Review: Raveyards – Kyem EP

Belgium produces hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different varieties of beer and yet if you ask the average British consumer to list as many types as they can, he or she will start to struggle after citing Stella Artois and Hoegaarden. Likewise, Belgium is the home to countless extraordinary and experimental music makers but most people in the UK have only heard of Soulwax, dEUS and Plastic Bertrand.

You only need to delve a little way into the thicket of Belgium’s scene to find a mystifying menagerie of sonic delights, from the thrillingly original noise-rock produced by the likes of Raketkanon and Hypochristmutreefuzz, through the atmospheric desert jazz of Dans Dans, to our current subject Raveyards, who blur ambient electronica, post-rock contours and techno mulch to charmingly impressive effect.

Originally conceived by Francois De Meyer (vocals and synths) and Stefan Bracke (synths and computers), the Ghent-based project has gradually expanded to a five-piece band which also uses further collaborators behind the scenes, such as the lighting and video experts who help bring Raveyards’ ambitious and immersive live shows to fruition.

A concise showcase of the range of their powers, the Kyem EP is comprised of four longish pieces and two shorter soundscapey intermissions, ‘Yet’ and ‘Honey’, the first of which sounds like an alcoholic robot sadly circling one of its spannered digits round the rim of its near-empty snifter glass. Of the more substantial numbers, Kyem’s opening track builds from a menacing, minimalist throb to a densely multi-layered cinematic drive through the midnight back roads of Flanders, full of twists and turns and the passing of shadowed strangers who stare at your dented car like curious ghosts. On ‘Chicago’, a serene piano intro is suddenly drowned in industrial waste. Crawling out of the toxic spill comes a hulking mutant monster resembling a Fuck Buttons’ remix of some latter-day Mogwai track sung by that little bloke from Hot Chip. The drained murmuring on the Eastern-tinged ‘Nest’, meanwhile, recalls Massive Attack at their bleakest, while the final cut, ‘22’, has a comparatively lighter disposition, albeit still a pretty murky one, sounding at various points like one of Moby’s weirder 90s tracks, a snippet from a David Lynch film score, something by one of the newer darkwave or chillwave outfits that have sprung up of late and a sentient sequencer mourning the passing of Dieter Moebius.

Where Raveyards go next and the ways in which they’ll opt to fill the exhibition space of a full long-player will be interesting to observe. For the time being, Kyem will whet the whistle as well as a high-percentage half-pint of flavourful Flemish hops. We wait in thirsty anticipation for the full yard of ale. Or, rather, the full raveyard.

Written by JR Moores