Review: Kllo @ Howler (19/08/16)

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Words by Jack Vance

I’ve rarely had the occasion to state I’ve danced myself into a chest infection, but there you go, now I’ve put those words to print. I think I’d be more distressed about my situation if I weren’t still reeling from Kllo and the killer session they held at Howler. Supported by CORIN and Martin King and playing to a sold out crowd, Kllo kicked off the tour for their latest release Well Worn EP in spectacular fashion. I count myself extremely lucky to have discovered such an exciting talent so early on in their career.

There’s something magical about a band successfully splitting themselves down the middle and finding a support for each side; where CORIN brought forward her technical prowess and layered, cascading lines, King exemplified the soul so important to Kllo’s sound.

CORIN may take the cake for my favourite support act of the year. Putting her classical tuition to good use, the electronic soundscapes CORIN is capable of weaving are powerful and intricate. Her mastery of the piano combined with an adept ear for sound design is always a treat, though we could’ve done with more variation throughout her set.

Martin King leveled out the previous intensity with his unique groove and clear, crystal voice. A long line of guests accompanied King across his set making for a varied and interesting experience and the audience participation was a refreshing change for such a young artist. Far from being shy and withdrawn on stage, King calmly albeit dorkily made it his own, and while I may not have caught on with some of his sound I have an immense respect for his presence even if he personally considered that presence the stuffing in an “artisanal shit sandwich”.

Capping off the top of that sandwich were Kllo, who took to the stage for a crowded house; over four hundred people showed up and refused to dream until it was over. The duo, consisting of Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul, achieved something impressive by seamlessly translating their latest EP into a live environment. Confident, clever and catchy summarise the core of the act and they fed on the energy emanating from the crowd. Through sheer audience participation, “Bolide” and “Walls to Build” take the cake for set highlights but it was encouraging to see the audience just as excited over new material. Watching Lam step out from behind keyboard central to drum through certain threads was a personal highlight as I feel live percussion elements, even just live-triggered samples are missing from too many beat-driven acts. Massive props go to Kaul not dropping pitch throughout the set, another issue that tends to plague newer electronic talent. It’s particularly impressive given the, at times, complex and delicate nature of those vocal lines.

The pair’s musicality and pop sensibilities will surely take them far and with the two set to support RÜFÜS across Europe over the coming months I’m looking forward to seeing what the exposure and experience does for their sound. There’s enough innovation, dedication and skill here to become a proper force to be reckoned with on the greater stage of Australian contemporary music so get in now for a chance to watch something beautiful grow.

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August 29th 2016
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