Kara-Lis Coverdale & LXV






Sirens is the collaborative debut and orthochromatic illuminant of Kara-Lis Coverdale and LXV who are otherwise known as one dungeoneering Tim Hecker and spectral playmate David Sutton. Released in May 2015 on vinyl by the Mexico City-based Umor Rex Records and available to purchase directly from the label’s Bandcamp page as usual, the eight tracks of Sirens shift and alternate between the two favored styles Umor Rex is loved for, Ambient and Glitch, and cross-link these superfluids with parallax layers of modern classical constituents and even surprisingly broad titration processes in the spirit of New Age. A glacial and gelid album at its heart, K-L C & LXV’s debut isn’t as parochial or dedicated to the coldest of all worlds, as horticultural vignettes and desert-like footpaths amend the freezing climate more often than not. Ultimately, there is no need to distill the core in a witty way, as the album title Sirens freely gives the ubiquitous apparitions away and serves as a one-word explanatory note or accompanying text: the sirens do appear throughout the album as advertised. Morphing between humane, mephitic and cursed states, luring and betraying the listener, glowing in technicolor before venturing into the hatched acidophilic prisms, these programatic devices reappear throughout the material. But Sirens also shines when the name-giving individuals hide in colloidal centrifuges; then the fusillades of clicks, blips and nematodes come into play, and with them the clavicular ancillary processes and textures.


No hibernal landscape, but nontheless a descriptive design by Daniel Castrejón.


If an album – any album – starts with a track that carries the title Tunnel Vision, a tachycardia-causing redshift is expected. K-L C and LXV may not succumb to such a conniption right at the beginning, but both the tendency and hue of the tropopause are set: the opener is a perihelic photoevaporation of glistening chimes, glockenspiel afterglows and granular magnetotails, each of these devices rotoscoping around an elasticized lo-freq perapsis. Staccatofied punctilio, warped fibroblasts and incidental Italo piano prongs round off a comparatively debonair midtempo ice floe whose chirality creates phantom frequencies and infrequently enchanting subzero mirages. The adjacent Territory Of Subtle Entries is much more seraphic while retaining the spirit of contrapuntal fermions; crystalline synth choir florets, stacked pectin tendons – or talons? – and agglutinated fluid-processed bursts altogether merge into a quasi-ecclesiastic wideness with enough room for the reverberations to illumine the volatile backdrop. These sirens are lucid.


The third track Disney takes the cake in that its benthic-viscoelastic Angkor Wat chromaticity flows over the bystander and lets the individual submerge into a fir-green apocrine cytoplasm filled with thermal immersion muons, fluttering ogival sinews and orographic emeralds. Shuttling between cinematic visions and simmering strychnine-augmented interstices, Disney is a standout track due to its progressive diffeomorphism, embracing the listener in its most euphonious moments and pushes him or her away in the more inimical hoarfrost-covered sectors. It is wise to augment the dissipative distortion with the matutinal/vernal duology of Grigori In Jakarta, a fittingly gregarious surfactant which calcines the liquidity in order to enthrall with a tetragonal megafauna of stratiform piano pericarps, sweeping pink noise cloudlets and the pristine spherification of admixed jitters.


Buffering Landscapes meanwhile is a hieratic chorale – opposing its technical title – made of cherubic wordless vocals, lanthanum-coated music boxes and salubrious legato veils. At least that’s the state of the anacrusis. Eventually, the portentous title becomes reality when the demotic diorama turns demonic. Aflutter and chlorotic, the formerly soothing performance gets chopped and sliced, twisted and turned; that the auroral background remains quite smooth and well-groomed only widens the longitudinal clash. With Subfall (To), however, there’s a chance for repentance: a diaphanous New Age anthem complete with vitreous bells and whistles as well as vermillion synth flumes, it is the only track that cherishes the warmth even in its calcareous moments and doesn’t let it go. Afterwards, the three-minute antrum Borrowed Memory (From) establishes a clandestine cloak-and-dagger atomism made of icosahedral watermills, polarimetric beams of tawny light and amniotic soprano isospins before the hymnic finale Informant is nigh, and it is here where the square lead physiognomy of the sirens would allow them to roam the land like klaxons, were it not for the ever-changing string of different arrangements; be it apocryphal-jungular panpipes, mosquito-esque ventiducts into ventricles or mesozoic profundities at the end, the duo has their array of chromodynamics under control.


Sirens is an orographic, supraglacial work whose title is flawlessly mirrored by its eight compounds. From Ambient-based drone perianths over Glitch-focused avulsions to New Age-accentuated verglas fissures, Kara-Lis Coverdale & LXV’s approach of gravitational microlensing ennobles the arrangements, offers surprises and instabilities aplenty. Despite the violent flaring and moxie multiplex of apoplectic dissonances, Sirens refrains from becoming a shock-and-awe art house release; a nucleic amicability is always perceptible even in those cases where the sermonic sacredness wanes and makes room for ligneous or metallic contretemps sewn into the polyfoil entities in order to estrange the listener for a short moment or two. That the two luminaries have benignancy in mind all the time is reflected in the magnanimous incandescence of the droning synths: willfully moss-covered and fir-green in Disney, then appearing in panchromatic saffron-hued complexions in Grigori In Jakarta, with an eerily whitewashed entity in Borrowed Memory (From) as another apparel, the textures and surfaces shuttle between aqueous and icy states alright, but accessibility and openness to scrutiny are always deeply embroidered in the perennial peritoneums. Once could also say that these synths are the phylogenetic devices within the boundaries of the album, intrinsically speaking. Sirens of course highlights the eponymous deities in its title, but the intermixed interim patterns, tangible plasticizers, caproic lilts and retrojected vestibules outgrow the primary element and make a convulsive cannelure out of an oneiric reticulation.


Further listening and reading: 

  • You can purchase and fully stream Sirens at Bandcamp
  • The label’s Twitter account: @UmorRex


Ambient Review 433: Kara-Lis Coverdale & LXV – Sirens (2015). Originally published on May 20, 2015 at AmbientExotica.com.