The Hated Opinionated One

Posts Tagged ‘Instrumental’

Black Light Burns Holes In Bedsheets

Posted by Scotio on June 28, 2008

It’s been a little over a year since Wes Borland, former Limp Bizkit guitarist, released the material from his creative output known as Black Light Burns. Since then, he’s gone on to underground success for his new act; tearing up club stages, and displaying a much more gothic styling to his former stage persona. For the most part, he’s had a good deal of nice reviews for the debut album Cruel Melody, but there are always naysayers no matter what you do or who you are. Still, fans of the band have been eager to hear the next album from the act, as Borland said that he will waste little time hitting the studio up to release it. Then, it was announced that the next offerings from the band would be a CD/DVD combo. The anticipation rose. Then, it was announced that the CD would be full of covers and other little odds and ends that didn’t make the debut album. At that point, the anticipation froze. “Cover album? WTF!” the fans said. Then, when they announced the list of cover songs, it was revealed that you couldn’t find something reasonable to allow hearts to soar for eagerness of hearing the BLB crew ripping through the tunes. But, still, as shaky as the fans were, they were still oddly curious to know what the material would sound like. Me, being a fan of the band, I was similarly eager, yet slightly put off. After all, BLB is an Industrial band. There aren’t any Industrial covers or material that inspired Industrial music being thrown in the pot.

So, when I received the album, you could only imagine my wanting and stalling of hitting the play button to listen. Still, curiosity always controls in the end, doesn’t it? The moment it came on, I will admit, I as still riding the fence. But, the twenty second mark hit, and I found myself lost in the world where Black disappears and White glows with a blue hue. The cover of Lard’s “Forkboy” sounded incredibly energetic and extremely chaotic. Borland’s vocals on the track, amazingly, are really great. He doesn’t even sound like Wes. He sounds like a man possessed. A creature hidden inside of the enigmatic music maker. Something that headbangers would flock to see in a live performance. The song assaults the listener with its aggressive guitar work and the hair-pulling visualization of the singer in front of the mic. In truth, it took me back to the days of the Broken EP. If you don’t know what that is, then you’re really wasting your time reading this review in the first place, aren’t you?

What followed next was the thriller, Love And Rocket’s “So Alive.” Again, outside of his realm, Borland’s vocals seem perfect. The Industrial reformation of the song seems so brilliant. It isn’t heavily distorting, nor isn’t playing a quiet backseat role to the movement of the melody. Like a fine Chef’s work, it seasons the song just right. The Post-Punk attack that is Sisters Of Mercy’s “Lucretia My Reflection” seems like it would be such an off-shot for Borland & Co. Yet, with his insanely brilliant insight, he tames that beast and makes it his bitch. Riding it with such insecure confidence that you’d might even want to go and check his location of birth . . . maybe he’s a Brit in disguise. It perfectly captures that “Look at me, I’m shying away” feeling that Robert Smith tagged as Post-Punk Perverted Cynosureness(he didn’t create that term, I just tagged him as that).

There are some really odd parts that might take a few listens to get it easily down to swallow. Like their rendition PJ Harvery’s “Rid Of Me.” Don’t know, but after hearing the great covers before it, it just sets out as being awkward. Another one is Fiona Apple’s “On The Bound.” It’s not bad. It’s just so far fetched from what you’ve been hearing. That is, of course, if you never heard Borland’s Big Dumb Face. And, speaking of BDF, they even do a cover of one of their songs “Blood Red Head On Fire.” I always thought it was odd when someone does a cover of their own songs. Is that even truly declared a cover? But, I will state that it is a more cohesive sound than the original. I suppose because he has an actual band doing the positions and it isn’t all on him.

After the 10th track, the music is switched over to original compositions by the band. What kicks it off is the song “Drowning Together, Dying Alone.” It, for the most part, is the sister track of the song “New Hunger” that was featured on their first LP. Housing acoustic guitars in place of electronics and electric guitars makes the song more mellow and dreamy . . . despite its morbid title. Also, being entirely instrumental sure helps with that. “Falling” also contains material heard before. Expanding on a solo that was featured on the debut album, as well. The slightly goofy electronic melody played throughout (I couldn’t tell if it was simply a guitar with a weird effect or an actual electronic styling) sounds almost like it’s 8-bit/Chiptune styled.

Mr. Borland dives deeper into the Industrial world on the track “Ribbons.” Though it’s under a minute and a half long, it leaves a lasting and eerie impression on listeners. Something that isn’t easy to accomplish, and you wouldn’t have actually expected from this unexpected guy. This song starts the trend of very schizophrenic songs that follow after it. Stuff that seems to have been created when Wes wasn’t eager to take his medication. Stuff that, though it’s so strange, you find yourself questioning your own sanity for your enjoyment of it.

All in all, this album is not only a surprising one, but one that I feel bad about having questioned it in the first place. All those out there that are on the unknown about checking this out, and have enjoyed the first album needs to go out on a limb and snatch this up. In a very bold statement, I will encourage you to download this first, to see if it does tickle your fancy fully, then, if it does, purchase it and support him. Though he does come from a heavily commercial band, he is now on the underground circuit. So, every piece of support does let him know that his efforts at branching out are worth it.




