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Old 01-04-2015, 04:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DeadChannel's Year of Music

Hey everyone, I know that I just started another journal, but I have another new years thing.

Along with 300 new movies, I'm going to (hopefully) listen to 300 new albums. This is going to work exactly the same way, but with music. I'm not sure if I'm going to be quite as in depth, but I'll tell ya what I'm thinking.

I'm also thinking about doing crossover stuff between the two threads by doing soundtrack reviews.

As I've said a bunch of times in the other thread, be back in a bit with the first review.

Last edited by DeadChannel; 01-05-2015 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Free space...

Last edited by DeadChannel; 01-05-2015 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Previously unlistened album #1

Dopesmoker is a 1999 album by California doom and stoner metal outfit sleep. It was recorded at Record Two Studio in Comptche, California.



That's right everyone, I'll be starting this thing of with what many consider to be a seminal doom album. This will also be, aside from the odd bit of Black Sabbath, my first experience with the genre.

The first thing that you immediately notice about this album is the length. That is, although not objectively much above average, it's 63 minute run time is all in one song. Some people would probably be put off by this, but I'm a huge lover of lengthy songs.

Admittedly, 63 minutes is a lot even for me. Even the longest songs on a swans or GY!BE album are a little over half an hour, and I wasn't sure if I could zone out like with an Eliane Radigue track. Naturally, I was a bit concerned.

This concern turned out completely unfounded. I didn't think that Dopesmoker was excessive, boring, dull or drawn out. Quite the opposite, I found it to be incredibly compelling. Something about it is so listenable to me that since my first experience, I've given it three listens in as many days. As I write this review I'm on my fourth. There's something about this album that (snicker) super addictive.

Do you have to wait for sixteen minutes until the vocals come in? Uh, yeah. Do solos feel like days and riffs repeat for eons? Of course. Will you have to put aside an hour of your time to listen to just one track? Sure.

But I'll bet every minute and hour, day and (yes) eon is worth it for it's own sake. This is the sort of music that is very easy to (again, snicker) get high on.

When every riff is sure to be followed by a thousand more, it's easy to get lost. This is just such a massive album in every respect. It's massive sounding, it's massively epic and, naturally, it's just downright massive. I'll bet it was a massive undertaking, too.

If you just read then lyrics, they're a little laughable. How could they not be with lines like "Drop out of life with bong in hand/ follow the smoke toward riff filled land" and "proceeds the weedian - Nazareth".
But, you have to listen to the music to get it. There's nothing toung and cheek here. It's one giant ode to weed built around weird biblical references and "weedians". I'm not a stoner, but I admire these guy's dedication.

The version that I have also contains a second, ten minute long track titled "Sonic Titan". I don't think that strictly speaking it's part of this album's cannon, and I won't factor it into the score. However, I like it. It starts off with an fun, almost garage rock sounding riff, which turns right back into the lumbering hugeness that I now expect. It's not quite a huge and epic as "Dopesmoker", but it's got a cool sound to it and I like it a lot. Again, I'm not counting it as a part of the album, but it's a good addition to this edition.

I love this record. I don't think I could have picked a better start to the year. In my mind it easily makes a:
10/10
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Zach Hill - Face Tat

Previously unlistened album #2:

Face Tat is a 2010 album by Zach hill.

You might be familiar with one of Zach Hill's many side projects, most notably math rock band Hella and experimental hip hop trio Death Grips. He seems to bring an insane percussive energy to everything he does. Seriously, the dude's an awesome drummer, maybe the best in experimental music today.

Face Tat is a noisy, frenetic, drumgasming, abrasive listen. Throughout, Zach assaults his drums with his usual ferocity. Most of this stuff is built around his technical precision with a drumkit. While there are a few songs that have punked out guitars all over them, the majority of the non drum parts are made of synths and samples. Apparently there is even a sample of someone pissing on a stack of rolling stone magazines, although I couldn't pick it out.

Track 1: Memo To The Man

Memo to the man is one of the more melodic tracks on the album. It features staccato vocals and trippy production. Zach's drums are actually pretty subdued here, but still really awesome. That said the drums left me hoping for more aggression on later tracks.

The work is nice, which rebounding synths producing some really interesting textures. It's actually pretty catchy, considering the type of music. Of course, Zach has proved his ability to write awesome hooks in experimental music in the past. The frenetic riffs on a Hella album and the more techno oriented hooks on Deaths Grips albums are somehow incredibly infectious (if a little hard to hum), and this is no different.

Track 2: The Primitives Talk

The second track is much more percussion driven than first. He's still not rapidly beating the crap out of his kit Hellla Style, but I'm really digging it.

