Album Review: Steve Kilbey and Gareth Koch – Chryse Planitia

Living legend Steve Kilbey, the powerhouse behind one of Australia’s greatest exports – The Church – has just released an intriguing and delightful collaboration with Viennese-trained classical musician Gareth Koch called ‘Chryse Planitia’.

The result is a beautiful set of 10 tracks that mix Kilbey’s deep sonorous vocals and his mystical lyrics with delicate and evocative instrumentation of Koch with a common spine of classical guitar and other intriguing instruments and sounds. ‘Thylacine’ for example could fit perfectly in any album by The Church, yet is is augmented by classical guitar, synth and even a hint of Didgeridoo. Koch has provided a magical element to the sound – a sense of medieval orchestration – even flamenco – that perfectly intertwines with Kilbey’s louche and laconic delivery.

‘Stay Where You Are’ is an epic indie pop delight worthy of anything by The Church or indeed any contemporary indie band – sky-high melodies, jangly guitars with an epic classical guitar overlay and a chorus that clings forever.

And then the Kilbey/Koch collaboration can shift to the more contemplative ‘Lady Ishtar in Her Garden’ with its mystical dreamy story telling so typical of Kilbey and the classical meanings beneath that evoke a psychedelic fugue fuelled by trippy substances, natural sounds and dreams.

An instrumental, ‘She Moves Through the Fair’, is a gorgeous interlude.

This is a delightful musical trip from musicians outstanding in their respective fields yet even more perfect when weaved together. The fusion of indie rock and classical music can and does work when you have such impeccable credentials.

The album is available now to download and stream here. Produced and engineered by the legendary team Marshall Cullen and Russell Pilling mostly at Damien Gerard Studios and out through Foghorn Records.

Meanwhile, The Church are embarking on a huge tour to celebrate their incredible 40th Anniversary. Full details here. Following the departure of guitarist Peter Koppes, Kilbey remains the only original member, but the songs remain the same – and what brilliant songs they are.

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  1. […]  Kilbey has released four monumental albums under various guises (read my reviews of ‘Chryse Planitia‘ with Gareth Koch, ‘Jupiter 13‘ with Martin Kennedy, ‘Eleven Women‘ as a solo effort) and […]

  2. […] the music itself. Koch has always infused his music with a medieval lilt (witness the epic ‘Chryse Planitia‘ collaboration with Steve Kilbey) and incorporating raw organic […]

  3. […] Recent collaborations with Martin Kennedy (All India Radio), Glenn Bennie (Underground Lovers) and Gareth Koch have either been concept albums or shared a common golden thread of mysticism in worlds far away […]

  4. […] together. We have loved these meetings of style – empiric pop meets classics in albums like Chryse Planitia (with Kilbey) and Music in the Afterlife (with Martin) – both immense […]

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