KTL: V

KTL: V
Editions Mego (2012)

For those new to KTL’s world, treat yourself to V‘s subtle, deliciously ethereal drones and creepy electronics. For everyone else, what’s astonishing about V is how far Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehberg have lept from the niche they’d constructed for themselves as collaborators.

Last time I wrote about KTL they were a dark and abrasive beast but V has traded in the Industrial ambiance of earlier releases. No more thwarted guitars or crunchy electrical disarray. The stark atmosphere has been given a burst of warmth. These days KTL deal in full bodied and organic sounding drones, embellished with faint samples and gentle guitar work. It’s easy for music this restrained to sound forced and laborious but O’Malley and Rehberg have enough control over this simple palette to ensure things remain invigorating. The tracks become more complex as the album progresses, climaxing with the second last number Phil 2 featuring the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. What a fucking cracker this track is; a shape shifting collage of sustained notes vibrating out of a brass section, the trombone making your bowls quiver.

Unfortunately V is spoilt by the closing number Last Spring: A Prequel, a 20-minute French spoken-word dirge that comes off self indulgent and completely at odds with the rest of the record. Without it, I’d almost call V a masterpiece. Even so, it’s amazing how KTL have transformed themselves from darkness into some sort of light. If their previous albums were the sound of disused torture chambers, than V is the morbidly romantic visual of watching flowers wither and die in slow motion.

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