Idol Ko Si: Seattle underground all-stars debut LP is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.
Idol Ko Si: Seattle underground all-stars' debut LP is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.

Min Yee, Robert Millis, and Matthew Ford have been in so many great bands over the last quarter century, it makes sense that they would eventually form a unit among themselves. That time has come with Idol Ko Si, whose self-titled debut album hit Bandcamp on April 30. If you know the pedigrees of these talented, shape-shifting musicians, you still might find the results here surprising.

Regarding those pedigrees, let's lay out some of their previous and current activities, just so you can orient yourself. Bassist Yee has played in Bend Sinister/A Frames/AFCGT, Universe People, Evening Meetings, and Dreamsalon. Guitarist Millis is currently in Climax Golden Twins and performs solo; his past exploits include stints in AFCGT and Messenger Girls Trio, and curation of several releases on Sublime Frequencies. Drummer Ford has performed with the Intelligence, Factums, Love Tan, and Dreamsalon, while also recording solo as Yves Son Ace. Got all that? Good. There'll be a quiz next week. Listen to all of their back catalogs and you can get an understanding of a significant chunk of Seattle's most vital pockets of rock innovation since the early '90s.

As for Idol Ko Si, its seven tracks don't rock so much as they creep, tremble, warble, and emit a strange glow, a muted luminescence. These three dudes have rocked so much in their lives, they can afford to leave that all behind and deviate into more enigmatic territory. And that they do with subtle brilliance and unerring instincts for offbeat "ethnological forgeries" (to borrow a concept from CAN).

Tracks like "Graveyard Shuffle," "After Hours," and "Space Is Backwards (Again)" don't sound Western, per se, but nor do they sound stereotypically Eastern, either. Rather, like some of the subterranean excursions by radical outliers such as Vas Deferens Organization and Renaldo and the Loaf, Idol Ko Si assimilate many obscure influences into a unique sonic gumbo that aspires to a timeless and placeless state. This music grows in your mind over time like a fungus imbued with hallucinogenic properties, while not scanning as obviously "psychedelic." It's a rare feat of alchemy—genius on a shoestring budget.

You can purchase here.

Idol Ko Si play Blue Moon Tavern on Friday, June 1, with Diminished Men and the Sheen.