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KTL

KTL

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Album Review

Prior to stumbling upon the project's debut release, how many people are likely to know the work of both artists who formed KTL? Not so many, probably, since they come from such different music circles. Note the last word: circles. They work in different fields, but their music is highly compatible, as KTL reveals. Guitarist Stephen O'Malley is one half of black metal extremists Sunn 0))). Peter Rehberg is the computer music maverick known as Pita, pioneer of glitch music and sculptor of harsh digital sounds. The two of them started working together for a theater production by Gisèle Vienne and Dennis Cooper, Kindertotenlieder. The label's press release emphatically stresses the point that KTL the album is not that production's soundtrack but a separate project (although the abbreviation would stand for Kindertotenlieder). The album delivers 77 minutes of electricity-packed soundscapes. The four-part "Forest Floor" is a sonic assault of digital textures and fast-strummed guitar chords moving up and down the neck. The piece is very dark and relentless, but it remains bearable. After all, KTL do not stack up the decibels into a wall of sound like, say, Merzbow. Instead, faithful to Sunn 0)))'s m.o., the duo's music is very active in the low end and rarely goes up screaming in the high end. "Forest Floor" (40 minutes in all) is sandwiched between two quieter tracks. The opening "Estranged" (25 minutes) features Rehberg rumbling in the sub-bass register while O'Malley occasionally cuts through with short interventions on guitar, more in a free improv style. The concluding "Snow" (13 minutes) is even more unusual: Rehberg sticks to quiet ambient textures, while O'Malley plays some delicate feedback and prepared guitar, evoking the ghost of Derek Bailey taking hold of Thurston Moore's body. Overall, that track leans more toward Rehberg's usual sound world, while the rest of the album bears more resemblance to Sunn 0)))'s universe. KTL is a long-winded effort, but this unlikely association has yielded worthy fruits. ~ François Couture, Rovi

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