Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NEW DAWN IN BASS MUSIC

Artwork – Red/2002/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5kz4JECAxQ


2002 is the year, and it marks the the dawn of something entirely new in electronic dance music. No one really knows yet, what is or what will be happening in the forthcoming decade of bassline music, some hints are given to the audience though. A handful of DJs/producers have been experimenting and messing with acoustics.

Artwork, being one of them, has played architect, split the dance sound into small blocks and rearranged them to form a whole new structure. Some funky sound has emerged. You can hear a growling, wobbly resonant bassline thudding beneath your feet with punchy rhythm structures to accompany the subs. The snare is crashing in your face heavier than ever. This sounds familiar, but not quite. This track marks a shift towards unexplored terrain in electronic dance music.


Shackleton – Stalker/2004/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjxZdl6BObc


Here the percussive, rhythmic looseness of the snare drum and hats mingling with a short human ‘breath’ vocal and claps is already more distinctive to a style and gives the track an uneasy mood. It’s as if you are walking in a dark alley, lost and confused and you can feel someone following you, at times breathing on your neck. The pitch-shifting synth bass sounds like the stalker playing hiding games in the fog behind and around you, at times revealing oneself. Hannibal Lecter singing: "Ready or not, here I come!" The rhythm section is perfectly built around the bassline, letting the track remain in constant motion. Several synth sounds put on top of the whole in the second part let the swirling atmospheres become even more tense when suddenly, an assault at the end of the alley! The Stalker has caught his prey...


Kode 9 & Spaceape – Sign of the Dub/2004/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTsEsOzStSg


This experimental one is driven by a low-end pulsating bass, like a heartbeat. Given in a proper sound system environment, that bass would make your chest expand and retract, forcing your heart beat and your lungs breathe in sync with the track. Definitely a sign of dub, a sign of sound system culture.

The deep synths and reverberant hat set above the bass just stop time, hypnotise the listener and blur his vision. It's like a flashback of some past event and you can’t get out of this everlasting moment – “sign of the times, gonna mess with your mind.” That ridiculous vocal accompanying the track keeps you in a dreamlike state, maybe even go back in time. The sound is becoming more distinctive, showing new shades and directions in bass music.


Burial – South London Boroughs/2005/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c69U3zOmwhI


Waking up from the dream, you realise, that UK bass music has yet again paved the way for new dance rhythms. The rhythmic structure has gotten more complex and syncopated. The tempo is recognisable at some 140 bpm with the track relying on the kickdrum based around the first and third beat of a bar. One hi hat on top of it all still gives the track a garage feel though.

The synths at the beginning, or the first part of the composition feel like you’re longing for, searching for that distinctive something. The humming bassline combined with the darker synths and dub FX in the second part of the track form a sonic corridor of sort, with a lazer occasionally cutting and stabbing through the walls like a machete. So you better mind not to get cut. At the end of the corridor the music starts running faster and the chase for new sounds is on – keep up with the pace.


Loefah – Root/2005/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi9aEWokniU


DMZ (Digital Mystikz) are perhaps the ones to let dubstep as a genre stand in its own right. In this trunedubstep has grown to fullness. Delays give it the dub element.. The rhythm structure as well is more evident and distinctly dubstep, with its syncopated triplets and the deep resonant sub-bassline, which now really perforates your body, driving the whole thing. You just have to stay on your feet and keep steppin’.

That half time beat structure leaves lots of space between sounds, urging the dancer to fill the blanks with movement. Most lively dub FX like the heavily reverberating snares and claps move the track further away form you, yet the bassline which resonates even more after the drop, wraps your body back into it. This is what it was all about! This is actually what we were running towards. And then you realise you are at the center of a sound system with music seemingly so slow as if it was on reduction gear, sounds heavier than a tank and people swaying under the influence of high pressure sonics.


Skream – Midnight Request Line/2005/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNAC8APZymA


Parents beware, your kids are being entirely brainwashed by these fresh sounding cutting synth tunes and that LFO sub-bass taking complete control over their neurons! Their bodies are in the custody of the DJ now and they are unwillingly jumping and going nuts like madmen, heavily sedated by the dub FX.

Typically for, say ‘more classic’ dubstep, the atmosphere of this track is quite darkside, but still somewhat meditative and danceable. The structure is common as well, incorporating an intro, a mid section after the drop and an outro after the second drop. The structure is similar to drum and bass/UK garage, making it evident, where the roots of dubstep stretch. The sound FX gives the track additional dread, like the DJ reloading his gun, pointing the barrel - gunshot, one dead, reload, gunshot, another dead, generating a killer effect. Only the most mad dancers are able to dodge the bullets. Absolute massive this one!


Digital Mystikz – Haunted/2006/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVEwXH--ZpA


Another heavyweight knockout tune from Digital Mystikz has landed here. 'Haunted' would become the bona fide slice of bottom end magic. Rollin in with some wildout dub FX, 'haunted' drops the most hummable DMZ bassline yet over a bones beat heavier than Wladimir Klitschko delivering a series of left-right-left punches in your face. Given space by a nifty use of some plundered radiophonic workshop SFX and the DMZ knowledge of how to drive the dance, this production will definitely knock you off your feet. You could barely notice Shackleton’s ‘Stalker’ approaching and it caught you. This time it’s the poltergeist, so pay special attention!


Skream – Monsoon (Loefah Remix)/2006/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gSYN--fi3k


House of flying daggers, perhaps one of the most definitve sub-continental Asian melodies in dubstep, lies too much on the fromage-step side, personally and would appeal to ladies more in my opinion. However, I am not a lady and if I was, this one would be to sit back, have a spliff or do some ironing. But hey, you have to kick some mellow ones to appeal to the girls and this will do the job just perfectly.


Shackleton – Blood on my Hands (Ricardo Villalobos’ Apocalypso Now Mix)/2007/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uphhtm1fWVY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHCcKPi2NWU


“When I see the towers fall…fall…fall…fall”…refracted through an MDMA crystal into 18 minutes of tripping minimal genius. The vocals and melody laid over the sturdy mesh of loping 4/4 rhythms intertwining themselves with blissed abandonment and loose-limbed structures. The dubwise application of micro edited sounds allows to bleed and reverberate around the rhythm making for a deliciously hypnotic and disorientating effect. Reverberant bass kicking through your chest, the filter cutoff automating slowly back and forth, surrendering the track to constant progressive nature.

Ricardo Villalobos giving a dubstep tune remixing marks the shift towards new frontiers and fusion of the style. Dubstep is no longer a style in its strict half time framework, but gives way for experimentation, which the most forwardthinking artists take advantage of. Techno producers approach their music from the dubstep angle and the dubstep producers do so vice versa. This track, definitely designed to keep you locked in the groove, again demonstrates the importance and influence of UK bass music.

