Sometimes music defies description. Or better yet, it needs no description. Such is the case with an eclectic instrumental trio like StereoKimono. The three Italians label their music as "psycophonic oblique rock," which must mean something like progressive, post-rock, free-form fusion. Or not.
With Italian song titles, a few spoken passages pronounced in foreign tongues, and elaborate tri-fold glossy packaging with a separate CD sleeve, Ki is one of those esoteric recordings that impacts listeners in different ways at different times. For example, bouncy opener "Eh! Ah!" sounds like accessible space rock after one or two initial spins, but the track later takes on elements of a more-mature version of the B-52s. (Imagine that!) And the degree to which "Apoteotico" rocks depends largely on your own mood. Elsewhere, the first half of "L'Altra Marea" alternately sounds like the soundtrack to some B-grade horror film and an avant-garde experiment, while the second half is as refreshingly tranquil as it is intoxicatingly exotic. By contrast, there's no misinterpreting the Middle Eastern flair of "Istanbul Di Giorno."
Taking their influences from Red-era King Crimson, Pink Floyd's most commercial phase and the best of Gentle Giant, StereoKimono load these eight tracks - ranging in length from 58 seconds to more than 11 minutes - with multiple layers, colors and outcomes. Drummer and percussionist Cristina Atzori carries most songs with her sensible jazz-inflected playing, while Antonio Severi seamlessly handles all electric, acoustic and midi guitars, as well as keyboards. Alex Vittorio, who also plays keys, shows off a variety of bass-playing techniques that alter the album's moods. To fully realize just how versatile StereoKimono can be, make Ki your soundtrack for multitasking with busy work, sitting alone in a dark room and making love.