Articles

  • Marcus Miller and the Millertones

    4 nov. 2013, 23h29m

    Marcus Miller at GG Jazz II, Krasnodar, November 4, 2013

    Opening day at GG Jazz II.


    Holy shit
    I just had a little hike taking back to the apartment, and all the hour there was a single thought buzzing in my head, – Holy shit, holy shit, that was plain awesome! I was kind of under heavy impression, naturally like I was a stoned, walking. Or maybe I was actually stoned, who knows.

    There wasn’t much of premise for such a big outcome. Okay, I knew long before that second GG Marcus Miller is coming, I’ve seen some billboards in the city recently. So, a famous black bassist, who worked with Miles Davis will sound. Abstractly it drew me a whole lot of slapping, and devious near, free jazz harmonies (the latter can sound like a pun).

    The weekend before the fest I was sorting the artists to find out the days I go. Opening day seemed sold out online, and I searched Youtube for Marcus Miller in last order. When the schedule was set I peeped at two hour video from Marciac 2012 which made me feel nervous that I’m missing something valuable. Shuffling the video I noticed a song called Gorée (Go-ray), which is introduced by a story where Marcus visits a slavery museum; he’s playing bass clarinet. Hopefully there still were various price tickets at ticket office of the theater.

    In essence, two hours flashed like 20 minutes. Obviously rhythm-section acted as a model :-) The latter doesn’t dim the drummer’s share, he acted pretty good. Rhythmical contact was established almost instantly. Gorée helped to establish emotional contact. Even though there were evident jazzy parts, overall it sounded more like world level fusion, digestible and comprehensible. Dynamics was notable, granting many joyful massive collaborated climaxes.

    Of course the nature of the genre pushes variation, so the played songs were elongated and improvised over. For example, Gorée (Go-ray) had beautiful piano intro, and overall sounded more intimate and affecting than on the record.

    To wrap it up, it was very successful, just to remember how people rallied for encore (national unity holiday, right), unexpectedly impressive and musically charming. However, on the ladder, I heard some old farts complained about two hours of grind, even though admitting high skills, though it’s another story ;-)

    The sound

    Practically perfect. Loud sound, readable instruments. At the moments when Marcus pulled hard, one can feel a sound wave bumping in a chest (at first half of rows probably).

    The Millertones
    Adam Agati – electric guitar
    Robert “Sput” Searight – drums; Sput is from Sputnik ;-)
    Lee Hogans – trumpet
    Brett Williams – piano, rhodes, synth bass
    Alex Han – alto sax, soprano sax
    Marcus Miller – electric bass, fretless electric bass, bass clarinet

    One of first things that come when you start analyzing what has just happened, goes that fact that the title is kind of unfair. There was clearly a band of talented musicians, where each played significant role. No doubts, Marcus leaded the orchestra, as directly by pointing the finger, as having enough time to show off the skills. However Renaissance promo video points to different musicians involved in recording hinting all of them are session-based, anyway the band sounds really solid, so Béla Fleck’s format comes as a natural example of a possibility to concrete the team and its undoubted success.


  • The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing

    4 mai 2013, 17h58m

    Animals as Leaders at Plan B, Moscow, April 24, 2013


    In the tradition of pessimistic – as it fits what has happened – storytelling the very conclusion is told straight off. The event has failed, and for the sole fact of Animals as Leaders' performance it is too much to make it even clearly neutral. On the other side disgusting line-up and poor sound-engineering stand significantly. Both of them reoccur from the last time I’ve been to the band in Saint Petersburg 2011. That’s a bummer :-(


    Over four hours of boredom and disgust, Fucking Booking Machine Agency

    Before actually saying this I was asking myself, “Didn't I really find myself at the strangers’ party?”. With the circumstances of some sudden if I happen to be at pop, rap or what not kind of niche entertainment event wouldn’t I feel the same? Wouldn’t people on both sides of stage seem to perform silly to me? Likely. But what’s on the poster?


    There’s a heavy metal (which thallium is) festival headlined by Animals as Leaders. Pretty straight, isn’t it? There’s nothing like the band is a special guest or something. So one who’s into the band should likely enjoy the event. That’s how I read it. Even after listening to the rest bands where some were more loathsome than boring, and others more boring than loathsome, I still had an optimistic expectation, like quitting after Animals as Leaders, or that there could be schedule and I could come back to certain time or any other way good event governing could expect and provide. Alas. Now about what it was actually.