“Its flesh is weak, its forms break down, it cannot last forever,” yet the 18 minutes of monotonous, minimalistic sonic structures are very controversial to the message of the vocal, the track just doesn't seem to have an end. It keeps evolving and that's the very essence of it, to hypnotise the dancer with as little as possible. It is not very different from an African tribe playing multiple percussive drums at a time and chanting – can get extatic can’t it?


Shackleton – you bring me down/2007/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNDUwZJpbKA


The tempo has risen again. Here Shackleton brings his signature sound. Again minimalistic, yet very dribbling rhythms, each element has its own, carefully calculated position in the sound field. It is not minimal in the sense that Villalobos’ mix of ‘Blood on my Hands’ – with quite few elements flowing around the the basis rhythm. Here you can hear maybe twice as many different sounds, very elaborately dripping in from different corners, and still all of them come in at just the right moment. The dribbling udu drum carries the whole rhythm section. It’s dribbling indeed, as this is what makes you forget about the loose structures of dubstep, pierces your mind and elevates you to another level.

Here we are on the very experimental frontiers of this new UK sound. Dubtep has parted from its rigidness in style, even to an extent where any resemblance in structure to drum and bass or garage is lost. The only man, who could achieve that same effect of structural ambiguity is Muslimgauze. Like Muslimgauze’s, Shackleton's sound is most tribal, hypnotic ambient driven mysticism. These many different synth atmospheres have the acoustics constantly evolving into something different, a new, unheard of world of electronics.


2562 – Channel Two/2007/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mnq2RiCKaN8


One of the most forwardthinking productions of the era. Here we are. It is peaktime of the sound system and the DJ is dropping bombs now – this is the ‘Fat Boy’. You might feel lost – what is that? The dubwise FX combined with these punchy, kicking broken beat rhythm structures can and will throw you around the dancefloor, and you can do nothing but just stand there and let it do its job.

It’s deeper than the Mariana Trench, yet the multiple synths elevate the dancer and pull him out of the uncertainty, rocket him higher than the Mount Everest - I can see now, I know now! How deep can you go dive in such an elevated atmosphere. One would simply have to be there to fully grasp what is happening. It’s tense, it’s tight, yet it's super clean and sharp as no other artist has achieved quite like 2562 and with it's metronomic hi-hats, this just sounds as if a brain surgeon handling a scalpel, carefully cutting into the dancer’s nervous system and switching to ‘DANCE’. This is cutting edge dancefloor experience.


TRG – Broken Heart (Martyn’s DCM Remix)/2008/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2ZjWiKQqV4


Have you ever had goosebumps from music? Well, if you are a person of any perception at all, this one will do just the trick – it does every time I listen to it. And if you are lucky enough, you will find yourself wiping tears on the dancefloor. That low-end bittersweet, subliminal chord section is put to work to an extent of paralising effect, forcing you to look back and reminisce on the times that were.

The original was killer, and this one mix is the murderer. Martyn here, has funked up the rave elements and pushed the chords even further old skool and the broken beats will affect anyone who stays in the way of these sonic waves perfectly complemented by the massive bassline. An atmosphere quite inexplicable – whether to dance or to sit back and pay attention – a perfect dance track.


Peverelist – Infinity is Now/2008/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuL4CWg_P74


This has been a long journey through the darkest alleys, most reverberant echo-corridors, with sounds never heard before. We have untiringly went through the lowest points on earth and hit the highest, thinking that sky is the limit. However, it is not.

This tune is another good example of mingling with techno – ‘Infinity is now’ arrives at the junction of the mechanics of Detroit, the motorik qualities of Berlin dub techno and swung UK garage rhythms combining the three into a brilliantly immersive dancefloor sensation. The rather rarefied skipping 4/4 rhythm section allows the multiple layers of synth and dub FX built around a triangular bass melody create an uplifting atmosphere high above, as high as the open cosmos – infinity indeed.

Rather than just sound system friendly bass-driven acoustics, Peverelist goes all the way for churning techno. The acid machine circling overhead covers your whole body with acoustic waves that carry you through the space and take complete hold of your sensory system. You are now perfectly locked into the groove - the groove however, represents infinity. You have reached the limit, in where no limits exist. Infinity is now.


Kode 9 – Black Sun/2009/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z0VSvu-ro0


Rippling junglist/dubstep sub-bass wrapped around a bubbling square-wave bassline and tucked under the tidiest rhythm syncopations. An unruly distorted synthline that cuts like a razor blade and owns the whole thing with a seriously ear-worming effect that will hold you captive for the entire of its duration. It's seriously smart gear. It feels like 5 and a half minutes of slow descend from your flight in dubbed out sonics, then touching ground and switching back to real time. You start to slowly regain your consciousness and be able to think back as the tameless synth pitches up again, and you are dragged reluctantly from side to side. Yet it feels perfectly safe and cushioned. It’s the bobbling bass cushioning your fall. After the 5 minute descend complete silence pervades. You are back on ground again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Malcolm Lincoln - Loaded With Zoul

Before Eesti Laul 2010, both Malcolm Lincoln and its members, Robin Juhkental and Madis Kubu, were fairly unknown. Sure, fans of "alternative" music that hardly ever gets radio air time, may fill the club Plink Plonk in Tartu without any difficulty if the band performs there, but it is highly unlikely that anyone in Kapa-Kohila would have been able to say much of anything about those boys before their TV debut.

The leader of the group, Robin Juhkental, has said that musically, a fateful moment for him was the 2003 Eurovision, which saw the participation of Vaiko Eplik and Ruffus with their ’80s phobia. This was the song that encouraged Robin to grab a guitar and put together his first band, the blues-rock-ish Tšakra. From there came Fond and Speed King with rock’n’roll and progressive sounds. But when these bands ceased to exist in spring 2009 due to a conflict between ambition and skills, Robin gave up the rock and the roll and started to write electronic music on his computer.

By autumn 2009, Robin had finished a bunch of songs, uploaded them to MySpace and given the whole project a name – Malcolm Lincoln; the name of a fictitious man who, according to a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, was the 16th President of the United States. The rest is history. Suddenly there were concerts, a verbal record deal with Vaiko Eplik’s label Mortimer Snerd, barely making it to the final round of Eesti Laul 2010, and then winning the whole thing, and finally, a recording contract with the largest record company in the whole world, Universal. And thus, Loaded With Zoul was born.

