ROLAND KAYN – Infra (2022 Remaster)


In the last years Ilse Kayn has appeared as a fairy distributing gifts in full force to the numerous collectors who were craving Roland Kayn‘s previously unreleased music, not to mention his long unattainable vinyl box sets. Whether we’re discussing unpublished works, archive materials, or reprints of classics, RRR is greatly satisfying the small portion of the world’s population endowed with functional ears and unvarnished awareness.

Today we are fortunate to receive this new edition of Infra – composed in 1978-79 and initially published in 1981 – in digital format. This is in fact one of Kayn’s absolute must-haves, once more enhanced by Jim O’Rourke’s expert remastering. The reissue had been many months in the making, finally coming out just days after your reviewer had finished meticulously cleaning the vinyls of his old set, directly sold to him by its enlightened engineer way back in the 90s. That’s right, I have been living with these sounds for decades. They are an essential part of who I am as a human being and a musician. Yet, I continue to be astounded by how beautifully they have aged, and how they keep facilitating the processes of our innermost insights.

Although heaps of foreign structures and sudden orchestral bursts attempt to fit into its unworldly whirling spirals, “Isotrope” moves mostly on variations around cycles of impenetrable resonances, their impalpable character developing a unique spatiality. Inviting in-depth observations on our origins and potential, the piece swells like gaseous substance, continuously morphing without forceful movement but in somewhat unsettling fashion.

The impressive electroacoustic mass of “Nastie” rests on a similar premise, perhaps delving even further into the meanderings of consciousness. The momentum of countless celestial symphonies symbolizes a projection toward a future that will either be radiant or evil, depending on the energy our minds are able to develop once they come into contact with those potent waves. This is undoubtedly one of Kayn’s most thrilling compositions, a veritable lesson in profundity. Its “signature” – a four-note, pluri-transposed, quasi-Olympic brass fragment cyclically emerging from a huge contrapuntal maelstrom – remains forever etched in the listener’s mind.

“Formantes” encloses two different characters. Firstly, a far-reaching pulse from the unidentified, one of the few elements in this piece with a rhythmic component underlying diverse magnetic currents. The second section starts off more ominously with a layering of metallic hues that incites a stronger sense of unease and anxiety. They subsequently change into varying harmonics and sluggish oscillations, inevitably aligned with a multilayered introspectivity.

The genuinely action-packed sections of the entire project are the two “Randoms” segments, alternating massive quantities of constantly evolving cybernetic organisms, open-mouthed gazes into unknown dark galaxies, swirling gyrations of electronics from the depths of the earth, and distant siren calls that suggest an absence of identity by changing into life forms deprived of face and skeleton.

All channels of communication are shut down by “Apeiron” in a wall of inexplicably devastating sonorities, leaving the herds misled by theorists of the arcane divineness with a sour taste in their mouths due to the difficulty in comprehending, defining, and categorizing such polymorphous beings. There is no longer a demand or a need to waste time trying to define a creative entity in obscure ways. The complete “before, during, and after” explanation is already contained inside the sound.

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