It’s been a while since we premiered something bizarre from the greater NYC area. Something in the water there (excellent water in NYC, don’t you know) appears to make artists want to take metal and jazz and violently smash them together. From acts like Stimpy Lockjaw through Kayo Dot and Imperial Triumphant, the theatrical, the dense, and the macabre seem to spin in a wild dance of musicality within the Five Boroughs. Kilter are another twisted step in this dance. Featuring the aforementioned Imperial Triumphant’s drummer alongside frenetic saxophones and voluminous bass, Kilter made a kind of music that can only be described as “what if Colin Stetson with a dash of psychoactive drugs”. Throw in guest spots from one Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry, Meshuggah) and Andromeda Anarchia (DARKMATTERS) and you have yourself one hell of a package. Interested? You should be. Head on down below to stream the whole thing ahead of its release this Friday.
Uuuhhh, where do we even begin? Maybe on “Out of Kilter” and the electronic, augmented, and haunting whirlwind between the bass, saxophones and drums which it represents. The track seems to paint with shadows, spinning the three instruments around a common core of faintly disturbing illumination. While the bass scrapes the bottom of the register, a deeper and darker tone is used for the saxophone to echo and amplify it. The drums, mainly with crashing cymbals, paints a filigree of rhythm above this, keeping the track moving forward. And as if this wasn’t enough, abrasive vocals of in at least three different registers and variants assail our ears. The style used reminds is very much of the avant-garde persuasion, channeling the dramatic tropes and structures of the genre.
The end result is quite like the rest of the album; dense, heavy in an experimental sense, and decidedly off-putting in tone and character. Kilter is a fantastic name for the project, as their approaches to their basic sound keep you constantly off-balance. In other parts on the album they erupt into full on breakdowns, jazzy interludes, ambience, big band patterns, and more. The overall atmosphere, like all the projects we mentioned above, is off unbridled energy and unrestrained creation which is what we go to avant-garde for. AXIOM has that wild, drunken, free feeling in droves, unafraid to push its composition and execution to their limit. We’d of course be remiss if we didn’t mention the last track, “Spherical Bastards”, which features Nilsson substantial shredding techniques. It’s also a great example of the far-reaching approach of the album, channeling Nilsson’s guest spot into its weird energy before dissolving into caustic static at the very outset of the album, a fitting send off if there ever was one for this unsettling release.
AXIOM releases this Friday, February the 28th. You can head on over here to pre-order it.