The synths that Zach has put over the drumming are also pretty percussive. They complement the drums well and really make the track.

There's a sample on this track that I really love that sounds like a piece of Velcro being removed. It's somehow pretty funny, but still sounds awesome.

Track 3: Ex-Ravers

The third track here starts with a synth that keeps flying back and forth and circling in on itself. For some reason, it reminds me of some of the guitars on the newest Melt-Banana album. This continues every once in a while throughout the song.

Built in between are pretty great drums with minimal synths over them. While still pretty technical, I wouldn't describe the drumming on this track as self indulgent or excessive (self indulgence being something that Hill's music often boarders on). There is just the perfect amount throughout the track. I'm still hoping for some overpowering percussive insanity later on, though. At one point, he rapidly drums in a crescendo, but it's pretty brief.

Track 4: The Sacto Smile

Remember when I said there would be punked out guitars? Well this is the first sample. It's a brief track, but maybe the noisiest on the album.

Zach attacks his drums with rage while incoherently screaming. The guitars move back and forth quickly and abrasively. There are actually some pretty interesting textures going on here, but you might not notice them till a few listens in due to the speed of the track.

During moments where the guitars are absent, it sounds like TV static over the insane vocals and (of course) insane drumming.

This track would fit well on an overtly noise rock album by someone like Brian Chipendale (another kick ass drummer btw).

Track Five: Green Bricks

This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The drums are super high in the mix, and if features the most typically Zach Hill drumming so far. It's also not terribly long, but the drums are pummeling, noisy and difficult (for both the listener and Zach).

I also liked the angular melodies all over, and the vocal delivery. The way he yells "Green Bricks!" is great.

It's definitely one of the more disjointed, frenzied song so far.

Track 6: House of Hits

This one songs quite a bit like a Hella track actually. The guitars are a little less stacato and more straight forward, nor are they as ADD-ified (with the exception of a few repeating riffs). It would probably fit pretty well on one of the more recent Hella projects, which have experimented with different guitar styles while still incorporating the frenetic tendencies of like, "Hold Your Horse Is".

Zach's drums certainly have that sound, though. The random quarter second long drum solos and all. Actually, not a lot of drummers can hit so many things in a quarter second.

Track Seven: Jackers

This track is made up of a lot of pretty great samples (notably, what sounds like a car being remotely locked). They're obviously put over crazy ass drums (some people might be getting me tired of me talking about drums. But trust me, you probably won't get tired of the drums themselves.)

This repeats a bunch of times and, while I think it's a pretty good track, I'm glad it was kept as short as it is.

Track Eight: Burner in the Video

This track starts with a reverby synth followed by drums and a psychedelic, happy sounding yet disjointed melody.

It's a good track, but I can't say that it stands out in the context of the album.

Track Nine: Dizzy From the Twins

This is one of those tracks that showcases the album (and the artist's) versatility. It sounds like a crazy version of a junkyard band. A super talented junkyard band. The track goes through quite a few abrupt tempo changes, which I enjoyed.

It's also pretty glitchy, with things being cut off by other things etc. Needless to say, the drumming is awesome.

Track Ten: Gross Sales

This one feels like a continuation of the last track, with it's glitchy, tempo changing techno junkyard sound.

It actually really reminds me of a Hella track, despite not being guitar driven.

Track Eleven: Total Recall

Another Hardcore punk-esque track, this time more overtly so. It's one of the more straightforward songs on the album, switching between fast and faster for the majority.

I'm not sure if it's named after the Paul Verhoven film "Total Recall", but I just want to say that the movie is overrated and way worse than Robocop.

Track Twelve: Face Tat

Finally, towards the end of the album, we have the title track.

It starts off with totally blues rocky guitars, but gets more and more frenetic as time passes until it's completely dropped that influence. I feel like there's a Butthole Surfers song that I should be comparing it to, but I forget which one.

This is a fun song to put towards the end of the album. It's actually one of the best tracks here too, imo.

Track Thirteen: Second Life

So, the decision was made to end the record on a slower song. It's still noisy, technical and percussive, but a lot slower in tempo than most of the rest of the album.

It's got psychedelic and at times pretty processed vocals, and fades out at the end.

It's a good end to a very good album, but it's not necessarily a terribly good song on it's own.

Final Thoughts:

I like this album a lot. It's frenetic, difficult yet catchy, disjointed, experimental, noisy and at the end, a whole lot of fun.

This a set of really solid tracks that do a great job at differentiating themselves from each other. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and give it a:

8.5/10
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Upcoming reviews:



Won't be happening until I can get my laptop back though. I'm tired of typing these on my phone.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Look, uh, I'll get on these reviews soon, but for now, I listened to:
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Heh, about that...

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