Ghostly International Duo Kllo Exude Aural Bliss On Debut LP, The Emotionally Expanse ‘Backwater’

Ghostly International Duo Kllo Exude Aural Bliss On Debut LP, The Emotionally Expanse ‘Backwater’

Ghostly International Duo Kllo Exude Aural Bliss On Debut LP, The Emotionally Expanse ‘Backwater’


Australian duo and the Ghostly International labelmates Kllo are fresh off the release of their debut LP, the highly-contentious Backwater. Serving as a follow up to their previous EPs — Well Worn and 2014’s Cusp — the artist’s delve into an unparalleled auditory aura.

Blissful in its deliverance, it’s clear from the LP’s commencement that the two artists have unleashed an exploratory tale of fleeting introspection by way of their exuded emotions. But it is with a sense of effortlessness, at times eerie evocativeness — present immediately in the inaugural number “Downfall” —  with which Chloe Kaul croons over the swirling, toned down production of Simon Lam that Kllo sets itself apart.

“The great metaphorical River has been lending itself to wise sayings for ages, usually as a manifestation of time, or in relation to how we see instances pass. It exists only as current, neither in the past nor the future, the present. Rarely though do we look for guidance from the bodies of water that rest beyond a current’s reach: backwaters seen as stagnant and turbid. That they are, yet by nature they also collect, capable of shaping labyrinthine networks of canals and inlets with ecosystems all their own. Backwaters let the present settle into the past, they’re a place apart from the flow where moments compile and mature.”

With an anamorphic body of water in mind, it is with which Kllo has created Backwater, a full-length exploration of the ever-fluctuating human experience: inner adjustment to outer change. So how is it then that the two exude otherworldly, poignant beauty?

“It’s the first time we hadn’t felt like kids anymore,“ Kaul tells NPR of the work. “We were really able to dive in deeper and bring out a lot more of us into the music.”

For it is with spontaneity and considerable catharsis the two were able to dive deep into their psyches for the record.

Take the record’s “Virtue” for example.

Can I count on you?

The track beckons.

An arced number, slow to the touch, its emotive embers are left to burn in their subtle uncertainty as the track takes off into a dance number, parallel to the work of artists like Jamie xx. Such is where the two delve into inner and outward de resistance.

“‘Virtue’ is about not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone, whether that be a part of yourself or somebody else. It’s the present moment of finally coming to that realization,” Kaul told NPR of the track.

As the record proceeds, intentionally wordless and atmospheric at times, Kllo translates an invariable state of change, the free-flowing tendencies of life, into the seamless Backwaters.

Kllo’s second release on Ghostly International — and their most matured work to date — while it’s a haunting eerily evocative downtempo work, doubles down as a celebratory number, honoring the transient and impermanence in not only emotion, but in life itself. Backwater is thus a record that procures its maturity and Kllo’s growth in the labyrinth-like uncertainty, parting course with the malnourished introspection, greatly afloat in its change of course.



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Grace Fleisher Former Managing Editor