Kayo Dot is one of those bands that truly defies genres. The music is all over the place but of forced to categorize it, I’d call it experimental free-rock. It’s just hard to really describe. I started getting into them simply because they are on the Hydra Head roster. On a whim, I picked up their third album, Blue Lambency Downward, and hated it. Yup. I could not get into it at all. It didn’t make sense. There was no typical structure to the music and songs. I didn’t get it enough that I blasted it a bit on a review I did for Mammoth Press. But after some time passed, I went back and listened to the album again and was hooked. I was able to understand what it meant. And it was good.
In 2009 Kayo Dot released Coyote. The album initially started as a collaborative effort between KD main musician, Toby Driver, and NYC-based writer, filmmaker, and video artist Yuko Sueta. Unfortunately the collaboration came to a halt due to Sueta passing away from breast cancer. Driver decided to finish the project as Kayo Dot album and dedicated it to Sueta.
The album was released by Hydra Head but the vinyl was handled by Taiga Records. I have known of Taiga and dealt with label owner, Andrew, on a few occasions. The first time was when the label released a deluxe vinyl version of Lotus Eaters – Mind Control for Infants. Let’s just say that the way the releases are packaged and done, they are well worth the money. And then some.
On the Taiga site, they wrote about the Coyote release:
“Originally released on CD by Hydra Head in Spring 2010, TAIGA records now presents the deluxe vinyl version of Kayo Dot’s melodramatic masterpiece “Coyote.” The album was mastered for vinyl by Mell Dettmer, cut direct to metal and pressed on 200g virgin vinyl with full-color labels featuring artwork by Toby Driver. The LP features alternate artwork from the CD version and is packaged in custom letterpress materials as an edition of 750. Printed on 200lb art paper, the letterpress jacket has notches at the opening where the ends of a 28 x 7 inch belt tuck in. The belt has more of Driver’s art printed in offset full-color on the inside with letterpress printing on the outside.”
The total pressing of 750 is broken down as 100 transparent yellow / 250 opaque cyan / 400 black.
I picked up the yellow one (as you can see from the pics) and it is definitely YELLOW. And awesome!
The album is a bit more structured musically than prior releases but still retaining that “free-rock” vibe and feel to it. It has a very somber ambience to it. According the Wikipedia, “The lyrics and story were constructed with deliberate melodrama to pay homage as well to the intended gothic vibe, expressing the protagonist’s loneliness and longing to be in a better place, and her journey through her own personal looking-glass through a hallucinatory world of fear and wonder.” Yeah, I can dig that.
Overall this is another bang-up job by Taiga. Not that I expected anything less than awesome. The vinyl itself is nice and heavyweight. The jacket is simple but done in an artful manner. And the biggest and most impressive aspect to me is the custom letterpress. It makes the album truly feel like a work of art visually and sonically. Which it really is.
Can’t wait for when they do the Lotus Eaters – wurmwulv 2xLP which is already in production according the Taiga blog.