All 2 entries tagged Experimental

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March 12, 2007

Soft Hearted Scientists

Soft Hearted Scientists

And now for something completely different…

You can imagine that being said any time the Soft Hearted Scientists are introduced, because they just are, I suppose. Among the instruments listed as playing on their site they have ‘Fruit Shaped Percussion’, ‘Massed Impulse Buy Broken Rusty Stringed Autoharp Sympathetic resonance’ and ‘Coaxing Percussive Purrs from Cats’. You may think they are joking, but a listen through to any of their studio recordings reveal they may be doing more than just taking you for a ride.

They are yet another band I’ve neglected to mention until now, but I’ve rather fortunately timed it right at this moment because new single, Siberia, arrives on shelves quite soon on April 2nd. It will be followed by an album proper as their previous long player, Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth, was simply a collection of their first 3 EP’s.

Mount Palomar is the opening track from that collection and it’s a great entry point for listening to the band. Combining sonar sounds with a story that might just be about zombies and hot air balloons, or just about a mountain, it breaks off with a drum roll into a great chorus, before gently settling down again on whatever ground they were on.

I’ll Be Happy, I’ll Be Sleeping is a demo they posted earlier on last year that will appear in some renovated form on the new album. Gentle harpsichord swells break up acoustic pickings while the Scientists’ ruminate about what would happen if they existed in the seventeeth century, or it could be just about asking a girl out like most songs, I don’t know. I think it’s the only track ever that could possibly get away with the line: ‘If I hadn’t been burnt as a warlock, I doubt I would’ve succumbed to primitive dentistry.’

It’s all very soothing as acoustic music tends to be, but there’s something more going on here that breaks it apart. The endless experimentation with sounds means you’ll be lost for days listening to these songs and still find something new to pick out when the time comes around again.

And it will, I give Cubs honour on that (I never got to Scouts).

Listen to new single ‘Siberia’
Sound clips of every song
Soft Hearted Scientists – Mount Palomar MP3 Expired
Soft Hearted Scientists – I’ll Be Happy, I’ll Be Sleeping (demo) MP3 Expired

[buy Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth]

I think I’m going to settle in to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule after this, so feel free to intervene inbetween… I still have plenty to write about


August 08, 2006

Neurosis and Isis

And now a few words from Moz, who would like everyone to know that, though he has left Warwick many moons ago, he is still very much concerned with our ears and would like to give them something they might like...

By Moz

Having grown up on a steady diet of metal and grunge, in my mid–teen years I started to get a bit disillusioned with the whole metal scene– some of my favourite bands started to release rubbish albums (like Metallica) and the up and coming bands were all identikit nu–metal acts targeted at your angry suburban teenager. Around this time I started to get more into experimental rock, and came across a band who married my love for heavier music to a more progressive approach than most other rock bands lacked– the almighty Tool.

However, there didn't seem to be any other bands like them (except for A Perfect Circle, featuring Maynard James Keenan of Tool on vocals), and so I started getting into more progressive and so call post–rock bands, as well as other types of music, and drifted away from my 'metal roots.'

Fast forward until a few months ago, and things were beginning to look up – I'd recently gotten into crazy modern progsters The Mars Volta, and droning doomsters Earth, who had both somewhat restored my belief that it's possible for a band to be heavy AND experimental. Then one day I was in a record shop in Edinburgh, and while browsing around, my ears pricked up due to the music coming from the in–store stereo. It was at times heavy, at others sparse and atmospheric, and sounded pretty damn good to me. So I asked the guy behind the counter what the album was, and he told me it was 'The Eye Of Every Storm' by Neurosis. I didn't buy it then, but when I got home a few days later I picked it up, and proceeded to be blown away by the album. Combining the dynamics (and long track lengths!) of post–rock, the slow, pounding rhythms of sludge metal, quiet introspective passages and hardcore style vocals, I had finally found another band making intelligent yet aggressive music.

Isis

Upon doing some more research about the band on the internet, I discovered they weren't alone– another band called Isis played similar music and like Neurosis had started off playing somewhat simplistic and crushing hardcore before branching out dynamically and melodically. I picked up their latest album, 'Panopticon', and as with Neurosis, was blown away. Musically they're probably a little more uptempo than Neurosis, a little less bleak at times, vocals are used less, and the sounds tend to crescendo more gradually, whereas Neurosis often go from quiet sections to full blown assaults at the stomp of a distortion pedal. One thing can be said about both bands though – they're different to the majority of bands out there, and if you can imagine if Mogwai went 'metal' and used vocals, and that sounds like it might interest you, I'd check them both out as soon as possible.

Neurosis

As I said above, both bands have branched out musically from their hardcore roots, and so what to buy depends on what you're after. I only really own the later releases by both bands, but I'd definitely recommend 'A Sun That Never Sets' and 'The Eye Of Every Storm' by Neurosis and 'Panopticon' and 'Oceanic' by Isis. From what I've heard of Neurosis' earlier material, 'Times Of Grace' seems to be the point where they started to develop to their current sound, yet were more aggressive and abrasive than they are now. As for Isis, the EP 05' is a companion to their first album, 'Celestial' and is a good example of their earlier work. The MP3s should give you a good idea of what the two bands are like, but in the case of Isis I their work sits better being listened to as a whole album, as opposed to individual tracks.

Some samples of the bands:

Isis – 'The Other' MP3 Expired
Isis – 'In Fiction' MP3 Expired
Neurosis – 'Eye Burn' MP3 Expired
Neurosis – 'The Tide' MP3 Expired

Here are the Amazon links for the albums:

Buy Neurosis - The Eye Of Every Storm

Buy Neurosis - A Sun That Never Sets

Buy Isis - Panopticon

Buy Isis - Oceanic


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