Paatos - Kallocain

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Inside Out
Catalog Number: IOMCD169/ IOMSECD169
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:29:00

Kallocain is an unusual CD - and that in itself is always good. There's no question that its unconventional sound explores some of progressive music's boundaries. But is different the same as good?

I found I was able to quickly form an opinion of this music, and it isn't hard to describe, even though it doesn't fit into most known molds. The band refers to their music as "melancholy post-rock." The most memorable sound here is Petronella Nettermalm's singing. It is ephemeral, whispered in the high ranges and very elegant, and it seems that everything else revolves around those vocals. Add a very deep bass percussion sound, programmed-sounding drumming and bass and double-bass lines that are deep but simple and you have Paatos's signature sound. It is unusual but works very well.

The guitar work is extremely simple, and welcome texture is sometimes added by keyboards, including Mellotron, synthesizer, Hammond and an all-too-rare piano. Large tracts of the music tend toward the minimalist style although there are a few nice walls of sound.

The 9 tracks span 51 minutes and range from 4- to 7-minutes, and the songs stand alone with little to tie them together other than that unusual Paatos style. Some songs, like "Gasoline," have an avant-garde quality to them. A dominant violin plays an unusual, almost dissonant melody that strings throughout almost the entire track. The deep, heavy bass and percussion lines contrasting with that soft, high singing, the tantric build up, pull back and build up - with that violin leading every new attack ? very interesting. Track 5, "Look At Us," starts softly - with some elegant piano work and a deep, simple cello line in the background. Toward the end a Mellotron and the full rock instrumentation set build up to a wonderfully rich sound Then other songs like "Holding On" and the pun-titled "Absinthe Minded" border on pop. A simple melody whispered in the high notes, what sounds like programmed percussion, straightforward bass and guitar lines ? very linear.

Production isn't Kallocain's strongest point, with the deep bass lines often crowding out the guitar and keyboards. This is a surprise, considering that the mixing was handled by Steven (Porcupine Tree) Wilson, who is usually known for being something of a perfectionist.

Kallocain is unusual, which is always a recommendation in our genre of music. There are some excellent tracks, and some that are nice but won't challenge the progressive mind - although you still can't help liking them. I found it to be very enjoyable for a few close listens, then it became one of the better pieces of music to play while I'm working. More than background music, but less than captivating.

Released in North America by InsideOut Music America

Gasoline (5:55) / Holding On (5:00) / Happiness (5:20) / Absinth Minded (4:49) / Look At Us (5:25) / Reality (7:37) / Stream (5:17) / Won't Be Coming Back (5:32) / In Time (6:34)

Bonus DVD (special edition only): Won't Be Coming Back / Gasoline / Reality / Hypnotique

Petronella Nettermalm - vocals, cello
Ricard Nettermalm - drums, saw and delay
Reine Fiske - guitar
Stefan Dimle - bass, double bass
Johan Wallen - piano, Mellotron, Hammond organ, syntheziser, sampler, harmonium

Timeloss (2002)
Kallocain (2004)
Silence Of Another Kind (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: June 7th 2004
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 1330
Language: english


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