Kyu : Kyu
When I first encountered Alyx Marwood and Freya Berkhout they were just playing around with some old quirky equipment and making pretty songs because it was fun and they liked working together. With the release of their first full-length album, one can’t help but wonder whether anyone thought that a casual friendly project would ever become this incredible, blissful, epic record that showcases the incredible talents of two very impressive young musicians.
This is an effervescent, refreshing album – not only because it feels like a waterfall splashing on your face in the middle of a rainforest – but because it comes from a set of influences that are very different to your standard indie fare. This Sydney duo draw not only from Animal Collective, Bjork, Cocorosie, Sigur Ros and other ethereal, crystalline music, but with one half being classically trained and one half addicted to world music, the harmonies, rhythms and ideas in this album have a unique tribal flavour.
Warm bass drones underscore their harmonies in fifths with echoing notes, glassy vibes and big organic percussion contrasting some electronic sounds.
Adding to a mix of diverse musical influences is a playful curiosity for new technology, which has allowed Kyu to lace some incredible electronic beats and samples through their contrastingly organic melodies and harmonies.
Between the pounding joyfulness of the floor tom and the flawless singing from the two girls, this album is easily empowering and inspiring. From Sistar, the first vocal track, it’s very clear that these girls are also talented vocally. Their alternately strong and gossamer tones stand out in a world where real vocal talent and innovation is becoming increasingly rare and timbres are all somewhat similar.
Their lyrics also paint delicate pictures, but the very sound of their voices is enough to make you shiver – as is showcased on the delicate and stripped-back Cyathea Anintae, all acoustic guitar and glittery glockenspiel. The following Pixiphony and Trains stand out as the key tracks, as well as the now somewhat famous Sunny In Splodges – their first song which garnered them some serious attention while unassumingly sitting on a bare Myspace page. And now, welcome to iTunes front page.
Produced with finesse, this self-titled debut seamlessly weaves organic and electronic elements together, and the result may as well be the weaving together of the fabrics of the night sky – it’s cosmic, uplifting and positively sparkling.
Kyu self titled album Kyu is out now through Spunk/EMI Records.