Rhyton specialize in blending the sonic traditions and instrumentation of Greece and the Middle East with rock trio firepower of an oft improvisational nature. That might read as a recipe for self-indulgence, but the results, while certainly psychedelic in effect, also wield the discipline of top-notch jazzmen. Kykeon, their third LP and second for the Thrill Jockey label, continues their explorations to great reward; it’s a record that plays as strong as its cover is beautiful.
Rhyton consists of Dave Shuford, aka the leader of D. Charles Speer & the Helix and a former participant in the activities of the No-Neck Blues Band, Rob Smith of the Bronx band Pigeons, and Jimy SeiTang, a gentleman also associated with the No Neck scene but primarily known for the outfit Psychic Ills and his electronic solo project Stygian Stride.
The New York City-based No-Neck Blues Band, or NNCK for short, was part of a thriving underground of outsider rock business that came to a head in the midst of last decade. Some of the contributors to this scenario were able to engage, if not the mainstream, then at least larger audiences via Freak Folk and the New Weird, but the deep-psych/improv-rock/free folk of NNCK proved resistant (though not really by intention) to crossing over.
Of course, this isn’t a tidy assumption, since Wolf Eyes managed two discs of noise brutality on Sub Pop during the same era, but it does feel largely accurate. And so it’s doubly interesting how Rhyton’s latest is so downright easy on the ears. It does bear mentioning however that Shuford’s not exactly a novice to rock gestures of possibly wide(r) appeal.