Very few artists stick to their guns for twenty years. Keith Petty, mastermind behind Kirlian Aura, has done just that. Starting the act in 1988, a demo were released in 1991 and 2007 sees the release of this, arguably Kirlian Aura’s “magnum opus”. Twenty-three tracks adorn this album, which immediately rings warning bells in my head. As anyone that has experience movie soundtracks knows, it is tremendously hard to craft a cohesive sound over such a large number of tracks.
On a track like “Often Imitated, Never Equaled”, a blend of electronic sound and progressive rock rules the day. While the compositions may use a lot of electronic-based sound in their general composition, the way the progression occurs in each of the songs on the disc is natural. Thus, the problem that some electronic-using artists is not present; Kirlian Aura is able to make a compelling track that blends intensity with a moderated tempo and sound. This is really the full package of hard/soft, dark/light, what artists may call chiaroscuro-like. “Riding The Thermal” is the next stand-out track. This may be because the bass line present approximates those of Geddy Lee, but I believe it is Petty’s ability to create a very sharp and crisp recording, in which minor amounts of chaos can sneak through and keep individuals on their feet.
Perhaps most interesting about Kirlian Aura’s tracks is that no vocals are needed; the arrangements of Petty’s on this track tell enough of a story and provide listeners with enough of a narrative that the addition of vocals would only hinder, rather than help, Kirlian Aura. “Tales of the Night Sky” seems to slow things down a bit and use jazz influences to vary the output of Kirlian Aura. This energizes the tdisc and allows individuals to settle back down for the second half of the album. By keeping some semblance of rock present in Kirlian Aura’s sound even as the band takes up the aforementioned jazz, a greater cohesion is created that makes it easier for individuals to keep the disc spinning. “Point of No Return” starts out with a splashy set of drums before moving into a brooding and introspective sound. This is yet another innovation by Kirlian Aura, and shows listeners that there is no limit to the styles and approaches that Petty can use in the creation of an all-around centered album. Pick it up.
Top Tracks: Pushing The Envelope, Nobody’s Home
Kirlian Aura – S/T / 2007 Self / 23 Tracks / http://www.kirlianaura.com / Reviewed 17 April 2007