Some records need a lot of time and several listens to "deliver" the message and show their hidden gems. With these records, the songs become more and more exciting and intoxicating, and the record itself more and more enjoyable and sensuous with each listen. Malcolm Lincoln’s record is not one of them – instead, it is a burning, passionate one-night stand after which you may see each other a couple of times again, but with each time the lust becomes smaller, and eventually, a longer acquaintance may even do more harm than good. The beauty of Malcolm Lincoln is in their splendid instantaneousness; in the colourful vigorous sparks that are only there for one moment, for a fleeting but powerful tick of time.

This moment is even more powerful if it happens live at a concert – on stage, Robin and Madis transform into Karate Kid (alias Robin in a white lab coat and a black belt), and Fretless Rämbu (alias Madis in combat trousers and an A-shirt, wearing a headband). The concerts now also include a Spiderman (Vaiko Eplik) on drums. Seeing Robin’s dance moves, I am tempted to compare him to Ian Curtis and the always eclectic Kristofer Östergren but, in all fairness, his stage presence is one of a kind, and it is immensely enjoyable.

Malcolm Lincoln Tallinnas. Karate Kid ja Fretless Rämbu. Autor: Aron Urb

I would describe the overall sound of the record with the words "old school influences" and "British electronic". It mixes the retro elements of the '70s and the '80s with modern chip and 8-bit music. Whoever thought that Siren was a bunch of meaningless moaning should be extremely pleased with this record – although Siren is still included in the track listing, it is without doubt the calmest and most lyrical song on the CD.

The opening song, Loaded With Zoul, gets the party going right away. This is definitely one of those tunes that you can find humming to yourself the following morning. It starts off quite sombre, but builds with every minute and gradually becomes quite soft and drum and bass-esque "danceable". The chorus is clearly the star of the song and the "aah-aah!" is very fun to sing along. Robin’s unconventional voice, which sounds especially interesting in this song, is probably one of the things that make this record so unique. It is dramatic, moving restlessly between different octaves and gliding between different notes, but still managing to be ironic and sincere while doing it.

The first two and a half minutes quickly fly by and without a warning, the first song is over. But the following first few notes of Where Did We Loze Our Way are so powerful that they just scream for attention. This type of gloomy sound works perfectly with Robin’s tone colour. But all of a sudden, the chorus transforms into an Orelipoiss-like moaning sung in falsetto, and although the second half of the chorus is more interesting than the first one, the song itself comes off as a bit boring.

The third song, I Wanna, starts off with a rock sound, but then loses its power and abates into comfortable indie-pop. The rhythm puts a skip in your step, but the background only uses the drums and the bass, thus leaving the whole thing slightly bland. The chorus also uses the trick we heard in the last song – the melody is sung along an octave higher in falsetto, with an accuracy that is somewhat hit and miss at times.

Wake Me Up sounds a lot like the previous song and reminds me of The Cure’s Lovecats afer a few listens. This time, there is also a keyboard sound in the background, which makes the song fresher and younger, similar to Mute Math.

The beginning of song 5 sounds awesome with headphones, making you imagine that you have a small kitten purring inside your head and walking from your one ear to another. I’m Ztill Ztanding is a happy-go-lucky electronic song, which, as a change, also uses beautiful full chords ("staaaaanding here") to accompany the melody in addition to the falsetto. The listener is given hardly any time to catch his breath before the next song comes up.

Duya Duya Duya is what you get when you put two completely different songs together – the verse has a nostalgic retro-pop sound, whereas the chorus is pure electronica. This song is the longest one on the record, going on for a little more than 4 minutes; one would think that length gives the song more variation, but in all honesty, the fadeout is simply awfully long and even though the modulations are fun to listen to, the song should be about a minute shorter in order to not become repetitive.

Malcolm Lincoln Tallinnas. Spiderman. Autor: Aron Urb

FunkZhite is probably one of the most exciting songs on the CD. The "funk" part is certainly there – the rhythm is recognisable and the sound is warmer than in the rest of the songs. Nevertheless, this funk is still in that unmistakeable "Robin" key; it combines elements in several different genres and has a very interesting vocal sound. Compared to the previous song, this one is like a breath of fresh air and, ironically, should be at least a minute longer.

Danz and Wadz Da Cloudz mixes old school drums and chip music. The song sounds like something Jacko would do; it has a simple but powerful chorus that is sure to stick in your mind. If you listen to it (too) carefully and/or too many times, it begins to drag and get boring, but it is a great dance song nonetheless.

Similar dance rhythms continue in song 9, Uu Monica. This song probably has the most club music potential and gets all the black girls to shake their booty. Nevertheless, I would like to see it build up and evolve a bit more. The soft sound is fitting if you listen to Uu Monica and Siren (which is the next one in line, anyway) in a row, but as an individual song, listened to separately, Uu Monica could benefit from more power.

Siren is definitely the most well-known song on the whole CD. It has this certain "something" that can only be felt but not described, and its video is perfect for the general tone. Like a lover, it pulls you in with its charms, flirts with you, seduces you, and finally you fall head over heels with its cold, haunting sound. Siren is one of the most brilliant songs on the record, despite the fact that it has a totally different sound compared to everything else, only a hint of drums, and no bass whatsoever.

The next song is, again, something completely different compared to the previous one. Body of Da Chrizt obviously takes some elements from d’n’b, yet, genre-wise, still borders on indie-pop. It is an interesting combination to say the least. The bridge reminds me of an old Estonian song of which the title, for the life of me, I cannot remember right now – something by Onu Bella, perhaps?

The last song, Found a Way, has a surprisingly Elvis-like sound which ties the whole record together. The background sounds are intriguing; occasionally it feels as if someone was vigorously moving their spoon around in a teacup, trying to melt the sugar there. It is a great song, do not get me wrong, but the structure is pretty much the same as in several previous songs – drums, bass, melody, backed by falsetto ... After 12 songs this starts to get old.

In brief, a bit more effort should have gone into the arrangement and the production of the songs. The eager use of falsetto is probably meant to add to the humour, but without more flesh on the bones, it stops being funny and starts getting boring after a while. Juhkental has said that since his voice is his main instrument, his main focus is exactly on that in his songs, but the instrumental part could be improved as well. Indeed, there is a lot of vocal acrobatics, and it is awesome to occasionally hear ten Robins sing at the same time, but some more change and variation and dynamics, please! Of course, this may just be my problem; after all, I fully admit and understand that Malcolm Lincoln’s debut album is a decently ironic intellectual disco of/for the consumer society.

Anyhow, before you start listening to this record, wait for a sunny weather and be in a good mood so you can dance while listening to it. The album as a whole is quite eclectic and surely will not appeal to everybody, but it is still a fine effort within its own field. Both the group itself and both of its members are still quite young, so there will be plenty of time to develop and improve the next record. Despite the huge success and popularity of Siren, Malcolm Lincoln will most definitely not be "the band who sang Siren on Eurovision" forever.

