Thursday, February 28, 2008
Sixty Metonymies", Toby has finally reached the full sound he has been hinting at since his solo release almost two years ago. A sonically sparse and repetitive listen that is referred to by its own composer as a composition built "in such a way that each figure can be heard as metonymical to each other", "Sixty Metonymies" is a dizzying recording that cycles through such a vast cycle of arrangements in such a short time that it'll certainly leave the listener bewildered upon first listen. Certainly Toby's other projects have also had this stigmata attached to them, but moments like the intense full band explosion in "The Manifold Curiosity" left the listener some memorable or familiar portion of the song to latch on to on further listen. "Sixty Metonymies" is devoid of these trigger moments and almost completely removed from vocal performance. To describe it as "catchy" would be the overstatement of the decade.
Mia Matsumiya's excellent performance is accented by "extended percussionist" Andrew Greenwald and horn player Tim Byrnes of the group Friendly Bears. Greenwald's style of percussion is a fantastic addiction to the bizarre composition of "60 Metonymies". Rarely relying on the traditional, his implication of various objects such as stray metals flavors the more "compositional" parts of the piece with an urgency of modernism. While Greenwald's performance is one of a kind, trumpet player Byrnes is seemingly invoking the kind of playing that was a staple on Kayo Dot's "Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue" It gives the trumpet performance a sort of "we've already heard this" feel and while it isn't necessarily distracting it is somewhat disappointing. Toby's guitar playing is mostly focused on seemingly replicating a piano but his subtle implication of selected chord phrasing gives the piece a more varied feel. Toby is able to prolong an otherwise excessive repetitiveness by always casually advancing into more beautiful and interesting melodies. Mia finally seems to expose her prowess as the group's most experienced player. Her usage of various extended techniques is at the same time virtuous and restrained. Tartar Lamb once again shows her as a key player in any setting, not unlike say a musician like Eric Dolphy who even in his performances of other's works added so much to the playing that without him or her in Mia's case the piece would fall apart. Finally, while Toby's vocal performance is not featured very often when he does add slight breathing, whistling or the final monologue it is a breath of fresh almost childish air.
Toby has expressed his distaste in the downloading of his music, you can purchase it here.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
'Darling Abandon' is the most successful track on the album for really two reasons. One is the fact that song begins with a stuttered gasp. This subtle yet extremely pleasing attribute is probably one of the best decisions Time of Orchids has made since their inception and its usage is incredibly poignant. The other reason is because the bastardized guitar solo that is in that song is quite possibly one of the most epic moments that I've heard in music in a very long time. The video for 'Darling Abandon' is a bizarre conglomeration of '90s television effects mixed with post-modern paintings. Clearly, Time of Orchids is an intelligent group and the fact that they can release an album like 'Namesake Caution' that is just as challenging and completely different from their previous release is insane. 'Sarcast While' is literally one of the best Tzadik records and while it is a very flawlessly executed in its style, 'Namesake Caution' is a more precise record. 'Sarcast While' may hold more artistic weight in my heart, but 'Namesake Caution' is often the album I find myself reaching for when I'm in for a fix of the complex.
Time of Orchid's video for 'Darling Abandon'
Time of Orchids finally can be completely and utterly praised for the way they conclude this rollercoaster of an album. After dredging through the ten minute bong filled 'We Speak in Shards' which in itself is a task, we are greeted with possibly the softer side of Time of Orchids in the track, 'Entertainment Woes'. 'Entertainment Woes' ups the anti on 'Sarcast While's' epic conclusion by simply just creating a three minute long soundscape that is literally one of the most beautiful things I've heard in a long time. In short, 'Namesake Caution' is a record any music fan should own. If you do not enjoy this, you are obviously to shallow to appreciate true expressions of music. This is one of the most insanely layered records I've picked up in a long time and the way it has kind of been ignored is in my opinion almost criminal.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Phil Ochs record. there is a beautiful interplay with delayed vocals and guitars that sometimes match up and at others just seem entirely random. it is a minimal technique that makes an other wise very easy album much more complex. some may place it in the realm of novelty, but in my opinion Youngs is simply just using an effect as a compositional tool which is incredibly ingenious. in other words, 'Autumn Response' is one of the most interesting songwriter albums in a very very long time.
Have a Nice Life record in particular is a sprawling, emotional journey that i can't recommend enough. Takaru and a small group called Pumice have been keeping me centered. the zen of discovering new bands if you will is inspiring. that sounds idiotically pretentious, but i guess that is how it goes. i'm going to throw in the Pumice record on this post for the shit of it. fantastic album that is kind of what would happen if Tom Waits compositions were played in the style of noise rock, it is literally some fucking rocking shit exploding hearts tones meet wolf eyes synths. welp, until next time which will hopefully be sooner.