    Walking to the club the weather wasn’t expressing anything good. Strong, umbrella-twisting wind blew with cold rain and hail. So however one prevents it in such a condition the bottom ends up wet anyway. Entering the club it wasn’t seeming pretty well with, likely illegal, notice: Re-entrance is 200 RUB. Then a wardrobe... or something that served purpose of a wardrobe as there was a room with no cloth-stands. At least I was in.

    Abstract Deviation. Initially I was positive about this band as a warm-up. A few tracks I listened to were kind of instrumental math metal with some occasional progressive elements. When I came, as I was a little late, they had been already performing. Briefly, bad rhythm-section coordination, poor sound in mix. Also they turned out to have a vocalist, the readhead girl, who sang somewhat on her own, heavily syncopated. Overall it looked and sounded pretty amateur.

    Astral Display. Next were these guys, looking like a punk-rock band. Nothing special here, but rather conventional math metal with screaming fontman. For ones who like onomatopoeia way of naming things, a conventional low-key chuga-chuga tune (I know some like term more, but I’m sure it’s less descriptive in onomatopoeia-esque way). That wasn’t much disgusting, it just dragged the boredom. And yes, the hint goes to the right guitarist: with same relevance one could wear Madonna’s on.

    Uneven Structure. Then it was time for a french act. It started as low-key screamed hardcore. Later clean vocal was shown, as somewhat functional but with no point of relation to the rest of the tune, much syncopated most of time. Then were some math metal parts. Hardcore parts were mostly boring. Atmospheric parts, when one guitar played tremolo background, another played a progression of 2- or 3-note mid-pitched chords and last one played kind of low chuga-chuga, where drummer backed it polyrhythmically with help of bassist, and clean vocals happened aside, were somewhat a construction to look at. But even though these parts were experimental they didn’t speak to me at all. Kind of “take part in our experiment, please” with addition of “btw, there’s nothing else left you to do”. To me it feels like a good producer could make something much more consistent from them. Footage.

    vildhjarta. At this point I was naively thinking it’s over. Over with all that dull, lame and boring tunes I had to witness waiting for Animals as Leaders. I moved closer to the center of the place, having strange kind of sight. Why would they have needed that bunch of tech staff. Alas, these weren’t Animals as Leaders’ staff as they have none.

    The subsequent events for over an hour were making me wanna puke from that “swedish rock’n’roll”. Everything about its whole time could be expressed pretty short. The big fucking throat-biting in the glory of Odin, houd barks BOW-WOW-RAW-RAAWW. A little cur echos in its wrecked pitch. Guitars do CHUG-CHUG-CHUG, then a series of dissonant chords or just some out-of-key intervals that don’t ever resolve, then fast double bass drum fill. Then over again – more or less, that was it. There also were sarcastic things, like somewhere in between the big hound did a karaoke-style clean singing. Such a pathetic thing and how strange, didn’t he know Odin’s servants don’t try to sing clean!?
    Idea for swedish rock’n’roller.
    To be more evil and harsh,
    don’t ever tune your higher 3 strings.
    That will make Odin like your dissonances.

    After a quarter of hour of that, it was pretty hard to be perceived directly, as what was sounding from the stage, as what people were doing in front of. The latter was about those metal dorks urging for slam and finally received simple rhythms for. That was the point of no return for the event. Thereafter thoughts were in the way of sociology. However closer to the end it wasn't possible to perceive it anyhow - too loud feedback made me stop up the ear which was closer to the speaker (this was last time I attended to a metal gig without earplug headphones). So at that moment I was passionately looking at the barking fuck, eagering to return him some of his throat-cutting gesticulation to shut up forever. It was small matter of luck that gloomy day, but by some coincidence both of them actually shut up for a few song because of mic issues.

    Sociology. Okay, teens need to protest. So was I as well. This is natural and is in part a self-determination process. They need to separate themselves from prior generation, e.g. through art, regardless of its qualities. At least it has to be somewhat unique at a moment of time. The more obscene and defiant the better. It’s a question of balance between qualities and separation demand which is hard to find.