Foals - Antidotes

kodutööstus

What are the two greatest things that have happened to modern rock music during the last 60 years. Two simple events our inventions that have done more then anything else in the world to push the boundaries. Whilst shaping the musical landscape that we all are a part of? Could it be the much fetishised birth of punk in 1977. The year when Sex Pistols bust into the public consciousness whilst oozing the primitive energy of early rock and roll. That had been lost under the multilayered song structures of 1970´s prog rock behemoths and cosmic exploration of the LSD influenced psychonauts from San Francisco during the second half of the 1960´s. Our could the revolutionary object be not a musical movement but and instrument. Like the Ronald 808 and 909 drum machines that helped to lay the foundation for modern hip hop and electronic music. By bending beats to the will of the producer and helping noise achieve it’s purest form. Our the Gibson Les Paul model the choice axe for any up and coming guitar hero. Who has ever dreamt about playing huge stadiums in front of tens of thousands of people. Whilst a cigarette tangles from the corner of the mouth for that essential to cool to give a fuck attitude. As good as these candidates are none of theme can be considered as the ultimate best thing that has happened to music during the last 60 years.

No the best things that have happened to music during last decades are heroin and intra band feuding which usually leads to uttermost hatred towards one another. Before dismissing these claims as some nonsensical ramblings of a music critic dreamed up in the during the bright summer night. Somewhere between 3 and 4 in the morning. Let’s look at the facts that support this claim. Whilst cocaine and weed can help a rock star unwind after a hard days work they are hardly the most inspirational of drugs. One makes you a hyper active brat unable to finish a single idea. Whilst the other makes even the crappiest piece of melody sound like the opening chords to the best single ever. Whilst albums and song made about our under the influence of heroin are almost always brilliant. Ministry recorded their landmark albums Psalm 69 and Filth Pig whilst Al Jourgensen was becoming/had become a full blown addict. Just One Fix wouldn´t be nearly as good description of a junkie life hadn’t uncle Al conducted his experiments with the needle. And let’s face it William Burroughs dosen´t befriend with no straight edge bands. Neil Young was inspired by the heroin overdose of Danny Whitten to record Tonight's The Night one of his best albums. Without the magical powers of diacetylmorphine the would have been no Dirt arguably the greatest grunge record ever made and no Nevermind doesn't count. When it comes to intra band fighting nothing is a better motivator for a musicians then being in a studio with people you don’t like. When band members like each other they tend to spend long hours in a studio without achieving anything worthwhile. But when hate is introduced everything changes. Parts are played with passion and effective speed just to get out of there as soon as possible. Members of Faith No More never liked each other but left behind a body of work essential for the developing of alternative metal. Who’s fistfights and shouting matches were legendary and thanks to them we now have Quadrophenia, Who’s Next and Live in Leeds. But can these two revolutionaries of music help a critic write a better reviews? An interesting question to say the least.

If a critic is forced to review a new album by a band he truly despises with every cell in his body whilst being high as a kite. He should be able to produce the ultimate review capable of exposing a band for what it is. There have been such writers capable of unmasking the talentless hacks for what they really are. Nod to the legendary Lester Bangs and Nick Kent one takes a bow. The music press might hype a band but these new revolutionary reviews show what they are really like. Exposing the so called visionaries as nothing more then run of the mil indie bands who have just found a way to use an effects pedal in a fascinating way. Which brings as nicely to this moment and ''Antidotes'' the debut album by Foals. One might expect a barrage of vitriolic hate aimed at the Foals to start any minute. Describing them as a another no good over hyped indie band. That the music press has been cramming thrown our throats for who knows how many years. Followed by a few choice words about Antidotes and the people who buy and listen to records like it.. But I’m not high nor to I feel any hatred our vitriolic anger towards them. Yes they do look like a bunch of art school drop outs. Who have read every existential French novel that has been published and were forever changed by the knowledge contained there. Yes all the guitar players have broken the rule of rock nr 34:'' You shall not use a extra small guitar strap so that the instrument rest just below you chin´. Unless you play funk and it’s the 1970´s.'' This is of course connected with Rule of rock nr 8:'' Don’t play funk. Don’t even joke about playing funk.'' Weird and artsy videos are the norm for indie bands so there is no point in getting pissed about that and accuse the band of being pretentious. No compared to Vampire Weekend every other indie band at the moment isn't pretentious. This would be great place to go completely off topic and vent ones anger about Vampire Weekend maybe hurl an insult our two but this review isn’t about them. Maybe later when the mood is right.

Despite the mentioned problems Antidotes is a good afternoon early evening relaxation record. That one puts on before sitting down with a good book to read whilst quietly nodding ones head to the rhythm of the music. Anybody who describes Foals as math rock and to difficult to relax to. Has either a really short attention span our has never heard of math rock. Antidotes is a lot of thing but one thing it isn't is math rock. First single ''Balloons'' which is built around a droneing synth riff has more in common with countless indie pop records then with say the collective works of Don Caballero. In fact the saxophones and trumpets heard in the chorus make one wonder if this isn't in fact a b-side to some 90´s third wave ska-punk bands single. So vivid are the illusions of sunny beaches with rolling waves brought on by the sound of the horns. The split personality inspired ''Cassius'' takes the ska fantasies to its logical conclusion, attacking the listeners horns form every angels possible. Olympic Airways re-introduces the straight forward indie sound back to music abandoning horns, weird guitar effects and looping synth sounds. ''Olympic Airwaves'' is probably the most straight forward pop song on the album. That given the right short a push even the most mainstream music fan can fall in with. The one that maybe buys 2 - 3 albums a year and goes to gigs not because he’s a hardcore fan but because the press release made it out to be a event no one should miss. ''Two Steps. Twice'' once again introduces weirder sound scapes, choirs and intensive percussion. Creating a soft sensory overload in the listener. Faced with this kind of cascading wall of sound it’s easy to see why the producer Dave Steiks carried a gun during the recording of the album. Not so much to protect himself form possible robbers he might encounter on the streets. But it was probably the only way to stop band members adding new elements to the songs. Album closer ''Tron'' dose what many indie band have done during the last couple of years by embracing techno. Thus doing proud do the futuristic imagery of the Disney sci - fi movie it shares it's name with. Before returning to the horns, weird synth loops and guitar effects that can be found anywhere else on album. One might criticize the repetitive almost moronic lyrics that have more in common with the easiest of nursery rhymes then with deep insightful poetry. But considering that lyrics are the weak point of many of the modern indie bands. Hey Bloc Party hasn’t written a good lyric since the first album. But that hasn't stopped them form making some of the most enjoyable music of the last 5 years,. So in all fairness we should let Foals slide on this issue. All in all Antidotes is a fairly decent indie dance record with pones to art influenced experimentation. Nothing revolutionary our particular new. But also nothing that makes you want to introduce an axe to your stereo system when you might hear it. Perhaps only time will tell watch places Antidotes will be held in the history of modern music.

