Kamikaze Deadboy – Year 13 (Siro569)

There are a lot of things I could say about the artwork for Kamikaze Deadboy's album Year 13... I could talk about it's gorgeously high resolution, the enigma that is the stone angel standing in the middle of a forest like a wayshrine or solitary headstone for a forgotten grave... I could talk about the use of colour, the soft yellow of the sun melding into the decadent olive tones of the woods that evokes a sense of wonder and pagan effusion. But, instead, I would like to speak on the aspect of the image that has drawn my focus for almost the entirety of the time I've spent looking at it: the two sidebars, each looking at first glance as if they are white noise taken from a dead feed on television and treated with light vertical blur (or maybe they had just been rendered vertically to suit the image?). I soon had a realization that they might actually be trees that we are peeking from between, or meant to look as such. I'm still not totally sure, but it's really odd. I've convinced myself that the latter was what the artist was going for, but, if so, the trees look so strangely like they've been cut and pasted into the foreground that it's unsettling. I believe it may be due to the use of white where we would expect to see shadow where the edge of the tree meets the shot of the clearing. It's like that variety of optical illusion, though, in which you go back and forth seeing one thing and then seeing the other.

Artist: Kamikaze Deadboy
Title: Year 13
Label: Sirona-Records
Cat#: Siro569
Keywords: Ambient, Hip-Hop, Drone, Other
Reviewer: Alex Spalding

There have been several really awesome, high quality submissions to the Sirona-Records catalog over the last few weeks. As I’ve been caught up elsewhere for much of this time, it’s nice to come back and just immerse myself in all of it! In reviewing these works, the question becomes: where to start? It was a difficult decision, but I’ve settled on Kamikaze Deadboy’s Year 13 for it’s mind-blowing attention to atmosphere, texture and form.

The album begins with an ‘Intro’. A rustling textured noise of rain and thunder starts up, and then a melody that sounds something like a deep electric piano drifts in. There’s a vocal sample as well…

… the next track, ‘All Hallows Eve’, comes in with a low hip-hop breakbeat. Over this emerges a chaos-laden vocal track of seamlessly interwoven voices that’s really awesome! The beat gets another smooth layer, sounding crisp. There’s a distorted wash further in the background that’s also very nice.

Afterward comes ‘Belle Noir’. There’s some deep static for a second, then another really groovy hip-hop break. This is so far a very downtempo record, also very chill. A backmasked bell sequence and string section float into the mix. There are some seductive vocal samples, some e-piano… I’m already in love with this…

… ‘Myoclonus Twitch’ begins with some upright bass and a warbling bit of mid-high filtered noise. Then more electronic noises come in, warping a little, and there’s another breakbeat. I hear a bell sequence… one that’s been driving me nuts now for several minutes because I knew I recognized it from somewhere but couldn’t place it. I’ve just been side-tracked, digging around through various horror film OSTs trying to find it. Halloween? No… Phantasm? The Beyond? No, and no. Maybe it was from Tubular Bells… no, of course not. Just before courting the notion of skimming every Goblin record in existence, I decided instead that I was spent for ideas and was just not going to find it, thinking it would probably come to me in a week or something – by which point I’d have forgotten why I had even been attempting to recall it in the first place! And then it hits me like a ton of bricks, it wasn’t from a horror film soundtrack at all, it was from Bob James’ ‘Nautilus’… but then I listen to that all over again and I’m like, I don’t know, it doesn’t sound quite exactly like that and while maybe that’s because it’s been sped up, I really can’t say for sure. Anyway, the breaks get deeper still and I’m hypnotized, feel like taking a walk later while digging this record. There’s a growing ambient vibe emerging, adding subtle harmonics to the bell sequence. I think I hear choirs… this is a cool track. We get treated to some more rain, some organ vibes. I fucking love it!

‘Magnetite’ starts with some deep, airy drones. Over this, a few rushes of feedback and minimalistic piano notes. The wind blows through a large, empty cavern… far in the background I believe I hear some sustained chords. From out of nowhere, literally, there are these vocal samples that… really about scared the shit out of me, even though they’re totally goofy, just because I was intently listening and not really expecting anything like that. Then there’s another totally boss downtempo breakbeat. Underneath that, the chords have grown louder, grow louder still. They sound harmonic, probably a transistor organ? The breaks get shifty, piano returns.

Then it’s ‘The King’s Funeral’. It’s raining again, and there is still some thunder crashing. A cello comes in, as well as somewhat martial sounding percussion and a repeating *shink* like someone in a film pulling a shiny sword out of a scabbard. I hear what I believe may be clarinet playing over all of this… it’s all very pretty and melancholic.

‘Blackened Forest’ features strings that gradually crescendo and fade upon our ears in evermore harmonic / dissonant chords. A whoosh of soft white noise comes in as well, as do unsettling noises like the heavy breathing of some horrific creature from beyond. There are whispers, modulated. There’s also a rustling that emerges, and electric piano… a woman’s voice, sounding stretched and granulated comes in as well.

‘The Frozen Lake And The Woman’ is also genuinely creepy! Dark and ambient, highly textured and ethereal choirs. There’s an urgent string that develops for a moment while the rest of the sounds, coated in reverb, actively seek to expand the space of the mix. I hear low strings as well for a moment, leaving traces of bass… there’s a distressing, ethereal and operatic female voice that floats in for just a moment, making an impression and disappearing altogether. Like a phantom that dissipates with the slightest critical inspection; your ears will prick up with attention, just as it is on it’s way out… but then, after a time, it returns. It stays awhile this time, too! Very nice work on this one. The string sections carry us a long on a voyage of sound, getting really lovely as we approach the end and other noises seem to assail us from all corners of the mix.

‘The Lake And The Girl IV (She Leaves The Forest)’ feels like a collection of reverby, echoing animal sounds… but then these really nice, deep organ harmonies start to float around in the background. My focus is turned to them… they’re really nice sounding, melodic…

… there are even more absolutely breathtaking melodic chords on ‘Migraine (Dedication)’, which I am really struck by. It kind of reminds me of my own work, not to sound self-absorbed or like I’m plugging as the comment is not meant to be taken in that fashion, but just in the sense that I feel a very deep soul connection to this track. There are more clips of a woman’s voice, windy effects and electronics soaring above like the Borealis. Super lovely!

The last track is also the longest… ‘Ghost On Tape (Second Version)’ begins with a dirgelike drone of radiator-bass and buglight static electricity. Several electronic noises sound like they’re floating in… we come to a section of ghostly, cold choirs with a touch of the Gregorian to them. Strings come in as well, and after much time there’s a shifting, almost jazzy breakbeat, but it leaves after a short while not to return until much closer to the end. The music ends with another vocal sample about space!

In the end, this is an album that really seems to take us on a journey. I feel like, partly, I’m discovering the strange history of the artifact shown in the artwork for the release… a story of a girl who died long ago and the magickal world she inhabited. There are other tangents I got caught up on along the way, naturally, and it’s a rare kind of album that makes me feel so much… if you’d like to have it make it’s indelible mark upon your psyche as well, you can find it at the following link:


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