    Some people don’t even have a pitch, some don’t have a sense of rhythm, some don’t see beyond their circle of relation’s taste. Some even don’t give a damn about music itself, rather some associated physical group activities. Doesn’t drunk kicking each other’s asses in mosh-pit look like a tribal ritual dance? I have no point in recounting that any deeper, but for what goes beyond individual perception and what goes physically further handbanging doesn’t really seem anything to do with music in first place. It’s about entertainment, not art.

    Unfortunately, in the modern perspective, art is whatever an artist says it is. Some draw pictures with their own excrements. Some do low-key noise, barking to mic all the time. With proper PR, sooner or later an act will find its audience that will meet its demand. Be it a niche entertainment or hipsterish tend to the rare.

    And even if taking the art as is, when audience prefers something else to listening, it’s art's bad in first place. However, people do much more creepier and stranger things out there. Basically they are free to do whatever they want to if it’s legit. The only question bothered me at that moment was “What the hell do I experience this utter dross for and how came I to share it with these people in front?!”.

    I wasn’t alone in that question. People were standing calm indifferently observing altogether meaningless acts. Some of them were yawning. Some were sitting on the hall’s sideway seats don’t even looking at the stage because it was closed by people in front of them. On the exit going to the subway station people were talking, “Why didn’t they do a solo gig?”, “Why should we have to listen all that and wait so long for Animals as Leaders?”, etc.

    It says just one thing. The promoter, Booking Machine Agency, has failed its job. Its job is to bring bands and understand who they bring them for. It requires some basic understanding of the music promoter has business with. How earless should one be to decide to bring Animals as Leaders and vildhjarta to the same gig. Hey, mr. Imbecile, Tori Amos and Between the Buried and Me both use lower piano register, will you call them for a festival? I doubt they have less in common than the aforementioned bands.

    As a matter of proof there’s a poll at vk.com festival’s page. Even though it was clear long before, post-factum it’s ultimately obvious even for an idiot. Read my lips. Separate. Two. Fucking. Gigs.

    Wasn’t it actually a festival? I don’t think so. Where was performance schedule? At least where was performance order? Was the club ready for 5-hour event? I’m not sure.


    Sound

    I didn’t pay attention to other band’s sound qualities so the description is solely about Animals as Leaders’ set.

    First about the requirements. The common are audible instruments and minimal dynamic range. It could be fair enough for playing chugs and screaming to mic. But for Animals as Leaders it’s whole different story. In contrast to others, their wide articulation needs wider dynamic range. All that slapping, tapping, double-thumb technique, clean tone on overdriven rhythm tone, and many others just wouldn’t work out without wide dynamic range. So it won’t work out without proper soundchecking.

    And unfortunately it didn’t. Nothing but either two overdriven guitars, or two clean guitars sounded well in mix. Anything like slapping was ending in a mess, tapping and clean tone was masked by hi-gain rhythm tone. The levels of instruments seemed to be set up by cripple dumb. Or maybe there were no change after sweden jerks.

    Drums were highly in front, with its weird high-pitched bass drum that resembled plastic click. Beneath was rhythm guitar. And only after was solo. Basically we were listening to how good new drummer is (see below about it).

    In that combination more that half of the set was wrecked. Only three or four song sounded not bad. I was anxiously changing places trying find better one. Initially I was closer to the stage, somewhere around 10th row. There I couldn’t even recognize the first song, which sounded like pulsing low-key humm. Then I got back a little. Second one was at least recognizable, but solo guitar was sounding like a fucking synth which even wasn’t enough audible to dissect notes it played. Another two hops and around the middle of setlist and little behind the middle of hall I had at least somewhat. Somewhat that allowed to listen, not guessing and trying to recall to the parts from memory.

    Should one really be running through the hall to find a place where instruments are somewhat audible? I’m not talking about enjoying music. I’m about the very minimal sound quality that allows recognition of that the artist plays. Is it a concert in good send? It’s bullshit!

    Overall sound was better than in Petersburg ‘11 but definitely away from what could be called at least acceptable sound for the band. Also it actually seemed that it was the way more problem of sound-engineering rather than the club’s inherent design flaw. A damn native do-not-give-fuck-mode, “What difference it makes? Tickets were sold, bands were on stage. Formal obligation is fulfilled. Bothering sound quality? Why on earth!”.


    Flow



    The crowd was chanting.
    Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin
    Javier Javier
    Matt
    As they appeared they were welcomed by the round of applause. Then was minimal sound-check of a dozen of chords played, some warm-up thumbing. And there we went.

    (“►” is a timepoint link to the footage)

    1. Earth Departure

    2. Wave of Babies
    A ta-ta, Priviet. Hello, we’re Animals as Leaders, we’re very happy to be back in Moscow, thank you very much for coming tonight.And again we were honoring the master ;-)
    Tosin Tosin Tosin Tosin3. Tempting Time

    4. Do Not Go Gently

    5. Point to Point

    6. Cylindrical Sea

    That was the first song that sounded acceptable.

    The more I listen to the song the more
    effortlessly it draws a romantic picture. An anxious water
    journey, suddenly appearing giant waves, rain squalls,
    then rays of light digging through gloomy clouds,
    and raging storm coming back. Kind of Aivazovsky
    seascape.


    Hilarious kind of moment. There were some folks, likely young ones, who were outcrying Tosin-chant with:
    CAFO CAFO CAFO CAFOWell, it wasn’t very disturbing at the beginning but recurred for several times it started to be kind of obtrusive. What did Tosin? He played Smells Like Teen Spirit’s chorus chords, then Matt joined for a measure. A lot of laughs, I translate.
    Kids, shut up!7. Thoroughly at Home

    8. Isolated Incidents
    Thank you. We’ve spent the night in the van we drove from a... where were we... Minks, Belarus. Russian roads maybe aren’t so good... for hours.9. Somnarium
    Here mr. Garstka improvised in IDM-ish drums part. Can’t say it’s was something great, but as a replacement to what could be played from record it’s the good.

    10. An Infinite Regression

    How about a round of applause for all the bands that played tonight, yep. ??? A, we wanna thank you guy for coming out to the show, am, we love playing in Moscow, we hope for feedback some time soon. This will be our last song tonight. See you next time, dosvidanya.With all reverence, mr. Abasi, in that circumstances I couldn't fulfill your request. They didn’t deserve a clap. And here is the feedback.

    11. Weightless
    It sounded no bad as well. I can’t express my associations in words clearly, but the song is definitely storytelling. And it has something to do with “weightless”. Like in the ending parts what seems a massive giant construction, suddenly turns into something imagine and crumbles in air in front of you.

    Then guys left from the stage. Some people started leaving. Some started crying for more.
    One more song, we want more, clap clap, CAFOI can't say it was constant so it happened in a few waves. In between I was somewhat scared that next wave wouldn't go in turn. Though, in a few minutes they appeared :-)
    You guys are fucking zaebis!Who tough Tosin the bad word :-D One could imagine the song.

    12. CAFO
    Tosin headbanged in choruses with all his new-styled hair. Closer to an end a guy stage-dived in front of Tosin that made him smile. That was it.
    Spasibo, spasibo. Dasvidanya.
    Signature Ibanez Prototype


    As everyone should have already noticed at all recent videos and gigs Tosin plays new guitar. EMG’s actives dropped away, with new DiMarzios that he was involved in creation of. There’s still a tremolo machine, which surprises me a lot. What for?! Is someone consciously going to use rage with 8-string guitar? Okay, other questions Tosin answers in person.



    So for me it's all about, am, the articulation for some of these more unique, am, techniques that I'm doing. But also translates well into more... even like tapping. So the guitar just has a lot of different voices to it, which I think could be extremely useful in the studio as well as live, and am... For 8-string that's definitely unique because I think they've kind of restricted what that, what 8-string application could be, as usually quite metal. And for me, I think, am, there's so much more you can do with this guitar besides just high-gain stuff... but if you want to do high-gain stuff...And he shows what that high-gain stuff looks like: CH-CH-CHUG-CHUG-CHUGA :-D Funny, Tosin is always open and positive kind of guy. And it’s actually impractical for him to rib or scorn more clearly to that whole litter of extended-range wannabes.

    A wee bit more about the guitar. I bet it sounds perfect allowing for all these modes, power and clarity. But the way it looks still makes his Strandberg #17 unparalleled. The Ibanez is just enlarged superstrat and that’s it. Whereas Strandberg is the thing. Hope it survived that robbery incident and Tosin still possesses one. It also would be very interesting to watch a comparison of these two.


