Ektoise is a band the combines organic instruments such as guitar, violin, saxophone, and piano with electronic elements. It’s truly a beautiful thing to see this done well because when done well - it’s transparent. It’s not like you are listening to two separate things. You are listening to one entity, to one composition that conveys the music and transfers what matters to the listener - the emotion. I remember when I first heard the Notwists Neon Golden and was taken back that they were able to seamlessly meld electronic and organic instruments. Although Ektoise does not write pop music they do have the same ability to mix the two so well it’s as if they always had a symbiotic relationship. Ektoise released Kiyomizu back in 2011 and it is an epic, original and absolutely eclectic mix of songs that should not be unheard.
Let’s start with the opener “The Shoreline By Morning” which is a gorgeous song that starts with fluttering electronics, violin and scattered piano. The music is eventually drenched with a wave of white noise not unlike Glide from Fennesz. What was very different however was the explosion that comes with the drums that move the song to epic proportions. The song eventually melts away from its awesomeness leaving the piano to be left alone. The next two songs were good but didn’t hit me as hard as “State Vector Collapse” which is an utterly, original song with elements of glitch that are executed with complex timing as well as having an industrial type feel. The song was a bit frightening and I loved every second of it. It sounded as if I had just stepped into an insane asylum. “Venerandum” was an excellent avant-garde ambient composition that was incredible to listen to on a pair of hi-fi headphones. This is a meticulously thought-out composition that has a lot of changes of moments of beauty other artists would be jealous over. The song is like a three-piece act and by the end you might not know how you arrived but you will be glad you did. The album ends with “Down River” which is another original ambient composition that sounds like nothing else before it. Bottom line is that this album is a borderline masterpiece and should be a must for fans of ambient, experimental compositional music, and just about any other genre that is out. At this this point you should stop reading this review and start listening.
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