KILN: Dusker

The term ‘meticulous' finds its most perfect application in describing the music of KILN. Every element and moment of the group's full-length Ghostly debut, Dusker, is painstakingly considered, resulting in one of the most purely satisfying listening experiences in recent memory. The Michigan-based trio superficially invites an ‘instrumental rock' label, given the presence of bass, drums, and guitar in its music, but KILN's production and compositional sensibility aligns itself much more closely to dub, especially when the group's material is so radically transformed by electronic flourishes. KILN's music is primarily about purposeful flow and texture, with melody and extreme dynamic contrasts secondary.

Cataloguing the sum-total of manipulations in a given piece would fill pages; for brevity's sake, let's simply say the songs' insistent grooves hurtle forward amidst incessant swirls of tears, wipes, clicks, pans, and ripples, with such effects given further dimensionality when billowing echo is added to the mix. The opening four songs generally hew to the style of Sunbox—oceanically textured, bass-driven dubscaping (“Rustdusk” a perfect exemplar)—but a radical shift arrives with the fifth, “Airplaneshadows,” when pitter-pattering piano lines make the piece resemble a countrified shuffle as much as a prototypical KILN tune. Of course, the group's customary textural focus quickly emerges but the song's sunlit placidity comes as a startling yet refreshing change nonetheless. That entrancing mood carries on into the peaceful setting that follows, “Flycather,” and the equally arresting “Arq.” Dusker gradually pulls back towards the group's signature territory (clearly instantiated by a brief ‘rebuild' of “Airplaneshadows” titled “Korsaire”) with the panoramic guitar-based sweep of “Sunsethighway” and “Tigertail.” Nowhere is the group's attention to detail more evident than on this beautiful closer when soft ripples spill across the stereo field.

December 2007