Boomkat Product Review:
Unique, engrossing room recordings of Kaliff pipe organ dirges played by composer, sound technician and multi-instrumentalist Kali Malone, released earlier on in the year on a super limited tape run and now finally pressed up on vinyl for wider public consumption. Very little we’ve heard in 2018 has affected us as much as this elusive, magical record.
In four pieces recorded at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, it’s the characteristics of the room itself that add a crucial dimension to these pieces, sounding worlds away from the cavernous reverb associated with church acoustics. Instead, these dry recordings bring out all the fragile warmth and intimacy that’s rarely associated with this multi-faceted, sacred instrument. Removed from its traditional, godly environment - the effect is startling.
The magick also lies in Kali's capacity to produce rich, swirling, gaseous overtones. There’s a preternatural sensitivity toward these peripheral sounds, coaxing intoxicating spectrums of quivering hi-register fluctuations and sonorous bass at a pace that draws the listener in and seems to reduce everything around to a meditative serenity.
Organ Dirges stands in a line of records borne out of serendipity rather than any planned, grandiose gesture. Recorded more or less off the cuff over just a few days onto a portable zoom, it’s a testament to Kali’s compositional instinct that these 4 pieces sound so resolved and purposeful. Every small detail sounds intentional without being controlled, right down to the almost unbearably moving disintegration at the very end of closing piece 'Fifth Worship’, like a slow descent into darkness.
It’s interesting to note that Organ Dirges was first played at a huge iron mine, the acoustics once again altering the perception of these alchemical pieces. Indeed, we can attest to the contrasting experience we’ve had playing this record in different spaces - on headphones, quietly at night in small rooms, loud on monitors in large spaces - always revealing something new, always transporting us somewhere else.
An incredible, uncanny record.