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KOAN Sound’s ‘Polychrome’ Took Us to Space and Back [Review]

For three years, we’ve been waiting for a sound that was something different. The sound may resemble some other things you’ve heard but is unlike anything else. A sonic phenomenon we haven’t been heard in years. Perhaps you’re waiting for it too, but we’re here to tell you that the wait is over. KOAN Sound is back, and they’re better than ever.

The Polychrome pair from Bristol has returned with an album of the same name. Their last one, Forgotten Myths, was released in 2015, and boy was that an odyssey of its own. Indeed, it set them into a category of innovation that isn’t seen too often. It was heavy, savage and took you on a journey through lands unknown while setting a high bar for their next one for sure.

Fear not for the quality of this album; it is stellar. KOAN Sound take you on an out of this world journey throughout another fantastic piece of art. It has many of the familiar sounds you’ve come to know and love from the two, with a newly polished blurring of lines between glitch hop and drum & bass.

It starts taking off soft and easy

Cobalt brings you into a very mellow, yet upbeat atmosphere, with a futuristic flare. It builds up to a blast off and rides it through space and time for quite a while. It pulls into Hustle Hammer, which feels like an alien’s party is popping off. It’s bouncy and bass-y, and makes you think you’re watching the stars from a spacecraft.

Chalk It Out steps up, offering a smooth jazz beginning before KOAN Sound’s familiar glitchy beats. The ride remains smooth and reminiscent of lo-fi until their single Chilli Daddy comes through. This single dropped last month as a tease for what was to come. Ever heard of Haywyre? This banger is a very similar style before it gets into a drum & bass phase you’ll never want to end.

The next phase really takes you through hyperspace

Virtual Light kicks this part off with some of the bass you’ve been waiting for. It brings a whole new sensation as if discovering a new galaxy beyond the stars. Their other single, Viridian Dream, does well to provide a warm welcome to these alien parts of the universe. It has a slow bass rumble with a beat that, much like hydrogen fuel, can be described as liquid.

Prism Pulse comes in to really show you the light. It brings a familiar KOAN Sound build-up and drop that we remember from albums past. This track brings a melody so classically KOAN, with a wobbly bass to boot. Hydroplane is a little different, starting with a cinematic feel and leading towards a beat from a whole other dimension. But this ride through the multiverse isn’t through yet, so just hold on tight.

Just another loop before landing

Jongmyo comes into play with a very zen attitude. After having raced through space the album gives encouragement to those feeling a new perception of themselves and their role in the universe. With that, it’s time to make our way home. Drift serves as a blast-off that fuels our intrepid journey back to our home planet. I could think of no better drum & bass track for the job.

It ends with a breathtaking view of our home planet. The Zulla welcomes you back with an Earthy vibe. This track gives you a new appreciation for having your feet on the ground; you’ve been a long way from home. Suddenly you’re so thankful for all the simpler things.

Looking back, KOAN Sound’s Polychrome is a multi-faceted adventure, full of color and light. It shows you the universe from a different perspective and took us to places we haven’t been in forever. It’s a lesson, a story, and a work of art all at once. We’re glad we heard it, and look forward to seeing it on their next tour.

What do you think of ‘Polychrome’? Did it make you soar like us? Check it out, and let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

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