KYRON x GRIDDLE - "City Made of Teeth"
(Black Note Music 2008)
From Aural Innovations May 2009 update
First some basic facts: Kyron is a project of one (JC Mendizabal) who according to the liner notes has constructed this entire album from the sampling/remixing of one single tune ("City Made of Teeth") by the band Griddle (originally from their album Klimty Favela). I have not heard this song, but I'm guessing it's either 1.quite the epic track or 2.quite the BUSY track...and hey, probably there's additional production from Kyron. I won't be able to critique the album based on any of these facts and speculations, so here's a rundown of the mere sound artifacts (and packaging).
These titles help to evoke the general mood here...theoretically you're probably meant to imagine a surreal and often frightening vision of the skeleton of a post-apocalyptic metropolis, with its fallout a morphing of dead humanity melted down with the various industrial debris. On the other hand, other titles like "Tooth & Nail", "Dentata Maxima" and "Bicuspid Jitterbug" might lead one to suspect there's some "tongue in cheek" (ooph!!) at work as well. (Though "Tooth & Nail" in this context could also be a symbol of the merging of organic and technological elements in such an afterworld).
The music is fairly rhythm-driven, heavy during the band parts with slow doomy drums, interspersed with more electronic pieces that are glitchy at times though never overboard on the avant-erratic side of things, rarely bordering on the dancy, all pretty much welded together piece by piece, and intermittently haunted by the quiet stoic female chant of the album's main vocal line: "In the City Made of Teeth, that's where I will lay my body down...". And yet, as compelling as this concept is, the purely musical aspect of this album really isn't much to rave about: there's very little we haven't really heard. The intent is there, but somehow most of it comes across as bland and academic; for lack of a better word, there's not much actual "oomph!" here, the part that makes the brain and body tingle. The parts that should frighten or intrigue don't quite suck you in, it's more like just watching from the outside. I can appreciate how "Scratch & Bite" reprises and cuts up the title-track, but more as an exercise than anything.
Still, there are a couple gems hidden in the rubble that make my cut, such as the really cool passage of "Zahnestadt", the above-mentioned lone vocal being looped, faded in/out and impressively counterbalancing a moody drum groove with quietly spaced keyboards...there's a sense of originality here and it feels good, too. "Dentata Maxima" gets a pretty good thing going, with some extra voice samples and nice programmed percussives that create a higher energy and more authentic atmosphere. Now the closer - "Beyond City Walls" is a great wrap-up and conceptually I take it as some sort of escape from or even transcendence of the dead/decadent state, the voices morphing/hyperspacing from the corporeal to a pure electronic buzzing...various other synth tones and far-out wails round out this beautifully spaced rhythmic collage. It's hard to say anything negative after this track...you may have your own favorites...I just can't recommend this album on the whole.
Check out the project web site at: http://www.deconstructionist.com/blacknote/kyronx.htm
Reviewed by Chuck