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  • Jonathan Widran

KAZYAK, Odyssey

In my October 2018 review of Reflection, the debut full length album by the uber inventive and adventurous prog-indie-psychedelic Twin Cities rockers Kazyak, I gleefully quoted some descriptive words by frontman and sonic mastermind Peter Frey as a launching point. So it makes sense to start there again with their latest opus/epic, the perfectly titled otherworldly Odyssey.

In a quip about “Contavertical,” the dreamy, crunchy, soundscape rich Yes meets Enigma (as a few starlit points of famous reference) opening track and lead single, he explains that it explores the unknown parts of the universe and the idea that we’re all part of one large chain reaction. The lyrics cite the Mariana Trench (Google it, it’s very deep, literally) and the far reaches of outer space, and the track leverages tape audio from Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Power of Myth.’

So let’s roll with the trademark Campbell-ism “Follow Your Bliss” as we explore this offbeat but often catchy, fuzzy but remarkably inner peace inducing and sonically expansive but soulfully grounded batch of magical oddities, shall we? It’s an experimental yet usually accessible (by spaceship or mushrooms, perhaps) galaxy driven by an orchestrated Prophet V and Juno 106 synth combination, schizo guitarisma and deeply resonant bass and drum pockets. “Discover” is trippy jangle-rock fueled by distorted electric guitars and soaring harmonies – easy to embrace, even with the wacky rockin’ blistering and extreme repetition of the title theme.

What’s really cool is that Kazyak doesn’t stay in any mood/mode too long. They follow that boisterousness with the hypnotic, dippy-dreamy synth driven soul of “Paper Bird” and the funky fire of the out there stoner anthem “Camouflage” with the ambient easy crunching meditation “Zombie Dream.”

And on to infinity, jumpin’ smoke, takin’ a mystical electronic “Rocket” that would make either Rocketman (Elton John or Kim Jong-un) blush in blissful fury and finally, a request that we, made of star stuff, join the universe more intensely and, with competing musical textures and outside radio transmission “Become The Sun.” Can’t wait to see where Kazyak’s musical Odyssey takes them next!

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