Brooklyn psych improvisers Rhyton jammed their way through a rushed-sounding self-titled 2012 debut, offering up choppy edits of slightly Middle Eastern-flavored guitar leads and droning rock rhythms. The album felt a little vague and directionless, with playing that was just fine, but lacking any easily identifiable purpose. A second album, The Emerald Tablet, followed later that year and saw guitarist Dave Shuford focus a bit more on feedback frenzies of electric mandolin over its three expansive improvisations. Third album Kykeon delivers on some of the inspiration that was lacking on their debut and hinted at with the wandering ways of The Emerald Tablet. Still free-form in nature and often floating in the nebulous lands between improvisation and structured composition, the six tunes that make up Kykeon are clearer and more direct. Songs like "Pannychis" build off of an unexpectedly funky backbone, bass grooves and strutting drums offering a foundation for laid-back bouzouki leads and buried, gurgling vocalizations. Like Can in a particularly Greek frame of mind, the tune breaks down from its greasy groove into an abrupt shift to half-time marked by clouds of fuzzy organ that build back into a psychedelic freakout as the song continues. The stoned grooving continues on the noisy "California Black Box Vapors" but cools off some for the pressure-cooker riffing of droning closer "The Striped Sun." Every instrument rises out of the murk on Kykeon, bringing even the squalls of electronic noise that begin the album out of the middling fidelity of earlier albums. More versatile and more deliberate, this new set of tunes sees Rhyton finding their collective voice more than ever before.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas