Album Review – the Devin Townsend Project “Ki”

Much to my surprise, I was able to get my grubby little hands on Devin Townsend’s latest offering Ki a week early. I was debating even putting it on out of a notion that listening to an album leak early is basically like blowing your wad prematurely while fucking, but I digress. Submitting to my carnal urges can be quite healthy when done properly, and sometimes quick masturbation is adequate enough, although I’m usually one to hold and build before releasing all of that pent up energy, but again I digress. I’m currently on my 4th consecutive listen.

I knew going into this that the album would be a departure from anything Devin has done in the past. I was anticipating something along the lines of 2001’s Terria, mixed with a little Hummer/Devlab and some additional flavour styles mixed in, and that’s basically what this album is. He’s got a new line-up with him, with the exception of long-time Keyboardist Dave Young. The band is decidedly older than Devin himself, and it seems he was seeking individuals with significant musical maturity, players that could harness the delicate balance of sounds and perform significant dynamic shifts masterfully. This album accomplishes that feat. The record on a whole is largely experimental, and seems very relaxed, but we’re not talking about one of Devin’s ambient offerings here. This album has a distinct Progressive Rock and Metal feel to it at times, the songs ebb and flow, going from almost Pink Floydian passages to technical, progressive sections (albeit usually with clean guitar tones). I’m detecting a hint of Mark Knopfler influence as well, and Devin may have even have spun a few Elvis Presley records in his downtime over the last 6 months. Who knows?

I’m continuing to enjoy the album, with every listen I discover new, seemingly hidding sounds. It creates a very plush soundscape, and lyrically seems to describe a very serene, naturalistic environment, and experiences that quiet the mind and allow it to enter into healing, contemplative thought processes. I really enjoy the presence of the female vocalist on some tracks, Ché Dorval, whom has left a significant impression on the record. Her voice is very fitting and soothing and complements Devin’s tone nicely. It’s definitely a freely experimental album, with Devin not having to answer to any major label representative like so many artists do. He is free to do as he wishes with his music, and this is only the first part of a 4 part concept that he is developing, all to be released in 2009. I’ve ordered my copy of Ki on HevyDevy’s eBay store and I urge any fan to do the same and own a great piece of music, even for the casual listener, those not necessarily interested in Metal can enjoy this record. There are significant blues influences, and delicate ambient sections to enjoy. Very calming, a beautiful record.

4/5 stars

J

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