KYN describe themselves as "An Italian-Swiss-German tribal-folk project that mixes the sound of the northern lands with Mediterranean warmth thanks to the hurdy-gurdy, the German bagpipe, the Nichelarpa and the davul that blend with the lute and the ethereal but energetic and solemn voice of Ida Elena." "Earendel" is the debut album of this international project starring a host of renowned musicians such as Ida Elena DeRazza , the lead singer of KYN but also the frontwoman of the Metal band Bare Infinity , Albert Dannemann (Ex-Blackmore's Night) , Gino Hohl (Kel Amrun) , Anja Novotny ((ex Metusa, the Dolmen) , Dirk Kilian (Triskilian, Joyosa) and Heiko Glaser (Tinnitus Brachialis, FairyDream). All these members comes from a very rich and musically diverese background giving KYN a sound entirely unique. But all this you can read on their Facebook page and on any of their info sheets but the music is something we have the pleasure of reviewing for the very first time today .
Earendel comprises of 8 songs two of which are covers from traditional folk songs . The sound varies wildly from song to song which is actually extremelly refreshing considering the stagnate approach most bands take within the strict confines of being pagan or Celtic in their description . As such KYN manages masterfully to combine medieval instruments , sounds from Bagpipes to nichelharpa and acoustic guitars all the way to punchy beats making their songs standout . Starting off with the first track of the album - Kamprab - , we get the feeling that this track is setting the ground for something unique . There are no lyrics on this track however you can't categorise it as an instrumental track. The N.American chanting by Albert Dannemann's amazingly deep voice and the ethereal vocals of Ida transport us to a land of Native American mystery enwined with elements and melodies ranging from celtic to the middle east . Thankfully , despite the intense mixture of styles , the song remains robust and is a perfect opener in feeling and duration to get you excited for what is to come .
Moving on we find the Album title track "KYN" as well as the upbeat and modern "La Leggenda di Colapesce" which was the first track released on Youtube as a sample of their work . Both tracks contain many electronic and modern elements however they do not burden the track and fit in perfetly with the feeling each song creates . While listening to them I struggle to find a similar artist to compare them too . KYN's sound is so different to everything else currently out there that I dare say they have managed to create the perfect setup for a new band. One which is free of all comparisons to other artists and one that others will try to replicate in the years to come .
The album continues its wild change of styles with "Yggdrasil" . Modern sound effects and beats in harmony with bagpipes and dynamic vocals . This is followed by one of my favourite tracks on the album "Amor Lontano" . A beautiful mix of flamengo style guitars , complex goblet drumming , a subtle electronic beat and Ida's catchy vocals lines . I'm instantly transported to a sleepy Latin American town in the desert where a story is played out in perfect harmony with the music .
Earendel is a multilingual album comprising of songs in Italian , German and English . Ida switches seamlessly between languages and styles throughout the tracks proving her worth in any style she takes on , whether it is in Metal or Pagan/Folk.
It will be very hard for someone to find a flaw in what appears to be one of the most unique and well presented debut albums in this genre . We can only hope that this bold approach will breathe life into a genre that has remained frozen and un-inspiring for a very long time . The album however is not without its shortcomings. This ofcourse is only to be expected as the band seeks to find its place and true self through "Earendel" . None of its shortcomings though should discourage the listener from buying this album and supporting this brave new venture . In fact , some of these shortcomings , whether intetional or not, have added to the indentity of the tracks . It will be very interesting to see if these traits are filtered out in future releases or kept as part of that which makes KYN - KYN .
The album's "live-ish" sound allowing certain imperfections in the recordings to end up in the final mix personally leaves me quite pleased , however i'm sure in the era of over production and auto-tuning some of you might not be able to understand why . For a release that relies on electronic elements, the fact that vocals and instruments sound at times as one take recordings , allows the album to breathe and not be confined to a feeling of pitch and time perfect mass production . Afterall , this is pagan , this is folk , and its magic is in the free flowing character of its sound .
Whether intentional or by accident the raw imperfect sound of each song is exactly what gives KYN their identity and I for one would like them to keep this element and not give in to the idea of having shiny souless productions just for the sake of being "modern" . To conclude KYN have released a gamechanger that will be loved and hated fiercely by fans of the genre . Earendel deserves your attention and support so head on to their page and online and order your copy as the digital release is still some time away since Blackdown Music , the label behind it , has decided to give time for the CD to be sold without its digital counterpart being around to lure fans into the free-listening platforms that starve artists . A very good decision indeed.