Avalanche Kaito 2024
Photo: Lyon Tom / Glitterbeat Records

Avalanche Kaito’s ‘Talitakum’ Is a Jagged, Electroacoustic Dream

Avalanche Kaito’s Talitakum is one of the most intriguing albums this year so far. It’s a work of futurist folk-rock and a mixed-media sculpture.

Avalanche Kaito
12 April 2024

One of the most exciting rock tracks of the year so far has been “Tanvusse”, the second single from experimental group Avalanche Kaito‘s sophomore LP Talitakum. It features everything the transnational trio most excel at in one compact package: vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kaito Winse interpreting a Burkinabé folktale with speed and an impeccable sense of rhythm against his own flute and mouth bow, guitarist Nico Gitto buzzing back and forth, and drummer and producer Benjamin Chaval holding the ensemble in a furious, curious orbit driven as much by djeli traditions as underground hip-hop as post-punk experimentation.

If “Tanvusse” is made up of what Avalanche Kaito does best, though, it’s not for lack of a wide palette. Talitakum (which means “dead, come back to life”) is full of different styles, sounds, and time signatures that make it a more dynamic whole than any one of its tracks can represent.

With that said, Avalanche Kaito know how to cover a lot of ground in every piece. “Borgo” opens the record with an eight-and-a-half-minute ride through urgent sonic spirals laced with shouts, flute cries, ominous chords, and nonstop intricate percussion. It’s an immersive introduction to the album’s many layers that flow into the variegated hues of the musical collage “Shoya”. The softly howling void that opens “Donle” twists, contracts, and expands to make space for Winse’s spoken word recitations and eerily synthesized vocals.

After the frenetic moving parts of “Tanvusse” comes Talitakum‘s second-longest song, “Viima”, whose graceful arc stretches from slow and languid to cosmically accelerated. On the title track, Winse’s flute draws psychedelic spirals in the eye of a plugged-in storm for a relatively straightforward rock song before the whole trio burst forth for a truly cacophonous minute on “Ghostdrum”. Winse’s frenzied vocal repetitions on “Lago” go fast enough to sound like artificial loops, an industrial and organic kind of techno. At the record’s end, “Machine (The Mill)” builds to catharsis with a mix of doom and thrash.

Electroacoustic ideas of the kind audible in the work of Avalanche Kaito are the stuff of avant-garde dreams. Talitakum is a mixed-media sculpture built with longstanding lore and sonic technologies of the past, present, and future. It’s just as entrancing and ecstatic as their eponymous debut and even more kaleidoscopic. From start to finish, it’s never clear exactly where Winse is going next from moment to moment, but his presence and all the facets of it are truly charismatic, something enhanced by the contours of Gitto’s outstandingly jagged guitar work and kept at the forefront by Chaval’s expert balancing as a producer.

“Tanvusse” made for a promising start to Avalanche Kaito’s year, but every shard of this record deserves to be heard and felt. It’s the way the pieces come together in the strange and wondrous Talitakum assemblage that makes this one of the most intriguing releases from anywhere across the globe so far this year and sets it apart from anything remotely comparable as a work of futurist folk-rock.

RATING 9 / 10