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OOIOO - Kila Kila Kila

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Artist: OOIOO

Album: Kila Kila Kila

Label: Thrill Jockey

Review date: Feb. 18, 2004


Existing as a fictitious band created for a photo shoot before they had ever even convened to rehearse or write material, Yoshimi P-We's OOIOO have soldiered on for the past few years since their conceptual inception, leaving behind a trail of albums, some available in this country (such as 2001's wondrous Feather Float) and some not. What started as an outlet for P-We to play guitar and sing as opposed to her drummer duties in the Boredoms (or perhaps I should say "the V•redoms") has since blossomed into a thriving vehicle of her own, one that cannot simply be constrained by the implications of a term like "side project."

While the group has always trafficked in the sort of sky-high psychedelica that's been mirrored somewhat by her main group's recent twists and turns, Kila Kila Kila (the group's first full-length for Chicago-based Thrill Jockey Records) seems to turn a bit from the sounds explored on previous efforts. Whether this stems from a newfound sense of dexterity with the quartet's instruments (only Yoshimi and drummer Yoshico - who also plays in Destined candidates DMBQ - had any prior musical experience to speak of) or a renewed interest in hippie aesthetics (think pot smoke and citing "the wind, earth, fire, and sunlight" as musical influences, and not any of the other ickier connotations) remains to be seen. Both possibilities point in the same general direction - a smoother, less forceful stride through some lengthy spaced out jams that seems more aptly described by "feather float" than any of the music on that album did.

This re-intensified sense of "other worldliness" is stated front and center throughout the initial tracks of the album. While "Ene Soda" is given over entirely to vocal chants and scattered sounds throughout, "Sizuki Ring Neng" picks up on these threads and elevates into the stratosphere. Beginning with clanking percussion and rnadom chants, the track picks up steam and centers itself on a steady rise of chiming and wah-wah guitars before climaxing in a wash of droning keyboards and thumping drums.

"On Mani" switches things up a bit, with Yoshimi setting her guitar aside in favor of steady trumpet lines while adding a swelling string section to contrast nicely against a skittering backbeat and a few jagged guitar lines, all culminating in a glorious haze of sound and melody. "Northern Lights", in contrast, changes things up a bit, focusing on the space left in between the twinkling guitar lines and gentle vocal groans - all in all sounding a bit more "free" than some of the territory OOIOO has thus ventured into, but no less joyous for the experiment.

The album closes with the brilliant one-two climax of "Aster" and "Anuenue Au." The former in this pairing rides a steady wave of guitar and voice-created drones before giving way to the warmth of the group chant as matched against more darting guitar notes. This is all before a beat drops back in, thus guiding the track in and out of some heavily psyched-out noise territory and a final shot of sound towards the heavens. The final track ties together the remaining threads of OOIOO's hour-long bliss-out, with cascading piano lines and familiar twinkling guitars running the gamut over some open-ended drum lines. And while none of this could remotely be considered "pop music" (even in the most expanded sense of that term) one would be hard-pressed to find a listener who considers the cymbal crashes, guitar drones, and other random sounds to be noisy and not uplifting in the least.

Kila Kila Kila then, while not a complete reinvention of the aesthetics OOIOO have pursued to this point, exists as a brilliant refinement of those sensibilities, one that adds a few new twists and turns to the arsenal that Yoshimi and company have already effectively utilized in the quest for the ultimate shimmering psychedelic bliss out. A lot of what's contained on this disc reaches for the transcendent and often attains that lofty goal. Even when it doesn't, though, it's still very much worth the listen.

By Michael Crumsho

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