Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Off Minor / Killie - Split


off minor australian tour flier.
Off Minor's latest 'world tour' should be seen as an impressive feat for such a relatively unknown band. prominently known as half of the former emo juggernaut Saetia, Off Minor are certainly more mature and sophisticated when compared to their deceased counterpart Hot Cross. noted descriptions of their sound usually fall in the "jazz influenced hardcore" side of things with the group's sound having a large portion of instrumental prettiness. enough about what the group sounds like though, back to Off Minor's self professed "last tour". when we consider that the average age of the group is somewhere in the late twenties or early thirties it is impressive that three individuals that have been involved in hardcore for so long have not become jaded or unrelevant. Off Minor has been making some of the most provoking hardcore since their inception and their most recent output released during the Japanese portion of their world tour is simply just more proof of their success.

off minor / killie split
the Off Minor / Killie split presents the listener with two excellent examples of how far the emo scene has come since just 2000. Off Minor places two previously released tracks with one new one from their "Some Blood" sessions. Killie keeps their side very compressed with one short track and one very lengthy one. "Some Clown" which previously was released on the Off Minor / My Disco split is probably the groups best song to date. definitive in its interplay between manic drumming, beautifully tempered guitar, and pulsing bass Off Minor is able to craft a gorgeous mixture of chaos and cool. where Off Minor's previous records seemed to deal with a good portion of self depreciation (especially 'The Heat Death of the Universe' which will be discussed later.) the songs present on this split seem to be a bit more politically conscious. 'Abbatoir' is a short explosion of vegan knowledge, a haiku on the criminality of how people are willing to treat other people, animals, etc. Jamie Behar guitarist and lead vocalist asks;

'when will the world see things this way?
perverse perspectives still pervade.

we're left cold by blood that's lost.

it cries out from the ground.'

falling back into their usual topics Off Minor ends their half of the record with 'Everything Explicit' which deals with the issue of how to resolve something with someone who you no long talk to. the track is notable for its sonic relation to the early post-hardcore scene evoking a Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, or Unwound comparison. although none of those bands could ever craft anything as melodically beautiful as the bridge in the track. to discuss Killie their half of the record seems to evoke a cross between Envy and Daitro. not something entirely original, but as a counterpoint to the Off Minor sound it works well to have such an aggressively sincere band bounce off the more artsy composed New York group.

killie
continuing with the over arching Off Minor theme of this post i must discuss 'The Heat Death of the Universe'. this record was probably my first exposure to the emo sound and i really haven't found anything i think really compares to it. the sonic and lyrical content is unrivaled in aggressive music and everything about it is just perfect. Off Minor's skill, originality, and vast appreciation of various genres help their expressions reflect technical prowess, as well as allow them to be an emotional outlet. the dynamic buildups and crescendos found on this album are prefect sonic reinterpretations of the bipolar nature of the overlying concept of the album. it is perhaps telling that Off Minor have never been as calm or as resolute in terms of their approach to creating music since the making of this album. songs like "Monday Morning Quarterback" toss and turn through beautiful near jazz style arrangements into some of the most aggressive and abrasive hardcore ever released. the untraditional approach taken to their respective instruments helps Off Minor output the same type of cathartic release normally found in only hardcore and transpose it into fully instrumental pieces that don't mock the current post-rock trend of build-up and release, but instead dredge into elastics and personal realms of musical exploration. Off Minor's music is not able to be expressed as "epic" at any point of "The Heat Death Of the Universe" because it is always collapsing in on itself to represent something much more selfish and single minded; its band members own experiences.

off minor's 'the heat death of the universe'
lyrically "The Heat Death of the Universe" speaks in a style of poignant haikus. 'Staring Down the Barrel of Limited Options' openly addresses the issue of suicide;

'facing this inevitably,
that i could never begin to understand.

what is it you see staring down the barrel of limited options?
what goes through your mind as you make the decision to end all decisions?

never say everything will be ok.'


the theme is prevalent all over the record with the second track 'This is a Hostage Situation" dealing with the neediness of people. the hatred of people that unconditionally attach themselves to things that are simply not everlasting.

'this hand on this gun to my head is my own and these are my demands:
if you leave me, take me with you, i am nothing without you.

people who need people are the wretchedest in the world.'


an ode to individuals who find themselves solely existing for the purpose of serving their spouse or whatever form their significant other should take. 'The Heat Death of the Universe' represents a philosophical journey that deals with a variety of the band's own views on everyday issues. the aggressiveness and calmness of daily life is reflected in this music and that is why it holds such an important spot in my heart. it should be considered one of the most ample examples of 21st century music. with a heart-on-the-sleeve attitude and obvious appreciation of numerous sub-genres, this album clearly represents how music has evolved, evoking the aggressive nature of '80s hardcore, the personal awareness of the '90s, and finally adopting the new method of beauty and chaos that is defining the '00s music scene. Off Minor is certainly a derivative of the things around them, but due to their members' appreciation and originality, they've been able to create a perfect emotional reflection of their feelings and that is all that this album needs to succeed.

5 comments:

gabbagabbahey said...

I just got off the bus having listened to 'Heat Death of the Universe' and then to the Julia s/t. As much as I can't technically fault anything of Off Minor, there was no comparison between them, for me, in terms of emotion.

Personally I only like some Saetia, and Off Minor, while I am warming more to the sound of this full album, I didn't like much originally except for a mild curiosity to the jazzy sound. There something about 00s screamo that leaves me ambivalent - "the new method of beauty and chaos" as you call it, just seems for me to swop technical progress for emotion.

I say this because I'm very impressed with what you've written for the post (as with all your others) but I wish I could share the same sentiments, allow myself to spread beyond La Quiete, Sinaloa and maybe Funeral Diner in modern screamo.

(haven't listened to the split yet, I'll get round to it)

Jared Dillon said...

I don't know. Off Minor is my favorite band, I think all of their records ooze with passion. I'm certainly one for sophisticated music but Off Minor kind of remind of the Minutemen almost.. not really in sound but in structure and presentation. They just seem like three guys playing quick bursts of knowledge. I like Sinaloa and La Quiete but I don't really see them being a highlight of the current emo scene. I'd say my two favorite bands right now are What Price, Wonderland? and Off Minor when it comes to current screamo groups. I never liked Saetia at all and I don't think Off Minor's sound is really that derivative of that group except maybe on their split with I Am the Resurrection. Sucks that you can't get into this stuff though.. seriously some of the best music ever put to tape in my humble opinion.

blend77 said...

i have to say, when I first heard of these guys being 3/5ths of Saetia I pretty much stayed away. I grew up listening to Native Nod and Frail and Max Colby, so a lot of stuff post Orchid just smacked of one small step instead of any great leap.

but when I finally gave in to listen to Off Minor I was pleasantly surprised and have since grown more and more addicted to their sound. Certainly nothing like Saetia who still dont do it for me.

It also must be said that I do love La Quiete and Daitro. and in fact, a lot of the new screamy hardcore. But Off Minor has been on a steady rise and this and Some Blood are turning out many listens on my end., though Heat Death is still the one that grabbed me and made want to like them more and more. Hostage Situation is a perfect song.

great writing on this blog..

MarshallStaxx said...

Hey,

Fantastic blog you have here, the passion for the music bleeds from your writing and gets me excited to listen to a record I've never heard of before.

Came here to check out some Off Minor stuff, as I turned at their London, UK show about 4 minutes before they walked offstage and was still amazed by what I heard.

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