New Tunes

Thought I’d throw up some mini reviews to three recent albums I’ve been listening to

Tool – 10000 Days

Got this a few months ago. The record has heavy spiritual/philosophical connotations, which I suppose is nothing new to Tool. The title supposedly refers to Maynard’s mother, who passed away after battling a disease for 27 years (~10000 days). The title track is a slow build of thunder and lightning, a showdown in heaven pleading “Give me my wings!” While Maynard has been pretty antagonistic towards faith in the past (see Judith), I think he’s come to grips with it now, especially in light of his mother’s death. The pot is a hard diatribe against the drug war; Rosetta Stoned a tripped out X-Files jamfest; Vicarious and Right in Two fitting bookends to the record – man’s eternal relationship with violence. The only thing missing is the rage of past releases (Aenima).

Shpongle – Nothing Lasts

Actually a 2005 release, but I was having a hella time finding a good torrent. I’m amazed at how well these guys can mix records, given the diverse spectrum of samples. There’s everything from standard psytrance ambience, catchy dance beats, celebratory ethnic anthems, hippie visionary monologues, and orchestral woodwind denouement. And the entire 70 minutes is seamlessly constructed, repeating and remixing motifs throughout, but never ceasing a steady driving tempo. Top tracks are Levitation Nation (acoustic guitar, island drums, arabic? chanting), Nothing Is Lost (eerie piano, William Blake quotes), The Stamen of Shaman (ghostly triumphant brass), Exhalation (Raja Ram flute solos) and Falling Awake (mellowed guitar).

The Mars Volta – Amputechture

Yet another leak (recording studios must have shit IT security). I’d liken it more to Frances the Mute than De-Loused, if only for the volume of Latin elements. Half the songs are Santana jams during an alien invasion, the other half epicly controlled chaos of guitars, drums, and obtuse lyrical weirdness. Omar’s vocals are even higher pitched, robbing The Darkness of their castrati certificates. Tetragrammaton is grown from the same DNA as De-Loused’s Cicatriz, and I loved the finale of Meccamputechture – the steady subtraction of extraneous filler to a hum-able horn skeleton. Viscera Eyes is the obvious “single”, if the Volta is even capable of such conventional construction. I’m sure the white-noise filler could be trimmed to allow for possible air-play, and hey, bi-lingual lyrics allows for possible Latin-market penetration!

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