Tape-A-Day #2 – Kee Avil

Kee Avil – Kee Avil EP (Black Bough Records)

Picked up this short but substantial tape last summer when I booked a couple shows for the artist. While I was disappointed the shows’ attendance were less than stellar, I was enraptured with Vicky Mettler’s sounds. As Kee Avil, Mettler seamlessly melds obtuse melodicism to abstract electronic samples and startling bursts of prepared guitar.

While arhythmic samples and atonal guitar would seem like a less-than-ideal backdrop for traditional song form, Mettler deftly bridges this gap. Guitar scrapings and bubbling, seemingly random electronics form a strong base for dark melodies, which tie together otherwise disparate elements into something that, while firmly planted in the “experimental” field, is immediately accessible.

Over the course of 15 brief minutes, a firm aesthetic is established. While early ‘80s Lower East Side guitar abusers like Rhys Chatham and Sonic Youth are clear antecedents, Kee Avil’s vibe is singular and authoritative. As the third song concludes abruptly, I am compelled to flip the tape and begin again, repeated listens searching for a glimpse into the artist’s psyche.

Mettler also released a tape on Astral Spirits as one half of Eave, and is probably up to a ton of other cool things I’m not hip too. Highly recommended, to say the least.

Available on cassette and digital download at: https://keeavil.bandcamp.com/releases

– Bob Bucko Jr

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