Deerhunter - Microcastle

Mariliis Mõttus



The four-piece indiewonder Deerhunter, officially generating their ideas under the creative skies of the almighty USA and mostly operating on the realms of noise pop, ambient, shoegaze or some other music genres that make you seem super sophisticated only by mentioning them, has so far released two EPs and three LPs, Microcastle being the latest of the latter. Frontman Bradford Cox, who has also received much critical acclaim with his solo project Atlas Sound (which actually sounds almost the same as Deerhunter ), has described the backgrounds of some of the songs from their previous LP Cryptograms as written „to create an atmosphere in which the listener is dreaming he or she is dead and the experience of death feels like reality“, „to reflect the acid trip he experienced, seeing his friends in the golden spring light in the hallway“ or „to recall an encounter with a hippy kid who sold him counterfeit acid when he was a teenager, insisting that Cox was not open-minded enough for the drug to affect him“. Seems like a pretty acidic album indeed and listening to Microcastle does not give much of an impression that Cox and the company have left the territories of the acid wonderland.
On Microcastle, the collective seems to be balancing between two extremities- firstly, hyperflegmatic melodies and secondly, more faster and aggressive style. The opener "Cover Me (Slowly)", which actually sounds more like a closer to me, is so trippy and slow, reaching to the brief culmination of distorted and jiggling sounds in last twenty seconds, that at some moments the suspicion arises that you are THE Bradford Cox doing THE acid. The title track "Microcastle" has the same construction. First, it uses mild and echoing vocals, almost forcing to fall asleep, but then striking with a sudden drum and guitar attack, this time much more powerful than in „Cover Me (Slowly)“. One of the most beautiful songs on the album, "Green Jacket" with its massively depressive melody and eerie vocals of Cox would definitely be on the soundtrack dedicated to the end of the world, along with the Fuck Buttons of course.
But as mentioned before, Deerhunter does not only function as a sleeping pill that provides you with beautiful abstract dreams, but also as a band from whose concert you may even leave with a black eye, probably because the band played "Nothing Ever Happened" and the crowd lost control. „Nothing Ever Happened“ is the most energetic and definitely the best song of the album that kicks in with a concrete drum beat, soon intertwining with the fuzzy guitars and then proceeding with an enigmatic melody and lyrics: „Nothing ever happened to me. Life's just passing flash right through me“. Other highlights from the section of not-that-flegmatic are "Never Stops" and "Agoraphobia" which sounds, despite of the name referring to a fear of public places, so sweet and mild that it is more likely to be a love song. Deerhunter seems to be eager to write depressive or gloomy lyrics and combine them with melodies that do not sound that depressive at all. Take "Little Kids", for instance, which melody hints that nobody is about to die afterall, but then listen to the lyrics and what do you get: „Kids drinking gin on the, the front lawn. The kids see that man walking down the dirt road. These kids see the sky and they think of him dressed in flames. Kids walk behind, slowly stalk, that old man. These kids followed him to his shed. Where he turns on the radio and smokes a cig. These kids come with gasoline and they strike a match“.
Two songs at the end of the Microcastle, which I cannot forget to mention as they are once again one of my favorites, perfectly represent the ability of music to paint a picture in one's head - one of them being "Neither Of Us, Uncertainly" with its shimmering sounds and "Twilight At Carbon Lake" that ends Microcastle with an explosive and beautiful culmination.
For the music critic, Deerhunter's Microcastle is definitely a paradise, not only because of the music that is so multilayered, but also due to the fact that all such favorite words as atmospheric, spacey, dreamy, ethereal, hypnotic, druggy, etc etc. can be used in the review and true it is that these kind of connotations are unavoidable. Microcastle is an album where some songs might catch the attention with a first listen, but some take ages to grow. Still, I consider Microcastle as a masterpiece – interesting, beautiful and peculiar.


NB! My apologies for the YouTube links only.
Alo Ailt

Seasick Steve

Dog House Music

First time I heard about Seasick Steve was strangely when he was in an episode of “Top Gear” and I happened to see it while my friend was watching it. Steve immediately captured my interest – this old guy with an epic beard, who looks and dresses like a hobo (to be honest, he has been one once) with a ragged guitar, which looks like it could fall apart any moment, with only had three strings on it (three-string trance wonder as he calls it) playing at the same time the most honest, brutal and even beautiful music I`d ever heard.

As I found out later, Seasick Steve is perhaps one of the most intriguing rags to riches stories of the 21st century. Born in Oakland, California, Steve Wold left home at the age of 14 and never looked back. He's done a bit of everything career wise, from driving ambulances to picking fruit and even producing records. Even after settling down (Seasick Steve has been married for 25 years) he's continued a nomadic lifestyle; he and his wife have lived in 56 houses in 25 years. Dog House Music was originally released in the UK in 2006, selling over 200,000 copies and landing at #1 on the Indie Charts on three separate occasions. He's been featured on Jools Holland's Hootenany, performed in Royal Albert Hall and even been nominated for a Brit Award for Best International Male along with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Neil Diamond and Beck.

The album “Dog House Music” is enchantingly lo-fi. Both in production, quality and instrumentation, and this is, in my opinion, exactly the way blues should be recorded – naked and honest, simple and raw. Recorded entirely by Seasick Steve in a shack in Mississippi, “Dog House Music” screams for authenticity. Even when listening to mp3-s you can almost imagine the scratch of a vinyl-player needle just like listening to some old record by Howlin Wolf or J.J Cale.

The atmosphere on the record is really quite something else – Steve conjures up authentic Southern atmosphere with his voice and three-string trance wonder (and on one track the one-stringed diddley bow) only, the instrumentation is at its bare minimal. The whole album is full of sounds not related to music: unplugging of an amp, lighting a cigarette, coughing - all adding to the atmosphere. He combines his singing with chatting, mumbling, jamming, tapping and strumming. The first song “Yellow dog” already throws the gauntlet down for the listener - this is real down and dirty blues. Steve sings from a lifetime of experience on the road and on the run, all of which he has been through: “left home 'fore I was 14 years of age; I figured I'd do better on my own/But then followed eleven years of bumb'lin' around and livin' kinda hand-in-mouth/Sometimes gettin' locked up an' somet- sometimes just goin' cold and hungry/I didn't have me no real school education, so what in the hell what I was gonna be able to do?” He is as much as a storyteller as he is a singer – here is man with something to say and the ability to say it well. When all too often - especially in the blues world - the song is just the thing that gets you from solo to solo, this old school approach is welcome indeed. As with 'Cheap', we even get a track that's all story and no song, but since once again it's a helluva a story and told by a natural story teller, it's welcome.