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Presets Bring Forth Dancefloor Armageddon

Posted by Scotio on April 11, 2008

Riding on the wave from their extraordinary 2005 album, Beams (not to mention there numerous EPs and Kim’s solo release of System Breakdown), Australia’s own The Presets sets their sights higher with Apocalypso. From jump, the dynamic duo shows why they deserve the exposure they’re getting (and it took bloody long enough for them to get it, too). “Kicking And Screaming” pumps out the speakers with full forced Club Music fury. Offering every perfect ingredient for a sure-fire hit: Catchy hook, semi-non-intelligible lyrics, synths to drive Daft Punk batty. They set the bar high directly from the gate. Luckily, “My People” is able to keep the party going. As the album’s lead single, it already had people salivating in impatience for this album. With a thumping bass drum parading its way around the song with the pride of a well-groomed lion, it’s hard to bypass or even depress the fierceness of such a track. When hearing the line “And it feels so good” repeated with growing intensity, you have to agree . . . it feels SO good when music feels so right. The second single from this unbelievable album is “This Boy’s In Love.” And, if this music is supposed to represent how a boy is supposed to feel when he’s in love, then a lot of young gents have a ways to go before they can feel real love of this caliber. With Julian’s vocals for the verses sounding like they are trailing off into ghost-like vapors, the song haunts you with the spirit of Dancefloor’s Future. With a chorus so simple, it screams out the genius behind it. Hard to miss, even harder to resist once it does catches you in it’s sweat-inducing grasp. “Yippiyo-Ay” pulls out Michael Jackson when all he had was an overly moisturized jheri curl, and no skin bleaching. Possessing a melody, tempo, and singing-style that would find comfort on MJ’s magnificent Thriller album. Resting somewhere between Techno and Disco, you don’t have to be a friend of Bruce Leroy(Last Dragon, anyone?) to recognize that The Presets have The Glow. Not to alienate the Goths with a sense of Dance Fever, “Talk Like That” conjures up a hit that even Dracula would have to shake a wing to. Saying “Uh Oh,” you feel like you’re overhearing a dance party filled with preppies and the morbid misfits have just arrived. Brilliantly, neither of the two groups would feel black sheeped for this particular tune. The old Horrorwood organ playing doesn’t just make the song cheesy, but make it a memorable moment for Party Music history. There are some even odder moments, though, such as the rock-a-billy influence on “Eucalyptus” and overly technological SID-chip assisted, porn-midsectioned chopped up tune “Together.” As the album’s sole instrumental track, “Aeon” manages to bring out the inner flux that lies dormant inside of you. Taking you on a microchipped soul-stirring journey inside of your own psyche, it’s almost like you’re waiting for Morpheus to offer you pills(no, not that kind) at any moment. Starting off with the chantings of “Deeper, I know you want it” and “Faster, I know you want it” you’re tempted to see if the Aussie boys aren’t trying to lure you into some homemade Risqué moments between you, a camera, and the one that drives you wild for the closer track “Anywhere”. Housing nothing but the bare essentials, it drives the point home even harder than if they had sampled a sledgehammer teaming up with a jackhammer. Clocking in at 6:17, it doesn’t hit you repeatedly over the head with the constant badgering of lyrics. Rather, the terrific twosome decided to let the song be equal amounts instrumental and vocal. It’s not hard to see that The Presets were supposed to be where they are at(even if majority of their US following came from the feature of their song on the reality dance show, So You Think You Can Dance). Just like Julian said, “Farther, you know we’re going Farther . . .”and farther past their contemporaries they go.


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Pendulum Swung Hard in `05

Posted by Scotio on April 9, 2008


Australia is rapidly becoming the site for new and groundbreaking music. Especially in the electronic field. First The Avalanches, then The Presets, now Pendulum. Hold Your Color should have been titled “Hold On To Your Sanity,” as it breaks into sounds that you’ve heard before, but never as groovy. On the Prelude opening track, the narration ends with the words “But, tonight . . . on this small planet . . .on Earth, we’re going to rock civilization.” Pendulum does just that. “Slam” steps in with a funky hip-hop-tinged sound right from the gate. Then, once the phrase from the end of the prelude gets repeated, the song takes a turn for the fast-paced breakbeat soundings that you’d liken to The Prodigy. “Plasticworld” offers up a beautifully orchestra sonic-jazz Lo-Fi sound of Thievery Corporation with cool ambience reminiscent of Boards Of Canada. “Through The Loop” brilliantly samples Gene Wilder from Young Frankenstein. Making classic lines from an even more classic movie into a memorable and possibly future classic club tune. With aggressive drums that make it hard to not feel it directly in your gut with each thumping punch. Jasmine Yee brings her best Sia/Kelli Ali impersonation to “Sounds Of Life.” Fast-Paced, yet somehow oddly mellow and chill worthy. Think of it as being on an amusement ride on a boardwalk. This song is summer at it’s most fun. All da rude bwoys dem with a liking to breakbeating can find comfort on the track “Tarantula.” With assistance from Fresh, Tenor Fly & $pyda, Pendulum brings that Red Yellow & Green vibe for those UK-born Caribbean folks who feels their presence isn’t properly known in the club. The title track “Hold Your Colour,” is nothing to sleep on, but the intro would make you believe that it is something you could sleep to. Clearly the highlight of the album, if you haven’t heard it, then you’re missing out on a key note in life. Plain and simple. Clocking in over 7 minutes long, the album closer “Another Planet” brings more of that The Prodigy sound. It could be due to the fact that they remixed Voodoo People by The Prodigy, or that them loving their music so much made them want to remix it, but either or, the influence is heavily felt. Not just on this song, but throughout the album. Though, not the the extent of calling them a rip-off band. Clearly taking the style, and making it their own (Tyra would be proud). This album is one that will stand the test of time. As long as there are neon lights, strobe lights, pill popping youth, speed demon racers, overly caffeinated DJs, and geeks with a desire to be cool, there will always be a place for this album to reign near the top of the totem pole.

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