June 9th, 2012
In getting my what.CD account activated again, the new barrage of music has started to flow heavily once again after taking a break while traveling. Going a bit overboard, the flood has been a bit sporadic in nature, spanning a large field of genres. Here’s what’s been getting scooped up by my ears As of Late:
: The Mars Volta :
: De-Loused In The Comatorium : Universal Records : 2003 :
~ rock, psychedelic, progressive rock, latin, jazz, electronica ~
The Volta’s first record. I remember a friend of Flando and I’s came over, dropping this album on us. I’d never heard anything like it. One large moving -flow of pleasure waves, hitting all points of your emotional psyche. Ecstatic rhythms seldom stay in one time signature for all that long – random movements of tripped out electronic synths – Led Zeppelin style vocals completely take attention of your head, screaming down your spine… Digging into the album a bit we find that Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is on bass in songs throughout the album, most notably on the final track, “Take The Veil Cerpen Taxt“. Digging deeper we find Mr. Rick Rubin co-producing the record (w/ the Volta’s musical genius frontman Omar Rodriguez-Lopez) in an abandoned and supposedly haunted old house, where a studio lives in the basement. A full on concept album, the short story was written by lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and sound manipulation artist Jeremy Michael Ward, the album is an hour-long tale of Cerpin Taxt; a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison. The story of Cerpin Taxt alludes to the death of El Paso, Texas artist — and Bixler-Zavala’s friend — Julio Venegas (1972–1996).’ (1) If you are at into hearing some of the past decade’s most forward thinking psychedelic progressive rock, you’ll definitely want to check this out. I’d dare to say this is one of my favorite albums, period.
: Blamstrain :
: Ensi : Merck Records : 2003 :
~ idm, ambient, downtempo, experimental ~
Another first in 2003! Finnish artist Juho Hietala, who goes by the ever so odd name of ‘Blamstrain‘, drops an instant Merck Records classic with his career’s first LP. Beeps, clicks, pops, hidden futuristic vocals, heavy basslines, and full swooping pads politely fit together throughout this entire record. A range of styles of drum patterns continue to make the album seem like a constant journey in a deep black to blue to gray cave, once in a while finding a tiny hole to the outside, then most certainly seeing the light. The personal standout track is “Alive In Arms“. I found this on track on wax years ago, had no idea it was a 45 and played on 33 repeatedly. Opening it up heavily made the joyful nature of the track expand upon itself in the greatest way. Fantastic record!!
: D-Bridge :
: The Gemini Principle : Exit Records : 2008 :
~ drum&bass, ambient, tech-step ~
D-Bridge’s only and Exit’s first full length in 2008 is a drum & bass masterpiece. Taking a minor step away from the dance floor style, ambience moves most of the background of the album with gorgeous washes of lushness. Though many songs seem to feed off of the 85 side of the bpm, the album sits right around the 170bpm mark consistently throughout the work, racing drums kick out at you, programmed in a complex way, but that’s easy to deal with. Calibre makes an appearance on ‘Ponderosa‘, churning out a liquid grooved beauty. Sensual vocals ride the basslines at times. Your d&b crunchy synth is softly used all over, adding flavor, but never taking over. There’s even a bassy LFO experiment included in the rest of the drum & bass perfection that is this album.
: Truth :
: Insanity/Skitzo EP : Boka Records : 2012 :
: Dreams/Last Time : Tempa : 2012 :
~ dubstep, half-step, UK, bass music ~
Truth has been quite active so far here in 2012. These two EPs show the two showcase different sides of the project, and both sides are equally as well thought out as the other. The second record for Boka Records comes out swinging with an incredibly groovy bass cavern styled hard hitter. On the B-Side, the LFO takes over, carrying the track as it morphs all over the place. Great hi-hat work on the ‘Skitzo‘ tune! The A-Side on Truth’s first on Tempa provides a trippier, less dance-floor friendly look into the style, with a hypnotic vocal & pad combo that ends you up lost in your own head. The flip brings it up a notch and gets bouncy into a swingin’ minimal half-stepper. Both tracks end up being keepers, and both records are great pieces for the crate at the moment.
: Sigur Rós :
: Valtari : Parlaphone, EMI, XL : 2012 :
~ ambient, post-rock, folk, experimental, modern classical ~
“Valtari” is the band’s first original work since a break starting in 2008, and frontman Jón Þór Birgisson‘s first completely solo side project. Taking an even more ambient direction that previous works, the album is mostly movements of modern classical post-rock bliss, done only like Sigur Rós can. Gorgeously full pieces are layered with distorted bowed guitar, fluttering strings, and melancholy piano, and of course, always backed by Birgisson’s falsetto and sometimes very haunting voice. It definitely takes the right mood to set into the vibe they are thickly laying down within these pieces. ‘Varúð‘ is one of the standout selections for me on this record. The bursting fleets of pure happiness speckled across the dotted regions of joy produce such a rush that you can feel the physical side effects from the music. Climactic a bit?! Absolutely. If you’re lucky enough, they’ll be coming to your area on their US tour this summer. They provided me with two of my favorite live act shows that I’ve seen in my life, luckily, inside Benoroya Hall. Highly recommend!
: The Smashing Pumpkins :
: Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness :
: Virgin, Hut Recordings : 1995:
~ alternative rock, 1990’s ~
Need I say anything here? Not really. I don’t know why exactly I started listening to this again, but it had been YEARS, and I’m stoked I did. From the classical and subtly inviting beginning at Dawn, this double disc LP holds it’s test of time here in 2012. Absolute Classic.