    Navene Koperweis vs Matt Garstka

    Matt Garstka Introductory video’s top-rated comment
    Navene: Tosin and Javier are the two most generous,
    caring and understanding individuals I've ever met and
    I look forward to a lifetime of friendship with the both
    of them. Now before I leave the band to make
    dubstep crap, here are so damn near
    impossible drum tracks. MUAHAHAHA!!!
    Matt: Hand me those sticks.

    Navene left in Match 2012. Now gospel drummer, Matt Garstka plays with the band. Watching his interviews made me feel suspicious about him. Yes, he can drum well, but reading comments to his Animals as Leaders’ videos I’ve noticed people complaining about him. That he doesn’t drum to original tracks, but improvising somewhere around of. After the gig I had some ambiguity about it as well. So I wanted to test. Here’s Wave of Babies as a sample, shot from drummer perspective.

    Navene


    Matt


    I can notice some breaks and fills that vary, a little of which are sort of late. It’s just a good sample video. I know the material well, and at the gig I had a feeling that drums broke my headbanging expectation several times.

    Matt is kind somewhere around but not very precise. Like he didn’t have time to learn his parts. Or maybe it’s intentional “enhancement” or his current level limit, I don’t know. At least he wouldn’t pass Dream Theater audition ;-) And yes, between the two I would surely prefer Navene. Who knows what saint cthulhu mr. Creationist sells the guys each day ;-) Though future will show for sure. Technically he seems to be mastered enough to sustain recording process (see note about producer below).

    Some words about Navene’s current activities. Yes, unfortunately it’s “dubstep crap” now :-/ I’m not sure anyone could intentionally utilize anything of the genre in purpose of music, but at least in his musically desperate hour my Mid-East friend could try spin one track or two (bandcamp, soundcloud).

    It’s also notable that the guy in his 27 has already played in death metal band Animosity. Founded his own death metal band, Fleshwrought. Played in world-class band. Now he’s into electronic music. So he is actively seeking for something. I only can wish him luck finding it and not to regret the rest of his life about the departure.

    As the matter of word about side-projects I’d also like to add that besides T.R.A.M. Javier has found his own side-project, Mestís, and released the EP, Basal Ganglia. Well, I don’t want to speak about it, but only that he exposed some latin background. He’s still a good guitar player of two bands. Nothing has changed.


    Wrap up


    The price of everything is what Tosin does to guitar. Likely I should narrow to non-academic kind of rock/jazz guitar. The breakthrough he pulls in style, technique and gear. It’s as extremely curious, lively and pleasant to listen, as it is to learn and play. Songs, musical ideas, techniques he uses. He truly makes more value in my life through his work. Number one who keeps challenge, fun and curiosity in playing guitar. Thank you so much, Tosin! You know, we’re not just chanting your name to make some noise. Thank you Javier and Matt for good work as well.

    The value of nothing is the value of what has happened. What could have ended as source of joy for next months ended in the contrary. So I hardly doubt I’ll ever intentionally attend Animals as Leaders’ split gig, festival with them performing or whatever could have a chance to mix the treasure with dross. At least in Russia. Two times were sorely enough.

    As a matter or good news. Wikipedia’s Animals as Leaders’ page state:
    On November 28, 2012, Misha Mansoor, the producer for the first Animals as Leaders album, announced that he'd begun writing riffs with Tosin Abasi, intending to start recording on the currently untitled third album. Two days later, it was confirmed that Mansoor was recording the band after the completion of two songs.As tedious Mansoor musician’s projects are, Periphery, Bulb, as Mansoor Animals as Leaders producer is outstanding. I surely prefer Animals As Leaders record production to Weightless’s (drum mixing in particular). So if Mansoor is involved again it’s the virtue. At least drumming for self-titled were good, and he can tell Garstka how to drum progressive metal ;-)

    As a final thing, here’s the lucky guy’s video who jammed with Tosin at their next day’s Saint Petersburg performance’s soundcheck :-)




    References

    1. Festival page at vk.com,
    2. Animals as Leaders page at vk.com,
    3. Youtube’s Olemus Olemus.


  • Female vocal at its best

    5 avr. 2013, 0h20m

    Нино Катамадзе & Insight at Театр Драмы, Krasnodar, April 4, 2013



    Here won’t be a big imagination-rich story or precise description. Well, much of the time-inspiration pair is drained by software engineering. Though I like the way it goes, and nevertheless I have something to say.

