Meadow:Watt is an apt title for Kiln's second LP with Ghostly International. The meticulous commingling of warm, organic textures and modern electro-manipulation have been the band's hallmark for over a decade as they've evolved from creating long, ambient tone pieces to the more rhythmic works explored on their 2007 release Dusker. They have a knack for distressing sounds made naturally and for naturalizing what is synthetic, resulting in a modern production that always manages to retain a certain earthy glow. Throughout the album, guitar and synth tones appear then gently burn out across the wide sonic landscape as bits of unidentified percussion crackle and buzz like some malfunctioning digital bonfire. Always detail-oriented, Kiln are a band who rewards those wearing headphones, adding subtle layers throughout their songs which might be missed on a more casual listen. Like sunshine during a rain shower, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact mood and climate of this album which is occasionally confusing, but which is also part of its charm. Like some sort of malleable sonic cloud, its atmosphere adapts to your mood as much as it helps to alter it. Much like the band who created it, there is a certain aura of mystery surrounding the music and it requires some effort and time on the part of the listener to reveal its personality and engage with it. Kiln are not a pop band, and the nine songs here are subtle and slow to develop. Still, Meadow:Watt is decidedly more melodic than much of the band's previous output and it finds purchase with buoyant tracks like "Pinemarten" and "Acre," which hum and thrum along dreamily peppered with odd little found sounds and carefully placed guitar riffs. Amid the tranquil beats and gentle lulls are some truly beautiful moments resulting in a very complete, if enigmatic album. Lovingly crafted and skillfully made, Meadow:Watt is a subtle but ultimately engaging work in the ever-evolving arc of Kiln's career.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger