The first time that I gave Konoyo a full listen was on its release day. Leah (another Tunnel of Trees author) and I had taken a high dose of mushrooms and swore that we would somehow formulate a review of this album through the confusion. To no surprise, this did not happen. However, the correlation between this vibrating, introspective record and my psilocybin trip were no less than cosmic. Now, with a much clearer head I sit back and enjoy the album for the second time, and the same messages still prevail.
The first two tracks, “This Life” and “In Death Valley”, introduce you to the darker side that is explored in the album. Piercing synth screeches through the steady whirl of warm undertones, giving immediate warning that this is a different beast than the rest of his albums. While he is usually known for layers upon layers, this album takes a more simplistic view towards ambience. The dissociated sounds and stabbing keys give off an immediate feeling of loneliness.
If “This Life” and “In Death Valley” were an introduction to darkness, the decrescendo into the third track is the acceptance of it. “Is a rose petal of the dying crimson light” settles us into the depths, Japanese flutes providing a feeling of acceptance and reflection. The shadows are soon cut through however by my personal favorite track: “Keyed Out”. A seamless fade takes us into a deep, resounding, low octave sound. This quickly changes as shrill synths begin to cut through the noise. This almost 10 minute track is soaked in feedback and discontent.
The second half of the album again reminds you of the depths at which these harsh sounds reside. Every track gives off a feeling of frustration and the inability to lift that weight on all of our chests. The somber violin chords of “A sodium codec haze” can draw tears. As we take one last dive into the chaos with harsh percussive sounds on “Across to Anoyo”, the despair comes to a finale. Eventually fading out with one last cry of synth, Konoyo closes on the same somber note we began.
Less dense than his former projects, majority of the songs on Konoyo take a straightforward approach to his usual full sound. On his previous record, Love Streams, his fascination with the meshing of live instruments and synthesizers shown through. With his most recent release, the beauty of woodwinds and strings fading in and out of pulsing synth provides all the depth needed for him to withdraw into simplicity.
All media is accredited to Tim Hecker
Photos used from Tim Hecker Bandcamp/Youtube