release. A heartily recommended album to everyone into Ambient and Progressive soundscapes and mindsets.