Kaboom Karavan: The Log And The Leeway (LP, Miasmah, July 2020)

It’s kind of hard to know how to get an opening angle on this one. Genre-wise, it’s… well, we can start with folk, there’s definitely folk, there, but it’s not folk, it’s kind of wandered a long way from the beaten path, and got lost in some strange places, and picked up all kinds of strange things along the way, and… Is psychedelic post-folk a thing?

It’s largely instrumental, with Bram Bosteels aka Mr Karavan on acoustic and electric guitars, “electronics”, piano, daxophone (the only instrument I’ve met named after a badger), monochord, and cello, and various of his friends on strings and sax. It’s a rich, heady brew, which manages to sound totally off-the-wall while at the same time creating a sound world which makes perfect sense in its own terms. A typical track might have a jagged cello line acting as rhythm section, while dense layers of sound swirl over it. Other tracks do other stuff, as they would do. There are vocals on, I think, three tracks, including a kind of sub-bass moaning, some mournful intonations about the fate of a runaway, a strange deep incantation accompanied by a squeaky pitch-shifted version which strongly reminded me of The Residents, and some slow-mo ethereal chanting like a cartoon ghost singing one part from a Ligeti score. Oh, and I’m pleased to report that the LP comes with a rather fine 16-page 12″ booklet full of strange writings and paintings and collages, just like the more arty rock albums used to and don’t any more. (It’s laid out by Miasmah label boss Erik K Skodvin.) And the vinyl is a translucent “oxblood” red colour. All of which adds to the sense of consistent world-building, even if it doesn’t make it easier to explain. All in all, this is a thoroughly glorious record.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Dark Ambient / Drone / Metal.

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