Last time I played KYO it was around their 2016 tape Potentiel Musik (reviewed here), again on Denmark’s Posh Isolation. I remember back then the music of the duo Hannes Norrvide (Norin, Lust for Youth) and Frederik Valentin sounded really interesting. Without a doubt, it was skillfully written, challenging, and strange, but pretentious in a way. Now, after an LP I seem to have skipped, KYO are back on the Danish imprint with a new full-length.
The first major change for KYO is that they are now utilizing track titles…
Now, seriously, I Musik really sees the duo kind of reinventing their sound. The fragmentary, eclectic, and slightly chaotic approach to picking the right sound sources (and instruments) is still here, but slightly washed down by the more dominant synth side of the album and its general lo-fi vibe.
Again, here are the layers of field recordings, speech samples, and sporadic piano patterns, but so are warm and old-school drum machine beats, warm pads, and synth leads. However, those are so perfectly built within the sound KYO have been established so far that you won’t necessarily hear them as a new step or direction. They do feel like an organic shift (or expansion) towards new means of expression. Overall, if so far KYO has been the strange kid in the Posh Isolation family, then with I Musik, they have made a few steps so they can fit better the sound we well know the label for—with all the pros and cons that might come to your mind about this.
Processed and sampled voices have also found their way into the album, alongside more conventional, almost dream-pop-structured tracks like ‘Johanna’ and ‘Windbreaker’. In I Musik, you’ll find even epic soundtrack-esque tension-focused tracks like ‘Snap’ and the lushly ambient ‘Data Carriers’. It all makes sense in the LP, but the further you get into it, the more distance is drawn between the old and new KYO. It’s a change, which will surely drag more people along. But I hope that the means of what used to be a pretty fucked up and avant-garde electro-acoustic experiment of a project don’t get too washed in the future, because Posh Isolation are surely keeping a steady rate of publishing records and a moment will come when we’ll have a difficult time differentiating the sound of it all in the same way a newcomer to their catalog will surely get lost in this endless family affair of side-projects.
A1) Universal Audio
A3) Darkblue Seagrey
A4) Life Digest
A5) Adding Patterns
B1) Urban Tactical
B4) Data Carriers