    It had been long since I was confident on what I could call a reference male vocal, with color, depth and range but had no close female competitor. Two specimen are still at their honorable position, Maynard and Brandon. About a year and half ago they received a counterpart.

    Based on a strong framework of mastered rhythm section and guitar, she makes you constantly return your jaw to its original disposition, besides unpinning yourself from a back of a seat. With so much of style diversity she translates some emotions directly to the place where your brain tells you, – dude, this is what you’re feeling. And nothing you can do. There’s no undo, no rethink. You just freeze pinned to a back filled with what next dramatic chapter’s page is carrying. Yes, it works mostly for dramatic parts, with five-time effect when it’s live. Нино Катамадзе & Insight run a reference now. She’s what female vocal should sound like at its best.

    Interesting feeling comes once you visit such band in a provincial city as it temporarily feels like a world-level cultural hub. And yes, it was 3/4 of Green played! That was :-)

    What it’s left to say is sound quality. Yes, it was nearly perfect this time and what I can recall to is mere a personal preference of instrument placement in mix. The mistakes of prior gig were fixed. Readable bass, drums with juicy bass drum, rather readable guitar. And of course full load of Nino’s perfect chant :-)

    This time we decided to not wait for the post-gig conversation section. At least from the previous I own this indeed remarkable recording.



  • Chinese bakes questionnaire session

    22 avr. 2012, 22h03m

    Mooncake at SU-27, Krasnodar, April 15, 2012



    How did you know about the event?
    Well, the story is strange. I do recently observe what last.fm recommends in the country and I have already been to Mooncake and the genre is quite common for my library but nothing about it. The saturday before the gig I was at one place, the window was opened and I started to hear drums. After half of hour a bass has joined, then a guitar. I thought it was a rehearsal. But there were nothing like garages or any suitable space. When a native distracting vocal has joined I have closed the window and started to look in billboard for the cause. The entry of the cause had not been found but surprisingly I found Mooncake’s.

    Was it well-organized at a first sight?
    Not quite. There was no entrance on time. So I was waiting in adjacent sort-of-asian cafe or restaurant or whatever it is.

    What was best about the event?
    No broken orchestra-thing, quits, since you’ve come to exactly that south I meant in past review ;-) And the new drummer. I could be biased by the warm-up band but the guy is good. He makes certain dynamics whereas prior drummer the gig I’ve been mostly felt drum-machining. That’s the major advancement :-)

    What was worst about the event?
    No doubt the warm-up band. So un-coordinated rhythm section, so unmatching genre to the Mooncake’s. Who have picked them for the event?

    What were drummer’s soft stick tips standing fills about?
    Obviously Auto Rock performed live, like this ;-)

    What annoyed the most in major part of the event?
    Canned backing tracks. No, seriously, two or three songs cause that “who the hell plays that part?”. And you stop enjoying music and start analyzing what a cheating happens while guitarist halts, cellist halts and there are two guitars and piano in mix :-/ I know that the album might be recorded by two guitarists but it’s not an excuse if you play it years after one of them quit.

    Rearrange songs, you know, the “live version” thing. Let bassist play guitar time-to-time. Use looper, as hm... it might be not quite corresponding example, but Tosin does loop intro arpeggio in CAFO when it’s being performed live, other do as well. Backing tracks are for background things and not like when guitarist plays insignificant phrases or over-flangered chords while the major theme goes pre-recorded. I guess the latter is about Mandarin.

    And other people say – a review I read on post-rock.ru – that sometimes you sound just as a record but there’s no point in it. Surely, as a failover you ought be able to play without your crucial orchestra-thing.

    Has the gig a chance to be some milestone?
    Yes, the first event in the city :-)

    How do songs vary one to another?
    One quarter of songs are quite pretty. One quarter are flawed somehow. The rest is kind of common average. I would say that intense parts were perceived better than calm parts, but I don’t feel this difference listening to the album. Digging further, tremolo-featuring intense parts sounded better than ones without it. Some calm parts played felt lacking a composition but listening to the album I can not say “duh, here’s that piece I noticed on gig”. Maybe it’s because of backing tracks disturbance, maybe because of reordered instruments in live mix, I can not say exactly.

