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Scorces – l’or et l’argent

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Subtle.

That is probably the most economic review one could do of this album. I actually first played this album yesterday. After an extremely frustrating and tiring day, done on about 4 hours of sleep. I ended up falling asleep on my couch while I listened.

At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this album. There is nothing here that I disliked, but at the same time, there is nothing to really pull me into the album either. It just kind of sits there.

Since then, I’ve found myself listening to the album again and again. At first, i thought I was just giving the album “another chance.” Now, I am not so sure. This album has somehow gotten into my skin. I find myself craving it’s simplicity and subtleness. It was subtle in it’s approach, but I am now hooked on this album. I imagine it will be some time before I go a full 24 hours with out listening to it.

The music here is being created by guitar and pedal steel, as played by Christina Carter and Heather Leigh Murray, respectively.

The album as a whole, has a droning, low key quality. The casual listener will be hard pressed to remember anything specific about this album after listening to it. No single instance or moment will stick in their memory. Instead, they will hear the drone in their sleep, and they will crave the sounds in their head. This album is addictive in it’s simplicity. And will likely never fully leave you.

Written by Matt

September 21st, 2003 at 2:02 pm

Posted in other,Reviews

Pardons – Charlie’s Pardons

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Take the ferocious line-up behind Acid Mothers Temple’s Live In Japan album. Strip away the drums, bass, and guitarist Kawabata Makoto and what are you left with? The Pardons. You are also left with something that is about as far as from Acid Mothers Temple as you can get, and yet still be exploring a vein of the collective’s sound.

Made up of Pardon Uno (Higashi Hiroshi) on synth and guitar, and Pardon Dos (Cotton Casino) on voice and synth. The Pardons are a gentle floating sound scape of spacey synth and delicate guitar fragments. Described by the AMT as “the synth-playing frontline dance brigade of AMT.” The Pardons are anything but a dance band. This music is closer to ambient, then dance.

With the exception of the fifth track, Par Une Nuit Sans Lune, all of the songs clock in at around the 5 minute mark. With the sole exception clocking in at over 20 minutes, it also features the only segment that is not dreamy in nature. An extended (a minute or two) section of guitar feed back, followed by the hum of the guitar for several minutes. Minus this sole exception, the rest of the album is built around those gentle synth sounds played at a slow laid back pace. A few songs feature a reoccurring fragment, played on the guitar. And some of the songs also feature what is either more synth sounds, or a quiet, gentle voice. It’s hard to tell given the over all feel and approach of the album.

While Live In Japan grabs you and shakes you to prepare you for a new psychedelic sound, Charlie’s Pardons lulls you into a soft warm place where the listener might find themselves slipping in and out of gentle dreams. This is not to say the music is boring, just very laid back and calm. There is still the psychedelic atmosphere that permeates AMT. Instead here it is approached as a lazy Sunday afternoon trip. Instead of the frantic speed laced trip of AMT.

Highly recommended for rainy afternoons when doing anything just seems like to much work.

Written by Matt

September 16th, 2003 at 2:29 pm

Posted in other,Reviews

Acid Mother Temple – Live In Japan

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How do I describe what I have just experienced? Experienced is the word I want. Heard is to limiting a word. It implies an auditory experience. What I just experienced came in through the ears, but the effect was beyond just simple auditory enjoyment.

Did I really enjoy that? I guess I did. I mean I want to do it again. May be even tonight. May be with headphones and a dark room. Give myself over completely to the sounds. I’m a masochist.

In this day and age, especially in the west, “psychedelic” has been taken over by meandering music, that occasionally has weird little funny sounds flittering around it. The music is usually built around either solos, floating over top pointless vamping and riffing; or a minimalist approach that introduces a simple idea and then beats it into the ground until it is dead and lifeless. Good “psychedelic” bands can do something inventive with one of these two ideas. Great “psychedelic” bands, make it sound fresh and new. By the equation is the same.

Then there is the temple. What beasts are kept at that commune? What magic is afoot on that soil that they can tap into and tame there monsters? How can they do this to a human mind with just music? It is just music isn’t it? Two guitars, a bass, two drummers, three keyboards, these are just instruments, are they not? The six people who’s name are on the poster, they are only human beings, correct? Then how is it that they can create this experience? How is it that they play with this magic?

The CD starts as is common for bands of this genre. A keyboard plays an electric drone of a sound while what sounds like a gong, or a heavy cymbal, is hit every 8-9 beats. It sets itself up as a minimalist approach to psychedelic. It is one of those bands. I like those bands. I listen closer to what is happening. Waiting for the predominant structure to take place, so that I can listen to the band deconstruct it. I’m used to this. This is not what happened.

About 3 minutes in, the guitar comes in. It is not playing a simple structure. It is not occupying space with the previous sounds. It is beating the living shit out of them. It jabs at first, it smacks the preconceived notions of psychedelic music around. It then takes a short break. Catches it’s breath, composes it’s thoughts. And then precedes to all out wail on those notions. It pounds them into the ground with such fierce determination that the witness is left scared, but excited. Something new is happening here. Something different. The witness, for we are not mere listeners. That would imply that we are simply listening to this act of revolution. The witness will be shown something that the witness has never experienced before. We are being born anew this night.

