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Norwegian improvisational quartet Red Kite was supposed to tour starting in Spring of last year, but, well, you know. Instead the band did what so many bands did in the last twenty-one months: holed up in a studio and made some more music. The group’s second album Apophenian Bliss picks up right where the first one left off: with a blaze of bristling (baritone) guitar noise, spaced-out keyboard storms, bluesy bass thud and kit-punishing drum athletics. Drawing equally on heavy progressive rock, doom metal, wild-eyed psychedelia and the free form end of jazz fusion, Red Kite takes no prisoners in its sonic attack, but also doesn’t set the controls for stun. The roiling opener “Astrology (The One True Science),” the raging “Morrasol” and the rumbling “Red Kite Flight” fit actual melodies into their thunderstorms, and feel more interested in overwhelming the listener with sheer musicality rather than bruising force. “Sleep Tight” and the title track do get more atmospheric, with slower tempos and airier arrangements, just as a reminder that these musicians can be delicate when they want to be. Either way, though, Red Kite keeps things tuneful, even as it charges forward at speed. Apophenian Bliss is like a prime Hong Kong martial arts flick – high-powered limbs fly everywhere, but with mesmerizing skill and grace.
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