by / May 10th, 2010 /

White Hinterland – Kairos

 2/5 Rating

(Dead Oceans)

In ancient Greece, Kairos meant the right or opportune moment. And capturing such moments is what’s exactly behind Casey Dienel’s peculiar, dreamy and often ghostly sounding second album under her White Hinterland moniker.

Coming from a jazz and piano-led background, the eerie electronica-seeped and often dubstep-infused tracks here come as a surprise from the singer-songwriter ‘” both in the sense by which each of the 10 tracks’ slight shifts in tone ropes-in the listener and in what previous fans of her work might have expected.

In keeping with the title, each feels like a snapshot or moment captured ‘” from the mournful claustrophobic sounds of ‘Thunderbird’ to the dreamy hope of opener ‘Icarus’ and the synth-powered assuredness of ‘Moon Jam’ with its nods to Bjork and Joanna Newsom.

The electronic soundscapes suit Dienels’ voice as it drifts up and down in tone amid the myriad of blips and bleeps. Her jazz leanings too are quite evident, not in the sound of the record, but in her openness to dropping structure in favour of feeling. This is most noticeably apparent on ‘No Logic’ with Dienel’s lyrics of ‘I can’t sit still or stay in one place to long’, against a constant rush of sounds mixing and interweaving behind her voice, giving the feeling of freedom in the movement of sound with thought.

‘Amsterdam’, with its dark sense of loneliness and the electronic percussion, seems to capture the city’s menacing undertone. It’s a creative high point, though the album peters out as it closes. ‘Cataract’, one of the album’s final three tracks ‘” all over five minutes long ‘” is an exception from the monotonous and frankly boring pair of closers in ‘Huron’ and ‘Magnolias’.

An album that requires multiple listens to reveal it’s true colours, Kairos doesn’t quite pack a punch but Dienel’s certainly a talent to keep tabs on.

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