Khuda – Iecava
“Two lads?! How? Throughout my first listen to the eight chunks of post/math/riffage presented here, that’s all I could focus on.”
Field Records continue their string of fantastic releases with the second full length from Leeds instrumental riff duo, Khuda.
Two lads?! How? Throughout my first listen to the eight chunks of post/math/riffage presented here, that’s all I could focus on. On Iecava, these two boys effortlessly lay down the layers and depth that could easily be expected of a more common three or four-piece setup, similar in strength to maybe God is an Astronaut, or Pelican. But with just two people making all the noise at once, seeing them live would most likely be impressive, if simply to see them pull it all off successfully. Of course, at opportune moments in tracks they always have the ability to easily strip back to basics, which enables them to bring the focus back to more simplistic elements of their songs.
Those songs themselves are instrumental, heavy and plodding, with layers of Tom Brooke’s delay-melodies and distorted post-metal riffs ebbing and flowing over technical and relentless drumming courtesy of Steve Myles. The tone of the music often gives the album a tense feel, like the constant building sans-drop of opener Seia, or the altogether strangeness of the tension-laced, yet somehow almost funky metal of Luka Mesto. Khuda‘s approach often seems to involve slowly increasing and decreasing tension, yet hardly ever resolving completely, always choosing to lead the listener into the next song instead. For example, title track Iecava begins with a drawn out and spacious intro, where layer after layer of tension is slathered over the top of the opening looped strumming of a single low note. Later, as the track progresses, it simply feels like a continuous progressive build up, more of a developing arrangement than a track with verses and choruses. When it finally reaches the triumphant final heavy chords of the crescendo, the tension is overbearing, and it ends suddenly leaving the listener perpetually on edge. Frustrating, yes, but clever work from Khuda, as it creates a definitive style for them whilst also straying away from the cliché traps and pitfalls of predictable joyous post-rock.
Following the tense title track, Haikyo stands out as one of my favourites, the ethereal ambient melodic loops providing some welcome respite with the feel of a slow midsection in a Russian Circles track, which is a great compliment in my eyes. It picks up the pace with a rhythmic switch up halfway through, where after a simple solid groove leads it out to its unexpected outro riff. Another highlight is final track Tyche, which does well to include some elements of an album closer, whilst keeping it fresh with some great drumming, some fairly stripped back sections, and some unexpected twists. Overall the album has a lot of goodness hidden in its depths, and somehow Field Records continue on their winning streak.
Khuda are nearly finished up part one of a seemingly infinite Europe-and-beyond touring schedule, which you can keep up with at khuda.tumblr.com. Through their bandcamp you can also hear Boreas, the second track from Iecava, to give you a taste of what’s in store.
Iecava is released July 11th on Field Records and August 8th on Cargo.