One thought that constantly crossed my mind when listening to this album: it wish I was sitting on a rocking chair, wrinkling my brow in the scorching heat, listening to some crickets singing and chewing on a long bit of straw while sipping some bourbon. Seasick is an honest guitarist, storyteller and songwriter whose simple truths resonate from beginning to end in Dog House Music.

Slash`s Snakepit - Ain`t Life Grand

Alo Ailt

Slash`s Snakepit

Ain`t Life Grand

A review

First of all – I like Slash (or Saul Hudson, as his mother called him), I really do. He has remained dignified where some of his former band mates have not (I`m looking at you Axl Rose and Scott Weiland), he has not sold out (although he has dangerously veered to that side of the road from time to time) and most importantly - he has remained cool – the true epitome of a rock star: unbroken, unbendable, with Les Paul in his hands, sunglasses in front of his eyes, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, still looking like he could bring home an army of groupies every night (would he not be married and a father of two, mind you). The man is a living legend, a rock`n`roll god, awesome riffs flowing out from his guitar non-stop with an aura that`ll sweep you off your feet. That said, I must admit I was quite optimistically minded when approaching Slash`s Snakepit – it`s Slash for god`s sake, what could go wrong?

From the very first bar of the first song I could see I was not mistaken – a loud riff with drums like thunder, lead singer jumping in with “woooaaaahhh”. Hell yes! This is what I`m talking about! High-octane blues-hard-rock is exactly my cup of earl grey. And things do not slow down – the song comes at you like a speeding train. Actually most of the album gives you this kind of impression with moments of serenity here and there only to return to loud riffs once again. It is quite obvious that this album draws from a lot of sources, covering a variety of feels and nodding to numerous inspirations – Jeff Beck, Aerosmith. Jazz, cabaret-music and straight-out metal parts are mixed in a way only Slash could write them. Fun fact: the material appearing on this album was actually rumored to have been written for Guns`n`Roses, before Axl`s ego pushed the rest of the members away. Quite obvious actually, when listening the album from this perspective.

Rod Jackson – the lead vocalist has to be complemented, his throaty, expressive, and resonant voice fits this kind of music perfectly. He is not afraid to take a song and make it his own, at the same time not forgetting the others. Yes, his lyrics are as cheesy as they get, fit for Aerosmith and such, without any deep thought behind them. “Just got in today, landed in the USA/Hitched a ride on a rocket from the Milky Way”? Uh… okay then. But the fact is that this is exactly what this album needs. It is not a sophisticated album in any sense, it is not meant to be listened with a glass of wine, sitting next to a fireplace on a dark autumn evening and thinking about the meaning of life. On the contrary– it`s a born and true party album, meant for getting drunk to, dancing to, getting laid to, pumping your fist to, meant to be played loud and proud.

The most interesting track? “Serial killer”, without a doubt. The comparisons to Queen have been made about every band once in a while but I believe that this epic track truly deserves it – integrating a wide array of instruments and jumping from mood to mood, from different texture to different texture, having a choir on the background. It doesn`t quite reach the operatic heights of Queen, but this is Slash`s Snakepit afterall and exactly how it should be.

In conclusion - Structured? Yes. Formulaic? Yes. But listen to the title track and just try to say ‘No’. Quite impossible, there is only a one-way ticket for this ride.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Märt Niidassoo

Usually when I start to listen to a band, which I have never heard, I try to gather a little bit of information about it, in order to better understand the music. The few things I get from Wikipedia are - Brooklyn, experimental rock, first came to attention in 2007, this is their second album and so on. I’m thinking “Meh”. Nowadays, almost everybody in the “not popular” genre calls themself experimental just to hide their incapability to produce proper music or wanting to seem more interesting. So even before putting the “needle on the record,” I have low hopes. I’m writing it, as I listen, so let’s see what I think in the end.

The first drum sequence in The Children I hear, starts to slowly pull me inside Yeasayer’s music like a pack of trolls mining for sounds from years back and mixing them from stuff that still hasn’t been recorded yet. To give an example, I would say it’s something like Massive Attack doing a remix of Divine Styler’s electro hip-hop song from the year 2000, “Sound Quest” after doing illicit drugs for the past three days. So obviously, I like it. I’m off to a good start.

After listening to the first song for about 15 times, I’m ready to move on. Next is Ambling Alp. It starts with similar glooming ambient samples as the previous song. When the music starts, I detect some synth sounds from 80s pop and the vocal sounds like it’s coming from the same era. Then BOOM! When the tempo rises and the climax of the song arrives, I get a feeling, I have been Rick Rolled but in a good way. I can’t say that this song reminds me of my childhood because I was born in 88 and by then the 80s were over. What I can say is that if I invented a time machine and went back to the 80s, I would definitely suggest my mother to listen to this song instead of drooling over the singers from Modern Talking.

For me the third song Madder Red is a mixture of Gorillaz’ “Demon Days” album and some of The Beatles’ work. It’s a very light song with string guitars and soft vocals sometimes adding a bit rougher electric guitars. This song reminds me of a hangover where you don’t actually feel sick but are a bit tired. You wake up, the sun is out and you know you’re not going to accomplish anything today. You go into the kitchen to make yourself some coffee while experiencing some mild headaches, which the electric guitar riffs represent perfectly. You get your coffee, turn off your phone and watch TV all day long.

I Remember’s beginning reminds me Vaiko Eplik & Eliit’s songs. It’s like a dream from which you wake up and the only thing you know is that in it you saw the love of your life but you can’t remember her face. It gives you the warm feeling you feel when you just finished a four hour long ride in a train on a sunny day watching the forests pass by. Although it’s a great song, it leaves you wanting for something more. It sounds more like an intro or a skit in a record. It’s like a beginning of a song that never starts. The end of the song comes so suddenly that you don’t even notice it.

ONE picks up the tempo. Its drums have some similarities to pop music while still maintaining the 80s feel. This song would suit perfectly on the soundtrack of Lion King. If you close your eyes, you can imagine a scene where Simba is running around in the jungle as a young lion cub. The other thing I notice is how in certain parts it sounds a lot like Martin Solveig. I can imagine dancing to it in a retro party so it serves its pop song role while also giving something to the alternative listener. Baby, where halfway done.

The other half kicks of with the song Love Me Girl. I don’t even know how to describe this song. It starts quietly with a soft synth, a quick piano loop and a kick drum that gives you the feeling like it’s going to be some sort of techno song. Then it starts to tease you with some “breakish” beats, not giving away anything what’s going to come next. It even gives you a nice little surprise with a guitar. The synth samples are quirky throughout the song, so another song to raise your mood.

