Thrill Jockey

Rhyton - Kykeon

Rhyton is a group of experienced sonic voyagers, well versed in music both ancient and futuristic and wise enough to know that the distinction between the two is more subjective than one might initially be taught. They take ancestral forms, instrumentation and scales, primarily sourced from Middle Eastern and Greek traditions, and incorporate them into the context of scorching improvised rock. Their music is defined by divine mixture: electric and acoustic sources meld to form one sound, and when Rhyton plays, they play as one mind. The trio on Kykeon, their third album, is David Shuford (aka D. Charles Speer and of NNCK), Jimy SeiTang (Stygian Stride), and Rob Smith (Pigeons), each member providing essential building blocks for the interplanetary vibrations they conjure as a whole.

Kykeon literally means “to stir, to mix” in Greek, but was also a drink created by the ancients that had psychoactive properties, an apt name for the radical concoctions contained herein. While previous Rhyton albums were recorded generally in improvised first takes, preserving the freshness and exploiting their generous talents of spontaneous composition, Kykeon was carefully arranged while still retaining the unfettered vibe that has made their music so potent. Shuford’s melodic turns on the bouzouki, electro-saz, and guitar burst forth in the mix with a commanding intensity, while SeiTang’s bass and organ and Smith’s drums drive the pieces into unknown territory. There is an undeniable groove to many of the songs, showing the distant relation between Greek traditions, psychedelia, and the progressive boogie of Shuford’s work with The Helix. Rhyton exists on its own plane in the Brooklyn underground, forging its own more worldly path to psychedelic transcendence.

Kykeon was recorded at the legendary Black Dirt Studios (Jack Rose, Steve Gunn, The Black Twig Pickers, etc) in upstate New York with their long-time engineer Jason Meagher. Rhyton is planning extended ritualistic performances for the fall of 2014, and will play select East Coast cities in a more traditional context as well.