Khuda - Iecava Record Label: Field Records
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Khuda is an instrumental two-piece project from Leeds, UK. Their self-described genre is psychedelic/experimental/progressive. Two prior EPs have been released, and their upcoming debut album Iecava will be the subject of my review.
How is it?
In a word, impressive. Sharp, ominously twinkling guitar melodies strongly comparable to If These Trees Could Talk's Above The Earth, Below The Sky surround every moment on the album and become apparent from the start of "Seia", serving as a lead-in introduction. As we continue into "Boreas", the percussion quickly takes the center stage with its depth and richness, producing an ethnic or almost tribal feel to it which is also maintained through the album from this point on. The guitar section becomes lower and sludgier, morphing into a metal-esque wall of sound which occurs several more times throughout Iecava. Khuda quickens the tempo in the first half of "Luka Mesto", creating the catchiest portion of the album, while the title track "Iecava" marks the halfway point with a build leading to an anticipated epic climax. This expectation is not met, however, as Khuda opted for a less conventional up-tempo jam with a small but loud climax at the very end.
The album isn't exactly the typical post-rock zone-out album where the listener gets lost in the beauty. It has grippingly complex percussion and melodies as noted previously, more indicative of an experimental rock album. Because of the fact that it keeps most of your attention, Iecava suffers considerably from homogenous song structure. As much as I love each track individually, by this point in the album I find myself getting a little bored when trying to listen to Iecava all the way through. "Haikyo" starts off the second half, implementing a more ambient feel with consistent strumming and atmospheric tones in the background for the duration. "Marchmen" has a fitting title with some of the more intense drumming featured on Iecava, while the lower-pitched guitar melodies in "Don Benito" harmonize perfectly with the higher ones, establishing it as the most interesting track on the album. “Tyche" ends our journey with a culmination of just about every attribute the album has to offer.
While I appreciate the somewhat stripped down nature of Iecava, which is incontestably very good, it seems to me that there's a lot of unmet potential that Khuda could have taken advantage of with this release. The ethnic vibe they produced is a big attention-grabber, and could have been an extraordinarily effective centerpiece if given proper care. Bells, chimes, xylophones, sitars, and flutes all could have been added to accomplish this end, along with all kinds of cool instruments. Khuda may want to consider adding additional members or implementing new production techniques to make that possible. Despite its potential being somewhat held back, Iecava is definitely worthy of the attention of anyone who enjoys experimental or ambient instrumentals. If Khuda can broaden their horizons cohesively as they continue writing, their next album will be absolutely monumental, with Iecava serving as its strong foundation.