Kylmyys is Jason Chamberlain and Brian Kidd, two Seattle-based musicians who have jointly released a number of electronic and experimental recordings. Perhaps to retain an element of anonymity and obscurity, the duo often presents with bird-like masks that were commonly worn by medieval plague doctors. The mask is depicted in the cover-art of their half-hour EP “Isodope”, a fascinating album that includes six compositions of darkly beautiful ambient-industrial soundscapes.
“Glacial Transmissions” opens with whirling eerie signals that seemingly mimic ghostly voices transmitting into the ether. Digital pulses and shimmering synths soon follow, before a heavy bassline and glitchy, slow-tempo rhythm kicks-in. Painting a picture of a desolate urban setting, the composition is slightly unsettling yet strangely inviting, as it shifts and morphs along a foreboding path. Following in the footsteps of its cryptic shadows is “In the Shadow of the Raven”, a title that aptly brings to mind the gothic literature of Edgar Allan Poe. Easily my favorite piece on the album, I absolutely love the foggy nightscape it evokes along with its darkly sexy and dancy atmosphere, in which neon lights seem to shoot across the blackness. This composition, especially, bears similarities to both Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails with its processed and dimly-lit male voices, as well as its crunchy industrial beat. The bemusing “Melatonin Motion” features a rhythmically-odd time signature enhanced by its grinding bassline, along with echoing effects and minimalist textures that wouldn’t seem a bit out-of-place on an Aphex Twin album. “City Sunsets” jazzes things up a bit with an interspersed saxophone riff and underground appeal; the smoky atmosphere of this composition alludes to a late-night lounge tucked away somewhere along an urban alley. Swirling muffled tones, distorted synthesizer and quasi-organ sounds define “Best of a Bad Situation”, which seems to make its way through a creepy, bewildering funhouse. Finally, a ray of light pours through on “Polar Bear Blackfloat”, another favorite characterized by a looped electric guitar melody and dreamy chord progressions. Glistening textures which season this composition further offset its glitchy staccato beat, before a brief duration of static appropriately concludes the album.
Highlighting many aspects of dark-ambient, electro-industrial and IDM (‘intelligent dance music’), these innovatively-crafted and nonconformist song arrangements are beautifully surreal, like that of a Salvador Dali painting. The album is sure to have more niche appeal, particularly among those who enjoy some of the aforementioned artists and concurrent styles of music. As a listener who immediately took to it with much enthusiasm, “Isodope” deliciously serves up some of the best that the darker side of electronica has to offer!