Rome has many sounds that remind me of Chalice. The 4/4 beat makes you want to jump around and as I can see, Odd Blood is winding up the tempo giving you something to dance to. So if you have chilled listening to the album until this point, the party must start. As the lyrics in Rome say “It’s just a matter of time”. Although still a good song, it’s technically one of the weaker ones up until now. I would suggest to play this song to your mainstream friends - it’s easier to listen.

Strange Reunion has a kind of an Indian feel to it. The claps and clashing drums have been brought to the front and the vocal has been sent to the back. If I didn’t know what I was listening to, wouldn’t have guessed it’s Yeasayer. This song differs from the 80s style and it’s like a breath of fresh air before crossing the finish line. The main plus for me are the UFO like synths in the middle and the sitar like samples. Very Zen.

Mondergreen is a song that incorporates so many different styles into it, you have to listen it again and again just to single them all out. You have claps that sound like funk. You have synths that have been taken straight from Daft Punk’s repertoire. The vocals remind me of Elvis. Suddenly you hear saxophones straight from James Brown’s concert that are playing together with a guitar played by Jimi Hendrix with a crappy amp. Some parts of the song even give you a sample sounding like Prodigy. So this song has it all.

The album ends with Grizelda. This song sounds just like a last song should. It winds you down with its simplicity. A little bit of piano, some quiet futuristic sounds repeating in the background, soft vocals and a falsetto voice screaming “yeah-yeah-yeah” throughout the song. Quietly leading the album to its end and sending the listener home thoroughly relaxed and satisfied.

So let’s sum it all up. Yeasayer has created a very creative album giving something to every type of listener. Having not heard very much music lately, it’s very refreshing to have listened Odd Blood. Still an album can’t be all good. The songs individually are all great but listening to them all in one run with thought might get somewhat dull, because the style starts to repeat. The lyrics also started to get bland in some places. Still, it’s a great album to listen in the background. Yeasayer has picked a very nice decade to draw its inspiration from, as the synth sounds of the 80s are becoming more and more popular among the younger crowd. Maybe that’s why the Odd Blood sounds so fresh, the music on the album hasn’t been done actively for over 20 years. Who said funk, rock, punk and electronic music can’t coexist peacefully on one album.

So for the score on the scale from one to five:

Music: ★★★★★
Complexity: ★★★★
Lyrics: ★★★★
Freshness: ★★★★★

Final score: ★★★★ with a pinch of ★

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Townes Van Zandt - "Townes Van Zandt"

Merli Kirsimäe



"The best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." - Steve Earle


Okay, the first listen. June 12. About 01:10 a.m. Thought number one: Why isn’t this in a Tarantino movie yet? (Or is it?) Thought number two: Where the hell have I been living? Thought number three: I must play this to my mother. Thought number four: Jeez, this is great. And so on. By the time I got to about the seventh song, it had started to rain real hard outside and it sort of fit in. I fell asleep right after the album was over and the thing that I found myself humming in the morning was this.


How should one review an album which has such a weighty sentence attached to it? I could, of course, ignore it, but then again, it is hard to do, once you have already read it and now you kind of… just cannot ignore it. What I could do, is see if there is a possibility for me to agree. One thing was certain, I did not want to do any research on him, just listen to the songs the way they are and see what connections might crop up. So this is what the review will be like, only the things that the songs themselves inspire me to write, not his life-story, the background for the songs or what anyone else might have once said about him (except for the Steve Earle quote).


Indeed, “For the Sake of the Song” (or, as it appeared, quite a number of the songs on the album) could perfectly find its spot on a Tarantino soundtrack, next to Rick Nelson’s “Lonesome Town” and Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting for the Miracle”. I would not really like to label this music with any genres, but I guess country/folk/blues wouldn’t probably be too much of a miss. If I were better familiar with Johnny Cash I would possibly be tempted to compare these two, but I am not. I’m not sure who to compare him to, to be honest, and I’m not sure I even should. Bob Dylan certainly does not come to mind, for some reason. Townes Van Zandt sounds… he just sounds… sincere. Sincere must be the word I’m looking for.


He is a story-teller. And I love story-telling. This is slowly becoming too much of a rare thing in music, because long songs are apparently too long for too many and somehow it seems that most stories are also rather long. But one does not necessarily have to make a story-song lengthy – “Waiting Around to Die” is only 2:43 (and actually most of the songs on the album are somewhere near 3 minutes). The Eagles’ “Hotel California” of course comes near 7 minutes, but who is to judge a song, if a song wants to be 7 minutes long (and does not become boring at that). But yes, story-telling, it sort of shines through this album. And because of that, The Decemberists come to mind – there still are those who dare to tell stories. Fortunately.


There are also two longer songs on the album, both 5:20, the already-mentioned “For the Sake of the Song” and “Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel”. I don’t know why, but these two are my favourites. Yes, I guess it really is delicate, complicated art to write longish songs that do not get tedious. “Fare Thee Well” has a chorus which makes me wait for it after every verse even more and more. The songs are simple, and that’s what they charm with. They are sincere, simple and pure. They invoke some kind of bittersweet nostalgia. The image that my mind has formed of him is a slightly bearded man in jeans and a check shirt walking along the highway with his guitar on his back, hitchhiking and playing in random bars to earn some money. Quite a stereotype, eh. Maybe he was the one who started it or maybe I’m terribly wrong. I don’t want to consult Wikipedia, let him stay that way, for a while at least.


Oh and there is the perfect Elizabethan neoplatonic love-sonnet (okay, not in the form of a sonnet, but content-wise) on the album, too. (And yes, I have quite recently been studying for the English literature exam.) “(Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria” reads like it has been written by a 20th century Sindey: “Ah, the sculptor stands stricken and the artist he throws away his brushes when her image comes dancin' the sun she turns sullen with shame…” Elizabeth would be proud.


I am absolutely enchanted, I admit, and I also admit my inability to be properly critical about music that I like. I sure am glad I discovered him now that the summer is slowly unrolling, it makes me want to gather up my friends and go camping in South Estonia. Or Texas, no difference. Wander in a meadow and pick flowers and make daisy chains and see “how soft the time flies past your window at night”. He will definitely be on my soundtrack for this summer.


I don’t know whether I should apologise for not providing a nice overview of the album which is only about half an hour long. One has to find out for oneself, as they say. For now, I still must say that Nick Drake was the best songwriter in the whole world and stand on whoever wishes’ coffee table in my (non-existent) cowboy boots to say that. But who knows what the future might have in store for me, Townes may make it to my songwriters’ top five in the very near future.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Current 93 - Black Ships Ate the Sky

Siim Kera


Ricky: “I was filming this dead bird.”
Angela: “Why?”
Ricky: “Because it's beautiful.”

