It is not possible to talk linearly about the different dimensions that are expressed when world becomes sound. Words don’t mean anything. Sounds do. In their incomprehension of ‘mean’, they show the way through, for all that is needed is to be immersed. You go down the path following a smell, something burns in the distance, the earth glows in the dark. Listening is one of the purest acts of surrender, as is the acceptance of struggle, as is death. Making music is complete surrender —a devotion— to the rise and fall, to the scream of what seems to be the end, but reveals itself as the cosmos, a new one. There is a path, but no destination.

Follow sound to break into the fabric of the world. A path without promises keeps you awake, aware, in fear or astonishment. You see what is. In a place where every step is unknown, true mastery is being transparent to show what exists, what is possible. And we are shown there is as much decay as there is evolution, as much pain as there is memory, as much going forward as constantly looking at the past.

Kayo Dot is a creature of many faces. Words and sounds, people, ideas. All looking for something, leading somewhere unknown. An ecosystem, perhaps, responsive to thermal shifts, air currents, migrations. Unique and diverse with struggling forces, drives and cycles, created and fertilized by movement. Aerobic organisms never remain the same. When we talk about Kayo Dot it is pointless to talk about genre. Through listening we are gifted a revelation: there is no concept that can shelter us from chaos. Instead, we’re invited to inhabit a place, multiple places even, that coexist through time and space, to enter the tunnel, to encounter the completeness of an experience.

Toby Driver is our guide, the creative mind committed to the finding and charting of worlds. Around him we have seen artists from many backgrounds, storytellers, performers of every kind. They dwell in the liminal space of the band, a creative circle formed to bring forth a particular vision. Kayo Dot as a universe is enriched by every new hand that comes in to be a part of it. Throughout the years, not only have they shown excellent musicianship, but an expertise in transformation. We especially have to mention Jason Byron, whose words are a primary force of the creation of this universe. Growing from the lineage of maudlin of the Well, Kayo Dot has evolved into the complex organism that it is now. The undeniable presence of history (of the world, of the band, of the individual) makes Kayo Dot’s path full and rich: all the people that were, that are, that will be. All the sounds created, a sacrifce to the art of becoming.

2019’s Blasphemy showed us the ripe fruit from the seed that maudlin of The Well planted: an album can be anything. A novel, a map of the land, the sound of searching for glory, the inevitable loss of innocence. All at the service of sound and emotion —a new story.

20 years have passed since the creation of Bath and Leaving Your Body Map. Signaling the completion of a cycle, Toby Driver pays homage to the band’s beginnings by coming up with a novel take on 90’s goth-doom metal music, the very roots of Kayo Dot’s tree. With Greg Massi doing guitar solos, Jason Byron on the lyrics once again, and even recorded in the same location as the frst maudlin of the Well material, history repeats itself. But this is a very different season, threatened by illness and decay. As Kayo Dot is a project that takes humus from the margins of existence, challenging matter was turned into yet another sound world. Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike brings us to the edge of living in a moment of crisis for the sole purpose of looking at the void. An epic in the making, but deranged, without a hero to make sense of suffering. The album, materialized in isolation, takes us into the sphere of archetype, where we see the beginning and the end of everything, the exhaustion of karmic repetition, the stone and the ash, the only reminiscence of a golden past that could not escape the rot. Death fertilizes, life kills. Time isn’t linear. Kayo Dot is a serpent that eats its own tail. This is over so that the story begins again.

–Ana Cristina Pérez Ochoa, March 2021