KILN: Twinewheel
Division Sound

KILN isn't the most prolific group around (a six year gap separated its 2004 mini-album Sunbox and 1998's Holo), a reputation that the release of Twinewheel won't alter, as it too is a half-hour collection though one spanning nine years (note the subtitle Lost Sides + Dusty Gems, 1994-2005). And that's a shame because, in a better world, music of such exceptional quality and nuance wouldn't appear so infrequently.

Group members Kevin Hayes, Kirk Marrison, and Clark Rehberg III alchemize electroacoustic elements of post-rock, shoegaze, and ambient into atmospheres of textural opulence. The group sometimes records material live and then sculpts it into final form, which explains why pieces like “Autumnalae (leaf-pile divers)” exude both a live feel and fastidious character. Originally recorded in 1995 and then reconstructed five years later, “Ore Corymb (Bursting Rainbow Concourse)” comes close to post-rock though even here KILN distinguishes the material with an obsessive focus on minute detail. The song alternates between two styles: accompanied by a harmonica's wheeze, electric guitars jumpstart a swaying locomotor pulse in the first, while the second offers peaceful acoustic respite from the attack. (“Ero,” included on Ghostly International's 2003 Idol Tryouts comp and remastered in 2005, was initially intended as rebuild of “Ore Corymb”—hence the similarity between them.) On entrancing marvels like “Kilnplate” and “Amethyst,” KILN builds kaleidoscopic fields of sound from reverberant cymbal patterns and supple guitar textures while “Spheresong Improvisational 7jan96,” a rather meandering improv captured live to DAT at The Bestiary, showcases the lulling and tranquil dimensions of the trio's sound.

Despite stretching over a near decade-long period, the set holds together well, partially due to the group's penchant for revisiting and re-modeling material but also due to the consistent identity KILN has maintained throughout that span. Even though, cumulatively, the set's eight pieces feel less substantial than the five more elaborate constructions comprising Sunbox, Twinewheel is definitely worth a listen. But grab a copy soon ‘cos the vinyl-only release numbers 500, with 400 black and 100 coloured.

December 2005