Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Each Hand A Cutlass - A Universe Made of Strings

I have to admit, In Each Hand a Cutlass wasn't what I expected. Maybe jumping off too hastily to conclusions, after skimming through one or two pieces. The live performance masterfully executed brought to ends any allusions; I was blown away. What IEHAC manages to do is to cop feels of a wide variety of audio buttocks & sonic tits, claiming it for their own.

Openers The Escape ties in with Inspector Cutlass, clearly defining the mood as Asian with a touch of noir for added adrenaline. While the spanking bass in Inspector Cutlass and elaborate shredding makes for good technical summary, the opening for A Universe Made of Strings could use more experimentation and deviance.

Sliding in at just the right angle, the track Glaciers offers clear unaltered guitars with easy paced drums, losing the caffeinated edge to bliss for the first 3 minutes. The pace quickens after, rolling coasters picking up the pace once more. It's reminiscent of Hammock's "Raising your Voice..." work; Real easy on the ears. The wonderfully suave drumline in Chocolate & The Lovelorn Girl will get your body bouncing, assuming the bass doesn't grasp you in fits first. A transition to soft electronica is subtle, it's hard to differentiate where one track ends and another begins. The start of Marauder has a slight whirling drone tinge, sandwiched inbetween are pockets of blues guitarstry. That is to say, IEHAC stays true to the song's identity, never swaying away from the original, intended feel.

A Universe Made of Strings was said to have been conceived with the mathematical Super String Theory in mind, but what I feel is that this album is one that echoes and reverberates with human ideas, rather than mathematical equations. In A Universe Made of Strings, the featured track; A gently plucked guitar sways with a soft bass, while the high notes of a violin offer duality. The use of haunting vocals will have your arms pockmarked with goosebumps.
Having said all that, the extensive crossovers between different audio plateaus can be attributed to the band's lineup, their prolific musical background. IEHAC is indie rock veteran Daniel Sassoon (Electrico, Livonia, The Recidivists), keyboardist/DJ/dark mistress Amanda Ling (The Synth Experience, Electrico, Throb), producer/engineer Roland Lim (Seraphim) and drum wizard Jordan Cheng (Rafe, For This Cycle).

Find them on bandcamp :

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Destroyer ▼ Kaputt

Let's say you were browsing CD's in a non-discrete music shop tucked in dark corner in god knows where. The shop manager gave you a sample of Destroyer's Kaputt to uh, sample. You flipped the cd over, and some dude with weird funky hair named Dan Bejar is listed as the producer. He sort of reminds you of that Ancient Aliums guy. After giving it a once over through your expensive headset, you deduce that the shop manager is either hoping it'd sell or he genuinely wish to see you half-naked- playing a rendition of careless whisper.

All for the right prices, you softly whisper to yourself making sure no one is within earshot. As an afterthought, you slipped in Kaputt in, to update your playlist. You swear vehemently that if another M83 song shuffles on, you can't guarantee absolute safety of anyone within a 30 meter radius surrounding you. Feeling satisfied with yourself, you plop the CD up again once you reached home. You decide it's pretty catchy, with songs like A Savage Night at the Opera, had the right idea in mind. Dan Bejar's vocals sounds like silk across your skin as you turn on the hot shower.

I heard your record it's all right
Just set the loop and go wild

The song delivers, going into an incredibly suave guitar combo, finishing with synths and a fading voice over. Next up, Kaputt (the 6th track) slowly makes its way into your room. Sustained guitar chords, that soft yet up-beat bass makes your feet shake, your head wobble about its axis.

wasting your days
chasing some girls
alright, chasing cocaine
through the backrooms of the world
all night

The sax eases slightly, not taking over yet the presence is there. You notice the soft bass is audible throughout the 6:18 mins of the song. It ends with slow fading piano and the dream inducing sax. Feeling good about the song, you decide to check it Destroyer out online.

This is what you see.

You look down, and realize that you aren't going to get any sleep tonight.

Dan Bejar took a huge gamble when making Kaputt. It's hard to change a musical style this late, having released a total of 9 full albums, and a couple of EPs. Dan took the backseat in releasing Kaputt, opting for a more slow paced vocal style as compared to Rubies (2005) ; songs like Painter in your Pocket. Ultimately, Kaputt paid off. A rare album in 2011.