There is a bizarrely sweet meditative dissonance that flows through the seven pieces Kali has recorded for their album Riot. Evolving through musical and social interaction at weekly rehearsals over the past few years, the album is a collection of heavy minimal grooves, dark rhythmic spaces, and extemporaneous journeys with mystical sensibility drawn from progressive elements
Recorded in 2017 at Suburban Sound Studio by Manuel Egger, the album is available as a hi-res 96kHz / 24-bit download through their BandCamp page. Reviewed here is the hi-res FLAC download version.
The three musicians are spread widely and deeply across the stereo sound stage with plenty of ambience that lends to the spatial feel of the mix. As “Trope” opens the album, twinkling chimes patter rhythmically building with the remainder of the trio adding their parts. Nicolas Stocker’s drum work sits behind Urs Müller’s haunting guitars and Raphael Loher’s syncopated piano parts, while loosely thumping the kick drum, aiding in elevating the dynamics of the piece with sharp strikes on the snare.
The mix is extremely transparent, as evidenced by the spacious second track “Bist du ein Schmetterling?” which Google offers a English translation of “Are You a Butterfly?” Dynamics slowly evolve throughout the pieces, and the free form segments take to flight among the fresh composition. We have hit a stride in modern recording with distortion and noise free hi-res tracking and mixing, allowing for a near perfect representation of what musicians played and heard in the studio. From the lowest frequencies to the upper end there is a vivid clarity that seamlessly conveys the spirit of the music right into my listening space.
The title track “Riot,”sends me on an explosive journey with engines at full blast and sudden stops that find me cast into the vast realm of space floating away from the world below, only to plunge back in to the turmoil. It is pieces like this that demonstrate the necessity for high resolution audio which pushes far beyond the limits of the conventional 16-bit red book CD.
Riot continues to amaze with subtle characteristics such as the scratching and wheezing sounds on the fifth piece “Of.” The reverberant space is wonderfully open while the high notes on the piano sparkle, spreading into the wetness of the space.
I sense a complete freedom that breathes through these seven composed pieces which allow the musicians to follow their intuition. Most accessible for the daring listener and recommended for fans of improvisation and avant-garde jazz. A well defined hi-res recording that is a treat to collectors of high resolution stereo releases.