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Archive for September, 2008

Ki:Theory Snaps Hearts Like Brittle Branches

Posted by Scotio on September 28, 2008

As most know, I’m a fan of many different genres of music. I can’t call any particular genre my favorite, because each one holds a special point and placement in how I view music in an overall fashion. One thing I do always love is experimentation. Experimental music is usually music that falls into the realm as uneasy to classify in one category. Ki:Theory’s music is just that(Pronounced “Key” like in Kilo). His debut EP Brittle Branches isn’t all over the place, but it houses a wide array of various genre sounds to the point where you can’t quite call it anyone one thing(Note: Ki:Theory was originally a Post-Grunge band who released a self-titled LP. The band disbanded, but lives on through one member whom dramatically changed the sound to what it is now).

I first came across Ki:Theory while looking over the musical discography of UNKLE(or traditional typeset as U.N.K.L.E.). I noticed a remix from the act, and was curious to take a peek at it. I ventured towards the myspace of the act, and was pleasantly surprised at the remix to the point that I was curious of the original music that was featured there. Sadly, the first song I heard on there was “Holiday Heart.”  Now, don’t get me mistaken, I’m not saying sadly because the song sucked. Quite the contrary, it was so good that I played the song three times on the myspace player. Which, in itself, is a great feat. From the keyboard intro that sounded like it should belong to some little kid, I was hooked. Then, the distorted vocals kicked in. At that point, I was addicted. By the time the chorus kicked in, I was salivating from my new addiction. From the childish electric organ sound on the keyboard, to the sporatic handclaps, to the constant rapid strumming of the guitar . . . I can do this all day, people. The song is just marvelous. Perhaps the most soul stirring moment of the song is when the chorus of voices come in. Seemingly composed of one woman’s vocals recorded multiple times to give it a child-like quality. The drum track is as funky as drums that would be featured on the legendary rap group The Roots. It’s hard not to get bothered after hearing this song. Bothered that more people haven’t even heard of this guy. But, with his remixes of Queens Of The Stone Age, the aforementioned UNKLE, Sasha, and his new remix of Ladytron floating around, I’m sure the buzz of him should be growing more and more each day.

The opening song of the EP “Kiss With Fists,” is a very appropriate way of opening up an album. The song starts off rather simple and delightful, even though the lyrics of the song are on the lonely side of the tracks. Housing a Hip-Hop drum pattern, the song has a great vibe to it musically. The addition of the musicbox sound, with the rumblings of a bass guitar, make for a magical moment with the song. By the time the song gets to the part where Ki repeats the line “I just thought you should know,” you should be too far in to even want out. Something that I found pleasantly interesting is that some music tracks from this song are featured on his personal website on the little mechanical bird, allowing you to play around with starting and stopping the drums, music box, and synth portions of the song.

On the song “Lately,” you’re treated to a beautiful confession that Ki gives to his woman. You almost have to be thankful for brilliant musicians being trapped in some type of emotional turmoil and their knack for releasing/relieving their stress through music. In one form or another, the entire EP deals with love. The good, the bad, and the loneliness that results from it. Being that the EP is only six (6) songs long that play at a total time of 4 seconds shy of 26 minutes, you aren’t treated to much length in this release. That, honestly, would be my only complaint with this music. Right when you get into it, it’s over. But, it’s a great showcase of what he can and will do whenever he finally decides to release a full length album. I, for one, will be one of the first people to get the album upon it’s release.

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The Wetworks clears up that Government Air

Posted by Scotio on September 10, 2008

Recently, I was presented with music from an underground artist to review. Being that I do enjoy such occasions being thrown into my lap, I accepted the offer for the reviewing of the material. Oddly enough, it was music from a source that I recently learned of earlier this year. Apparently, it’s a really small world(even smaller online, I’ve noticed). With the opportunity to review the new music from The Wetworks, I rolled up my sleeves, turned up my headphones and let the music roll.

