Calika :: Blelly (Abandon Building)

Calika lives comfortably between the realms of acoustic and electric, incorporating elements of both styles into tunes that have great groove and sonic depth, while still embodying a high level of experimentation and subtlety.

Calika, née Simon Kealoha, returns with Blelly, his seventh release, through Abandon Building. Musically, he lives comfortably between the realms of acoustic and electric, incorporating elements of both styles into tunes that have great groove and sonic depth, while still embodying a high level of experimentation and subtlety. There’s dissonance, glitch, post-rock, IDM, and more thrown into a vat and shaken, and somehow the resultant potpourri not only makes sense, but sounds good. At times, his melody resembles nothing so much as a cat haphazardly stepping on a xylophone, but it sounds excellent, and shifts without warning into a calculated and marvelous refrain, navigating deftly alongside a heavily modulated rhythm section, with a scattering of blips and crackles stippled over it all like so many glowing fireflies. It adds up to a fantastic record overall.

One of the nice things about Blelly is that it boasts fairly short tracks which flow into one another quite fluidly. The album in its entirety ends up being a very smooth listen, broken evenly by the cleverly-named “Halfway to Empty” which, at its opening, sounds like a futuristic alarm, which carries through consistently through the tune as an odd background drone. It enters and exits the song subtly, but adds a tension and dissonance, until the song kicks in, and our futuristic vehicle is traveling full-speed, and digging in with a great melody and some interesting LFO modulation. The last track, appropriately named “Off,” opens like a carousel that is winding to an eerie halt, and takes its time in moving toward its excellent melodic growth. Electric and acoustic guitars bring up an energetically ascending theme, which repeatedly promises to drop into a groove complete with rockin’ rhythm section, but leaves the listener thirsty, before descending into a deconstruction of itself, climbing back down into its roots, and reminding the listener of that alarm sounding at “Halfway to Empty.” With Blelly, Calika has a record that will stay at the top of my recently played list for a while.

Blelly is available on Abandon Building.

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