    What was the diode led on the headstock of cello?
    I guess it was a tuner, as the cello was being tuned frequently. I know that a fretless instrument is the whole different story, but I guess this led was constantly blinking from red to green and back within cello parts.

    What was the overall sound quality?
    Surprisingly they chose a right venue. It’s right not in a way of interior or how well it is established as music arena, rather than in a way of attention paid to a sound quality. They have quite competent sound engineers. They have shielded walls. Most of times I have been there they have appropriate sound.

    The band itself was found in a good attention as well. They had own sound engineer who ruled throughout the gig. He walked in the crowd to check the sound. This is uncommon even for some foreign bands coming without dedicated sound guy. Besides, there was a drum-set preparation as it was wrapped in plexiglass plates to improve acoustics. Such mature attitude is a matter of respect as the band is perceived with serious intentions.

    Of course there were some minor shortcoming as well. In most of calm parts cello was slightly beyond of being enough loud. At least half of intense parts were on a way to blend to a undistinguished mess. But these didn’t ruin listening much. Sound was appropriate.

    What is the summary?
    I might be wrong be but it felt like two-hour-set, whereas the album entirely is an hour only. Plus some singles, barely goes to one and half. And I didn’t find any setlist on setlist.fm so I couldn’t cofirm or deny.

    No doubt the event had passed good. No doubt I enjoyed at least a half of it. It’s rather quality sound which the city didn’t have a chance to meet earlier. So thank you for coming! I will surely be in, next time, if you come. Well actually if you see the point of performing in front of at most 30 people...


    The photo by Konstantin Ekimochkin.


  • My Ishmael Live: Flow

    6 oct. 2011, 23h34m

    First part, the Plot of Animals As Leaders at Kosmonavt, September 29, 2011

    Both, human memory and video camera microphone mask flaws of the gig, as the former forgets and the later compresses.

    Flow






    1. Point to Point
    2. Wave of Babies


    Here Javier played sad ambient piece, while Tosin had been fixing his gear.


    3. Song of Solomon




    4. Tempting Time


    Here Javier played much more integral piece, which is either an intro to new song, or even a separate one.


    T-t-t. Saint-Petersburg, hello! Hello. We’re gonna play a new song for you now.
    5. Isolated Incidents




    6. On Impulse
    7. Thoroughly at Home


    So, this is our first time in Russia, and it’s really awesome to be playing for so many people. We’re really appreciate it, thanks. We’re gonna do one more song and hopefully will be back in Saint-Petersburg in near future. See you next time.
    8. CAFO

  • My Ishmael Live: Plot

    6 oct. 2011, 23h10m

    Animals As Leaders at Kosmonavt, September 29, 2011

    An adventure of the great discovery.


    Everything started from polyrythm this spring. Wikipedia article featured the following:Contemporary bands such as Tool, Animals as Leaders and Dream Theater also incorporate polyrhythms in their music...Well, Tool that’s for sure, Dream Theater, am, there’re some, but wait a minute. Animals as Leaders!? What?


    The Band



    Digging to the band, a lot of its aspects seemed to me noticeable and uncommon for the scene. Like Tosin’s behaviour when he’d been asked for solo project by the label, and refused until picked enough skills going to music institute for a year. Like his name, well, such a Star Wars character, Tosin Abasi ;-) The way they all are attired. No kind of metal attribution, no tattoos, to trained arrogance. Not to mention the way Tosin is dressed, like 20s detective in EMG studios and the like :-) These are quite adorable, since when they play they’re just musicians.

    Listening to their debut record, Animals As Leaders, I didn’t comprehend from the spot, how great and pushing it is. But after third time, I guess, I’ve realized. Masterpiece! Well, this happens to me frequently with complex music like , as it takes time.


    Augmented 6th and the like

    It’s been a year or more, since I’ve been so interested in learning a piece of guitar music. The piece that would challenge you in many areas of your skills, while being utterly graceful and touching. Their pieces are interesting mostly in any area, as rhythmically and in the sense of time, in voicing of chords, in the way solos are written, rhythmically, melodically and of usage of alternative techniques like sweep, tapping and slapping.

    Fortunately, for ones like me, having no much time, and good capability as well, for transcribing music by ear, there’re tabs for all of their songs. And most of them are quite precise but only some are playable on a standard range guitar. At least Point to Point is playable on 6-string guitar. On Impulse is bit harder since 7th string is frequently used for bass notes in main part, though, transposing too low notes an octave higher doesn’t spoil the tune. So, I mean, it’s pleasant to play their stuff, and pleasant to learn to play their stuff. This is what the title is mostly about.