The Wetworks is best described as the American leg of the ever growing Dubstep subgenre of electronic music more than just a Drum & Bass act. If you’re not familiar with Dubstep music, but do find yourself enjoying good electronic music that ranges from slow and eerily ambient to reggae-inspired hip moving driven basslines then that is the music for you. Being that I’m not only a fan of said genre, but also, as I’ve already stated, a fan of The Wetworks, I was very comfortable with this album. The album is titled Government Air, which to most seems like it’s going to be filled with a bunch of politically charged music. But, such is not the case, here. For the track “Shift,” you won’t find any left or right wing propaganda lurking within the pulsating bass drops or the haunting synths that seem to call out to some dark side of yourself. Don’t think this is going to turn out to be some Teargas & Plateglass material. No sir. Once the drums kick in, you’re wondering if Prodigy and Burial made some sort of pact to team up under this moniker. The drum hits are fast enough to urge you call the cops to report broken speed limits. The funniest factor of the song for me kicks in when Wetworks pulls out the Street Fighet punch sound effect for the song. When I heard it, my mind instantly recognized it and I had the strangest feeling to perform a Hadouken fireball. The song is one second shy of hitting the 6 & 1/2 minute mark. The addition of sounds that gets thrown in is just mindboggling. Wetworks doesn’t seem to want to take anything out. Instead, the sound goes like G.W. Bush for oil territory(MORE!!! MORE!!!). What’s even more shocking is the fact that everything fits. At one point, there are so many musical tracks going off that it’s nearly impossible to sit there and count them all. But, as I said, they all fit into the song. That’s skill right there, folks.

The song “Thievery” houses the same soundbite that Mobb Deep used for their intro of the album Murda Muzik. Featuring Soundtype 23, the song jumps and gallops while a vocal looping ends up sounding like ancient druid chanting. There are a wide assortment of sound effects throughout the entire song. It seemed like the folks just went into a garage and used whatever they could find, recorded it hitting against things, and then looped it. To say that it’s awesome would be an understatement towards it. At one point, there is a looping of electronic sounds where it sounds like phazers, a teleporter, and other weird noises from an episode of Star Trek. If they are samples from such, then Trekkies are now something to fear in music . . . and not in a negative way.

On the track “Savior,” The Wetworks sounds strikingly similar to Shackleton of Skull Disco Dubstep music. That could be the use of African drums for the song. But, I will admit that the comparisons start to quickly evaporate around the 2 minute mark. The Wetworks works back into their soundbite clips, rapidfire drumming, and star hopping synth sounds. There is no staying in place for this music, here. It is across the board, but not in a dangerous and unforgiven sort of way. Around the 5:38 mark, you even hear horns included for the mix. It’s subtle and brief, but it’s a quick nod to the jazz roots of music, which birthed a lot of these fast attacks and intricate time signatures.

“Strange Powers,” the album closer, comes on like a rush of steam through a hollow pipe. And, I’m not using that as a simile. It really sounds like a rush of steam coming through a hollow pipe. It’s intelligent, but at some point it becomes a bit overbearing. And that could be because it’s primarily happening in the left channel of your speaker/headphone system. It’s quite distracting, especially in headphones. If there was ever a time where you wouldn’t mind the canceling of a sound in one of these songs, that would be the case. It’s a good introduction piece for the song, but past the introduction point it hogs up a lot of the listeners attention and makes them sort of ignore the other amazing parts that are going on within the song. “Alpha,” the album opener, comes on like an intergalactic air raid alarm sounding off. Though it is interesting and quite different, it’s a tad bit too far left field. Or, that could be due to the intro of the song lasting almost a minute long. In today’s ADHD world, most folks wouldn’t be able to sit through the whole thing to experience what comes after. And, oddly, after the intro, the song becomes very much so enjoyable and entertaining. I could say that it’s like the music that is played when the hero steps into the picture to save the day from the attack. It has that heroic and softly bold aura going on with it.

Being only eight (8) songs in length, you would think that it’s not that long. But, the album comes close to forty (40) minutes in length. Being that I had no expectations from the album except for the desire to listen to the entire album it allowed me to be completely open for what was to come. I do believe that The Wetworks should add in the label of “Dubstep” to the music. The genre fits the music like a tailor made shoe. Government Air is a wonderful album. Aside from the two missteps, it’s solid offering. Fans of Kode9, Teargas & Plateglass, and even Distance should give this album a spin. If you’re American, you might have found your Dubstep champion to hold up. Notable Tracks are: Shift, Thievery and Dracula.

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