“American Beauty”


With an album name like „Black Ships Ate the Sky” it was not hard to misthink that Current 93 may just be Explosions in the Sky rip-off band filled with wuss-musicians who read Camus and pleasure themselves while watching „Un Chien Andalou”. Well, good for me, I was wrong as doggone Tiger Woods.

Current 93 and Explosions in the Sky, while making completely different genres of music, share at least one same ground. They are both apocalyptical. Soundtrack to watching how the world slowly-slowly fades, but Texas post-rockers from Explosions in the Sky are way more hopeful than mournful folk behind the name Current 93. David Tibet is the only permanent member of the band, but there is always huge amount of contributors who help David to create his gloomy music that since 1984 has been released on over thirty albums and handful of EP’s. That IS mad.

Among others, “Black Ships Ate the Sky” includes cult singer/songwriter Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the Soft Cell frontman Marc Almond who gave their voice to the methodist hymn “Idumæa”. Song that has 8 (!) different versions on the album. “Idumæa” is the best worst nightmare you have never had. It is haunting, it’s eerie and it will come back to haunt from night to night (or after one or two songs). “Idumæa” is the axe murderer who will kill you from dream to dream when you’re sleeping. At first you will wake up, shaking and covered with sweat, but you will get used to it and the slaughterer becomes your buddy. Your only friend. You will start to love his bloody Al Borland-like flannel shirt and his killer eyes. The 8 different versions are not exactly listener-friendly at first, but it works, because when your thoughts start to drift away from the music, there is this first line of the hymn that hits you with an axe, makes you pay the attention again: “And am I born to die?”.

Most of the album is filled with acoustic guitars. Of course, there are occasional other instruments like violins, banjos, pianos etc, but possibly the greatest song on the album has one of the wickest and simplest distorted guitar rhythms that just digs a tunnel through your head - even if you don’t want it. Noisy lo-fi with lyrics like “I would die for you now”, It is track 19th and it shares name with the album. If you add the weirdly magnificent guitar solo and the honesty and madness from David’s vocal effort (that almost sounds David Yow-esque), you get what it sounds to go crazy in Novosibirsk. Yes, IT sounds like Siberia! Actually, most of the album appears as that. Empty, cold and all possible synonyms for “sad” and “gloomy”, but at the same time beautiful. Tale of a man who is going mad.

“Sunset (The Death of Thumbelinna)" is another highlight, a catchy acoustic guitar tune accompanied by beautiful cello (?). At least one song that you could play to your parents without them thinking that you may kill yourself in the next few days. But hey, forget the highlights, album works nice as a whole. It flows smoothly and though it is hard to listen to, because it clocks’s at 76 minutes, it is still quite rewarding. Nice death music and I feel slightly distracted that I like it.

This piece is not exactly what you would play at your wedding, but I would truly respect couple who would want “Black Ships Ate the Sky” to be soundtrack of their (supposedly) greatest day of the life. Sorry, Mark Kozelek, but Current 93 is even creepier than your Red House Painters track “Lord Kill the Pain”. I bet that Ian Curtis would be in the first row at the Current 93 gigs if he still were alive. Sad is good. Don’t you kill yourself, David. There will be gloomy bands you want to see in thirty years from now.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

5 June 2010

Aare Undo

Ans. Andur „Kiletron“ review

The band Ans. Andur was formed in a small town called Paide. The group got together when two other bands called Rooza Öökull and PillSkill fell apart and it consists of Mihkel Kirss, Madis Kirss, Gert Pajuväli and Madis Aesma. It is an electro-oriented band with shades of pop, rock and alternative music. Quite a number of confusing elements that are bound to offer diversity yet again. But how does it deliver? Kiletron is their third and to date last album.

The album starts off with a song titled (1.) Reede. The title is promising, had high hopes of something that I could lose myself into, but I was left emotionless. The song is about going to a party, but it sounds a bit too depressing for that (and do not get me wrong, I can absolutely enjoy a depressing song). The next song goes by the name (2.) Start Stopp which turned out to be one of my favourites of the album. Magnificent rhythm with vocals I could grasp. Furthermore (3.) Melodraama is a song which I expected to be slower and more dramatic, but they added a nice twist by making this song one that is rhythmic and cheerful. Then comes

(4.) Praha Kevad, a song from which I also expected much, and I was not let down. Contains a reference to Prague’s spring of 1968 and how things have changed since then, the rhythm and tone elements are also fitting for a song as such. Whereas (5.) Mu Binoklis completely changes the tragic view of the last song, being a bit more country-like, something that could be put into the movie Smokey and the Bandit. Moreover, (6.) 100 reminds me much of Vennaskond’s Maailma Hümn, only a bit slower and with a dominating midi keyboard sound. (7.) Marko Kristal is a purely instrumental piece. A slow song, sounds beautiful and meaningful. But thenagain, it is a kind of song that would fit into The Sims as background music. In the song

(8.) Ester the vocalist kept saying „Ester, Ester /.../“ whereas the rest of the song escaped from me due to silent vocals. But the song had a fast rhythm that would definitely cause hippies of the 21st century to dance J. (9.) Puhkepäev talks about the joys of a day off. The song delivers mixed messages – It makes me want to stay in bed for the day, but it is rhythmic and on the other hand wakes me up and makes me want to activities on my day off, but either way, it is a song that that cannot leave a person emotionless. (10.) Sügisene Meloodia is a slow, a jazz-like song. It sounds like a song which would be really meaningful, but I cannot quite get it, leaving me feeling empty and uneasy. Now (11.) (Sa olid mu viimase leveli) Lõpuboss is a song that really got to me. Since I have spent a portion of my life gaming, this is quite possibly one of the most attractive song titles ever. But the song itself had a too dominating empty midi keyboard sound, vocals start half-way into the song and the meaning escapes me yet again. I also suppose they sampled some music from Super Mario Brothers. (12.) Suhkur is definitely the best songs to end the album with. Obviously the „out of sugar“ metaphor has some kind of deep meaning, but it is fun to listen to even without grasping it.

Now, to take the album as a whole, I found that it offers quite a lot of diversity – offers songs movingly deep to foot-tappingly rhythmic. Genres reach from basic electro and indie to rock and even country. One of the main flaws would be the quite-often-silent vocals and undecipherable wordplay. My personal dislike is the often too much dominating midi keyboard sound. But all in all it must be said that a new band from a small town has made quite a name for itself with its previous albums and this one, offering something for different musical tastes

NOTE: Yes, I do realise that that this might sound somewhat like my first review, but without knowing I picked a somewhat similar band.