[sic] Magazine

Demian Castellanos – The Kyvu Tapes Vol.1 (1990-1998)

Most psychedelia is transportative but Demien CastellanosKyvu Tapes allow you to take an actual step back in time, too. These days Castellanos fronts London kraut-psych botherers The Oscillation, but twenty years ago (20!) he was still growing up in Cornwall and in the middle of a period of deep experimentation. Castellanos’ family home on the Lizard peninsula was called Kyvu (“view of the dog”) and these timeless bedroom instrumentals document his tentative exploration of sound. Captured on 4-track Tascam they are the results of his “playing [the guitar] with forks, knives, bits of paper and making the most of the effects pedals he had.” And, perhaps surprisingly, to his and his equipment’s massive credit they manage also be an engaging, rewarding listen.

High on variety these atmospheric takes roam from watery ambience, pretty guitar shuffles and dreamy washes at their most meditative, and then on through oddball composition, free-form tuning and nebulous drones as Castellanos begins to flex his grey matter. The drones become increasingly insistent, culminating in a menacing, Lynchian creep during the seven-minute closer. Cruising-altitude prop engines undulate warmly through “High Road Raga”, its melody made from a collage of backmasked effects and spider guitar echoes.

The collection’s second trippy raga takes hugely reverbed Eastern guitar that bubbles like a lava lamp and introduces it to surging electrical distortion in such a way that it tunes into the brain’s most zen frequencies. This same thrum of high-energy containment earlier courses through the throaty chatter of “Time Slip” while the absorbing “Headless Aztec” runs like a potted history of Mexico, haunting panpipes contorting into a bustling hive of industry in which you can practically smell the blackened pork grease and hear the sizzle of roadside vendors before sliding off to some beach-side idyll for a tequila sunrise to close. Understandably the Kyvu Tapes contain little common narrative. Each cut is instead an evocative window into a mind in the throes of unfettered experimentation, formative steps that most would call a career highlight.

~The Kyvu Tapes Vol.1 (1990-1998) is released May 11th 2015 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Hands In The Dark.~