There’s a particular quality to the best music that can only be described as a kind of ethereal comfort. Music where the sound seeps into your bones and around your skin, enveloping you like a cloud and allowing you to drift off into another world for a little while inside your head. It’s not common, no, but there are some records that do that for me, and no doubt for you too dear reader. When it happens, it’s a blissful thing. Kairon;IRSE! know all about this unnameable effect , and over the last decade or so they’ve mastered the knack of producing it.
We last heard from these Finns on 2017’s tower of strength Ruination, a minor masterpiece showcasing a seamless blend of prog, shoegaze and possibly the greatest bass sound ever committed to tape. They took elements, you knew in your heart should fit together, even though no-one had really managed it, and finally made it work. It’s been a long wait to see where they’d land after that sprawling musical journey.
Polysomn arrives with no small amount of anticipation to those already hitched firmly to the Kairon wagon. First single An Bat None indicated they weren’t going to steer us wrong, leaning perhaps in a more succinct direction but not compromising the ecstatic nature of their previous work. It’s safe to say that first taste wasn’t a fluke, and that Polysomn is another absolute beauty. Strangely though the song lengths are more concise, it’s perhaps not as instant as Ruination on first listen, coming across as a slightly more textural effort, but before you know it, you’re firmly sucked into its orbit. Once you’re in you won’t want to escape.
You’ll notice I used the words ‘blissful’ and ‘ecstatic’ back there; these are the two most apt words that I can use to convey the feeling captured on Polysomn. It’s a record that you feel, if played at the correct volume, might somehow cause you to physically levitate. The airy timbres of the instrumentation leave you feeling weightless. Guitars and synths smear and blur into each other, surreal and oneiric but never anything less than euphoric. It’s deceptively breezy music, but there are so many layers of sound at work, so many little details. To make music this dense feel so spacious is no mean feat.
Kairon; IRSE! have produced possibly the most uplifting and exciting set of songs you’ll hear crawl from this strange underground rock ‘n’ roll world of ours this year…
The songs on Polysomn are timeless in a couple of senses. There are occasional nods to the past – instrumental Hypnogram feels like it could have strolled in from an 80s Genesis album had Collins and co necked a handful of pills to add to the magic – but somehow everything feels like it’s from the future. This collision of familiarity with the utterly unexpected is the kind of psychedelia that feels far more exciting and genuine than simply rehashing the past with some fuzz and wah pedals. However Polysomn feels timeless also in the sense that it gives one the feeling of stopping time, freezing the world around you. You’ll find yourself listening on repeat for hours without realising. Trust me. I’ve lost days to this record.
From the lilting hypnagogia of Mir Inoi to the driving White Flies (which marries that fantastic bass sound to some glistening key/guitar phrase in one of the albums many highlights), regardless of what tempo or angle the songs take, Kairon invest everything with a sense of elation. Go back to An Bat None again as a prime example, from the sun shower keyboards intro and angelic vocals through to the moment when they knuckle down behind the bass and drums for a buzzsaw climax. It’s epic, yet condensed into pop song form and delivered with a sense of wonder. When they hit full cosmic reverie on the stunning Altaãr Descends – well, that warm fuzzy feeling I described at the start will have you in its full grasp by then.
Kairon; IRSE! have produced possibly the most uplifting and exciting set of songs you’ll hear crawl from this strange underground rock ‘n’ roll world of ours this year. Thoughtfully crafted and an absolute feast for the ears, it feels like a case study of dreams as alluded to by the title, and marries substance to their style. An absolute tonic of a record.
Scribed by: Jamie Grimes