From dark mystic locations to retrofitted future cities Kaval take the listener into their exotic alcove of murky analogue alleyways, dense minimal forest and synthesizer clouded motorways. A soundtrack of an unmade movie if you want, but more like a truly epic piece of electronics.
[Purchase] It has been a tumultuous three years for Berlin’s Das Dregmoment. After its acclaimed success with Dream Disco and Suicide Booth the label has lain dormant. With this the Das Drehmoment shop has closed its physical doors, focusing on the virtual consumer. After these ups and downs Das Drehmoment has returned to releasing form, adding something new to the roster. Kaval are a new Dutch outfit, but the two members have been making ripples in the electronic scene for years now. Ian Martin is an an artist with a deep, and sometimes desolate, take on electronics, releasing on the likes of Bunker Records, Strange Life Records and Further Records. With this, he is the man behind the dark assortment heard on Intergalactic FM’s SEER Radio. Roberto Auser shares a similar love of experimentation and the atmosphere of an analogue soundtrack. So what has this pairing produced with their début LP, Sky of Mirrors.
From behind their columns of vintage synthesizers and music boxes Kaval carve a new world. “August Night” transports the listener into a cerebral domain of cold clinks and bass. The notions of warm late Summer evenings is turned on its head, with Kaval blending subtle wind instruments and mechanic rhythm sections in this tribal piece. The record is mixed, meaning for some forty minutes of roaming without respite. “Chasing the Dragon” opens the jar of early synthesizer soundtracks. A dense fog descends as Kaval layer deep tones on the listener before melting into the the BBC Radiophonic Workshop feedback of “New Dimension.” Tape loops wind around each other to produce a David Lynch style paranoia, with electronic snippets being transformed into an writhing insect undergrowth. For those who thought this would be a friendly ambient excursion, they are mistaken. Kaval do not take your hand and guide your through their world; they leave you on their strange sonorous planet, pouring uncertainty into your path. “Poison of Madness” opens the flipside, seeing gentle synthesizer arches caressing an underbelly of static. The influence of Vangelis teases on the album, especially “Seance” which sounds like an out take from a city vista of L.A. 2019. It’s quite difficult to stay on top of track names with everything merging together, but this is what the record is; it lures the listener to and fro, the signposts reflecting inwards to confuse reference and location. “Blackspell” has a similar eclipsed cityscape feel to it, almost having a Tangerine Dream sense about it. The track is stretched and tormented into different shapes; giving up its melody into minimalism, returning in new disguises. This journey into Kaval comes to a close with “Time Flies.” A cathedral of echo and panic rises forth. Stabs of sound broach the sinister calm as whirls of the past blow through the chords. Static enters for the exit.
With the formidable duo of Auser and Martin there was little doubt that Sky of Mirrors could be anything more than an absolute cracker of an album. But, the LP goes beyond expectations. Kaval explore different scenarios and soundscapes. The pair browse like aural backpackers, choosing sounds from what appears to be an inexhaustible catalogue. From dark mystic locations to retrofitted future cities Kaval take the listener into their exotic alcove of murky analogue alleyways, dense minimal forest and synthesizer clouded motorways. A soundtrack of an unmade movie if you want, but more like a truly epic piece of electronics.