Sunday, March 23, 2014

Static Metal

Can an instrumental album describe a dystopian world? I think it can, and an example of this is The Geeky Disco Experiment's Static Metal.  A cohesive collection of sound collage and ominous simple melody, it reflects an increasingly difficult world rendered in sound. Unafraid of being dissonant, it's sonic imagery calls up visions of things falling apart, of clockwork menace clicking along, threatening to break down.

The opening cut, Electric Future Collective is such a vision. Using only six samples as a base it lumbers along, building the story of a mechanical future, biology all gone and replaced with an unfeeling artificial intelligence. A strong opening that states the themes of the album. It reinforces the idea of dystopia for me, and was an excellent choice for the first cut.  

The artist describes the album as growing out of an impetus to create using metallic and static sounds, with the definition of static here likely a double entendre, meaning both unmovable and noise. He often uses piano tones as a melodic device, big ominous and simple, blending with noise bursts and clicking metallic beats. It provides focus on many of the tracks. Dissonance is a tool here too, contrasting and complimenting the simple melodies and beats.

The title cut Metal Static hits you with an atemporal burst of noise, a long one at that. This reinforces the idea on this album that these pieces are not necessarily intended to be enjoyable.  That is not to say that they are not listenable, and  the dissonance created is a weave of sound that interacts and interferes with itself interesting ways. Perhaps not for the ears of a casual music listener, but gives an active listener plenty of things to consider.

Drunk Zarathustra builds from a simple rhythmic pulse . It ads a warm bass to reinforce, then builds to a huge conclusion, using tones that remind one of a drill. Again our metallic theme plays out. This cut seems to exemplify much of the collection, and is an excellent single example of the ideas presented.

T.F.A.L. rounds out the collection, and includes a rare vocal, a chant of the existential, which sits neatly in the mix, providing a focus for the infectious rhythm bed. Surely this is a track not to be missed, like the album itself.

Geeky Linkies: @13LFO on Twitter, and The Geeky Disco Experiment on Bandcamp.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Good Fight XE

Sometimes we find a release we'd missed, and then wonder how we'd missed it. For me this year, I'd have to say it was The Good Fight Extended Edition  by Mr. Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasures . I'd heard and loved the original Bandcamp release, and wanted to do a review when I'd discovered this great version with remixes and goodies. It also gives me a bit of an opportunity to gush about some of the things that I absolutely adore about the original release as well. I loved it as I love my coffee, dark and strong.

It's what I might classify as electronic rock, and the album itself can be looked at as a concept album, with a unified theme, and even a story. The theme is determination and the struggle we must all face just to get through this mess of a modern world we find ourselves in. In particular, it's  about the internal struggle to brace yourself against externally imposed self doubt. The lyrics become a mantra, from the hard hitting beginning track "Get Up" to the final defeat of "Give Up". These songs are anthems, surely. And they are anthems that make me want to sing them against the harsh realities that crush us in the antagonism we must all face daily.  In the end our protagonist seems to lose the struggle, succumbing to the external crushing forces, with a chilling vocorder break towards the end. As in George Orwells Nineteen Eighty Four, our protagonist has been beaten down.

Fat synths and guitars mix with infectious rhythm back these mantras. Earworms are often formed, and I find the songs remain with me long after they've stopped playing. I've had "Benediction" in my regular playlists for months now, turning it up almost every time it comes on. Really quite a brilliant rock song, and again, providing me the self absolution that I need to move on.

The new song "Wake Up" added in the middle of the album provides an external struggle. This song can be taken as an anthem against the corporate culture that can oppress us all. A socially relevant piece, that provides an antagonist to the story. A welcome addition to the concept, and it's reflected in the album art which features a clear cut forest and industrial encroachment.

I loved the remixes too. Dust Motes, Blessed Sacrilege, and Michael 'mGee' Gregoire all deserve props for their reimagining of the arrangements. Surely an Epic extended edition.

Find it here: http://www.blocsonic.com/releases/show/the-good-fight-xe. It includes a pretty new booklet, and is available in tasty FLAC lossless as well as other more mundane formats.