mon 15/07/2024

Album: Kiiōtō - As Dust we Rise | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Kiiōtō - As Dust we Rise

Album: Kiiōtō - As Dust we Rise

Jazz-tinged union of the former lynchpins of Lamb and Urban Cookie Collective

Kiiōtō's 'As Dust we Rise': Marianne Faithfull seems to be an unacknowledged presence

As Dust we Rise ends with “Quilt,” a percussion-driven lamentation bringing to mind the New Orleans stylings of Dr. John. The album begins with “Hem,” where stabbing piano and strings interweave with a pulsing, wordless chorale. After a while, a muted trumpet and pattering wood blocks fill it out.

In between, odd suggestions of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For the Devil" (“Here Comes the Flood”), a spectral, twinkling ballad (“The Sea”), a sharp, skip-along, clockwork-toy of a track (“Ammonite,” one of the album's most electronica-inclined cuts) which could fit snugly into the soundtrack of Jean-Pierre Jeunet film.

Some specific pointers are present. “Song For Bill” is inspired by jazz pianist Bill Evans. “Ammonite” springs off from the story of the 19th-century palaeontologist Mary Anning. The lyrics of “Josephine Street” are filled with impressions of the New Orleans neighbourhood in which the street is located. Less explicitly, Marianne Faithfull seems to be an unacknowledged presence: she is often, presumably unwittingly, evoked by Kiiōtō's vocalist – at odd moments, “Josephine Street” seems about to break into “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.”

The creators of As Dust we Rise are Lou Rhodes, the former singer of the jazzy, slightly folky, trip hop-adjacent duo Lamb, and Rohan Heath, founder of the hip hop/soul-infused dance outfit Urban Cookie Collective. Both came to prominence in the 1990s. Both sprang from Manchester’s music scene. This is their first collaboration.

As Kiiōtō, they have made an album which, considering their backgrounds, is more overtly jazzy than might be expected and closer to Lamb than Urban Cookie Collective. It is also – despite Rhodes’ sometimes untrammelled singing – measured. The care taken in its creation is palpable. Less deliberation and more recklessness may have given As Dust we Rise greater impact.

@MrKieronTyler

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