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Every now and again you’re fortunate enough to discover a rare and beautiful jewel in the musical wilderness and the debut album from Gothenburg quintet Koi is most certainly one. Starting out originally as a metal band, and then realising the advantages of not being restricted by musical boundaries, Koi’s music can loosely be described as ‘prog’ which, yes, is a broad and overly used term, but what they’ve essentially done is create their own entirely unique and fresh approach to the genre, taking some apparent elements of inspiration from perhaps the likes of Opeth, Pain of Salvation and Porcupine Tree, adding it to exceptional musicianship, writing and song-structure and ending up with one of the most intriguing and addictive albums I’ve heard since Leprous’ ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ and Riverside’s ‘Out of Myself’. I think it’s also a telling sign, in this i-Pod age of listening to music on-the-go or whilst you’re busying yourself with something, when you feel utterly compelled to actually sit down with a decent pair of headphones, give an album your full attention for its duration and really immerse yourself in it, which is exactly what ’In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday’ compelled me to do; and seriously, it’s well worth it. Opening track ‘The Rabbit’ sets the scene for the album perfectly, with its exquisitely lush, multi-layered and almost shoegaze-esque wall of sonic tapestry, leaving you instantly hooked, as it slowly fades into ‘Woodnote’, a gentler track with multiple vocal harmonies and cello that broods and morphs into a later heavier section with chugging polyrhythmic guitars overlaying delicate keyboard and cello. The subtle variation of styles between the songs on this album and the way they effortlessly weave and flow from section to section and from song to song is truly quite astounding for a debut, and clearly demonstrates not only the high standard of musical proficiency within the band, but also their understanding of songwriting and album creation as an art form in itself. This is perhaps most evident with the initially stark, simple, yet extremely evocative ‘In A World Of A Child’s Mind’, an echoey piano-led piece, overlaid with delicate, fragile vocals and cello, after which sits the heavier ‘Breaking of the Day’, with its almost black metal feel two thirds of the way through, with blast beats and fast picked heavily distorted guitars; and on paper, such a disparate variation in styles probably should not work, but as they maintain the essence of their own style and album style throughout, neither seems out of place. The album ends with a minute-long multi-tonal feedback loop, which may sound an odd way to end such an album but, trust me, it works perfectly, and you could interpret its meaning in a number of ways, but it’s certainly provides a thought-provoking and unique way to end the album. Melancholic it is, but in a hopeful and entrancing way, ‘In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday’ is quite simply a beautiful piece of subtely complex musical art which provides you with more insight into its layers with each listen, and an album that I doubt I will ever tire of. Easily up there with my top 5 albums of 2010, this comes highly recommended and you won’t regret buying it. Koi are destined to go a long way.
Progress Records
Review by Hannah Sylvester
24th August 2010
1) The Rabbit
2) Woodnote
3) Terminal Souls
4) Navigated to the Blank Undrawn
5) In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday
6) In A World of a Child’s Mind
7) Eventide
8) Breaking the Day
9) Metamorphosis
10) Swaying to Sleep
11) Less Than Abstract
"...a beautiful piece of subtely complex musical art which provides you with more insight into its layers with each listen..."