The first act ends. An untitled act. It was not something planned or rehearsed. It was now. It was what had to be done to allow the witness to understand what is about to happen. It was necessary.

The second act begins. In E. The guitar is back, it is the leader of this gang. It gives form to the chaos. The sounds are back as well, but now they have assumed their place. They dance around the chaos. They give light to the darkness. They watch as a man, for he is only human, plays the fuck out of a guitar. Chords Chords Chords a little switch, and then Chords Chords Chords.

Our minds are being washed clean of the filth that we have been taught. We are being prepared for the coming of the one. And when we are finally clean, he comes.

The Speed Guru.

Little should be said of this act. It is best to experience, not to talk. Know though that it does not end. There are moments of calm. Where if one listens they can hear Japanese song from days gone by. But the calm does not last. The Guru is only considering his words before continuing with the lesson. And when the Guru is finished. You are a new person. You are born a new. You are prepared to take on the day anew.

This act of cleansing violence, this psychic rape, took place in a club. It can be implied that people were there. People who experienced this ritual first hand. People that saw the act take place, who can testify that it was committed by mere humans. These people are to be pitied and envied.

Welcome, to the Acid Mother Temple.

Written by Matt

September 15th, 2003 at 3:51 pm

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Ruins – Hyderomastgroningem

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I ordered this disk back in Jan. I had ordered the Boredom’s Super AE in the same shipment though and so the order didn’t arrive till last week. At that point I was in the middle of a basic rock kind of kick and so I put the two albums on hold untill I was more prepared to take them in. Apparently, that day is today.

I’m listening to this album for the first time right now. The album opens with an interesting short little piece (Hyderomastgroningem) that’s acctually starts off as quite a funky little number. Not what I expected at all from the heros of japanese prog/noise. Then comes the turn on a dime time change and the whole thing starts to quickly shift in and out of moods, sometimes returning to the original phrases to ground the piece before shifting into a different area. The whole thing doesn’t loose focus though, and none of the track seems out of place. The opening track quickly cements that this is going to be an experience like none other. Not bad for a minute and 25 seconds.

The second song is much more like what I expected. The drums and bass play a precise arrangement. Or acctually two arrangements. After a short intro these two pieces come together for a short period before dropping out, and bringing the band’s lyrics forward.
All lyrics are written in a language that the band made up, reminescent of Eye’s vocal/sreaming, but a little less intense. Not to say it isn’t effective though. Since I don’t speak Japanese the lyrics have the same effect as if they were acctually japanese.
After the opening salvo of chaotic playing, the band vaults back in forth between a slow laid back sound where the vocals slide across fuzzed out bass and delicate drumming, and a catchy snappy chrous that brings the drumming up in the mix and pushes the vocals into doing a little jig. The song then slips into a funky little bridge as the laid back fuzzed out bass is propelled forward by an increased intensity in the drumming, before it drops back into the laid back figure and fades out.

Third song is short and noisey.

Economic Mond Possa is hard to describe. Needless to say it solidifies the band’s modus operandi of introducing two juxtiposed sections of music and then jumping back and forth between the two of them untill the pieces, which originally feel incompatable, feel perfectly natural next to each other.

Good noise/experimental music will redefine how you perceive music. This is good noise/experimental music.

Instead of hitting every song here, how about I just keep the window open and jot down notes as things grab me.

One of the great things about the Japanese underground is how dense the songs can get. Zurna Taksim is 35 seconds long, and there’s about six cool little fragments that any other band would have felt forced to turn into a whole song. Ruins though drops the fragment and then moves on. Perhaps they touch on it again later. But, they don’t seem to feel the need to expand on it.

Gravestone has an interesting gimmick of tieing the bass and the vocals together through out the piece. Each mirroring the other. The first section of the song is all energy as the drums propel the fragment along. Then the drums drop down to a laid back vibe and the bass/vocals follow suit. The drums are deffinetly driving this piece and its done masterfully. Switching back and forth effortlessly with just two beats to join the two vibes. It fits together seamlessly.

Pontemcorary Music #2 is an interesting little monster. It starts with a 30 second noise intro before falling into it’s dualism. One a typical noise piece that’s only a few seconds long. The other a hauntingly delicate vocal with a xylaphone sounding background accompined by a bass that mimics the vocal. This dualism lasts for about 45 seconds before returning to the opening piece to play the song out on. The song is short. I almost wish it has been longer.

And now, at the end of my first full listen through, I’m impressed. Sections of the album I found myself listening to a couple times before moving forward. Other times my interest waned. Right now, I prefer their instrumental stuff. But, I’ve found that my opinion of the bands in the Japanese underground changes with my moods. When I first heard Melt Banana and The Boredoms, I wasn’t impressed. Later, when I listened to them in the right frame of mind, I was blown away.

I had expected something in my mind, and was giving something else. Reminescent of what I had expected, but also very different. I need time to difest this album and learn to appreciate it on it’s own terms. I need to take the time to understand Ruins’ musical language. Only then will I be able to truely give me thoughts on this album. I’m willing to bet though, that my current enjoyment of the album will turn to a love of it.

Written by Matt

February 28th, 2003 at 3:23 pm

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