    The harpists



    In the past decade there were some well known bands experiencing extended range guitars, mostly 7-stringed. But for majorty of players rarely were able to utilize the given range by the style limits or by their own, rather just lower strings. It’s about Deftones, Korn and others. They would quite easily fit common or baritone 6-stringed guitar, just with lower tuning as other do, like, Slipknot or In Flames, which is sort of more honest. So by transposing virtually all of this stuff might be played in standard tuning. The only guy who had been leaving me unsatisfied with standard range was John Petrucci, whose parts are catchy and interesting, and in the same time, are spanning whole fingerboard. As a brief example, Misunderstood comes to the mind.

    As itself, the existence of the 7-stringed guitar didn’t cause any confusion even in case of abuse. But when 8-stringed guitars started to appear, it seemed to me stupidly funny. At least in case of Dino Cazares it is, as of video introduction of his new band’s record. His parts would fit in 3 string guitar. Then Deftones released their Diamond Eyes which for me is their worst record where Stef started to play his new 8-string guitar, who I’d give 4 to 5. All songs featuring low chords with low F# sound to me very crappy. Like ambient equivalent of a puke, I’d say. So the future seemed like this and 8-string thing was rather ridiculous to me at that time, until...

    Until the moment I’ve head Wave of Babies. I guess Animals As Leaders is mostly playable on 7-string guitar except some moments in a few songs. But the song is evidently lower which it exhibits throughout. The song is something unbelievable, with all its power and groove. With its polyrhythmic sense which mostly from beginning starts by the race of guitars and drums. With elaborately aligned solos that nail you back to the rhythm. It’s so many great aspects of the song. Good sounding live version is here.

    It’s rather rare feeling, but in the most tasty moments, maybe in moments a metric modulation occurs or appearing of evident second meter or another significant pulse change, it draws a smile on my face. Kind of pleasant smile, when you’re focused on music and it rewards you with something significant. And well, definitely, it had been happening to me listening to Tool (of course I’m not trying to compare them, Tool’s level is unequaled, and also they’re acting in different sub-genres, tough no one knows what will happen in ten years), and maybe, quite rarely, with something else. And I’m happy about another band with the capability :-)

    So quickly, the 8-string thing has been legitimated. And even I’ve started to think I wouldn’t mind to have one. For example, the guitar Tosin played On Impulse with Strandberg #17, which looks pretty attractive, though as pricey as attractive (> $3K). Whereas his Ibanez RG2228 with active EMGs, which he played the rest songs with, is not at all. Btw, Javier changed his Ibanez RGA8 to prettier kind of sunburst custom with passive DiMarzios, claiming them having better sound, which is quite reasonable.

    There’re many topics of discussion of musical and technical aspects, but the post is actually about the gig. So I end this part with cite by Javier from a great interview of many common and technical questions, with Tosin and him.From a metal perspective, I don’t think there are any other bands that are using the 8-string the way Tosin does. We’re not just playing straight chugs on the lower strings. We’re using all eight strings as a whole instrument, as if it were a piano where we can play the lowest note while still playing higher register notes on the upper keys.
    The gig



    Unfortunately, the more you wish for something, the more cruelly in shatters if it happens to fall. So this is the saddest part. And it’s about Tosin face for three to four first songs until he put up with it.

    Everything started to spin when mr. Abasi appeared on stage and shortly peeped around his rack thingies and it started from ambient kind of sound, barely resembling intro to Point to Point. Then clean part started and it wasn’t too bad. Event after rhythm guitar joined and everything got much worse it still was an affective state, still there were a lot of expectations. And when they transitioned to intro progression of Wave of Babies it was an anticipation pinnacle. After the two loops of the intro, heavy part begun. I’ve done couple of handbanging to the so familiar groove and then stopped when I’d been seeing frown Tosin’s face, while soloing without a sound. He checked whether guitar is actually plugged, made several gestures to the stage sound engineer. After that he had slightly appeared in mix. When song come to tapping part and he switched the preset his face had turned to what-the-hell-is-wrong again.



    Mix at that time mostly contained of Navene, of some frequency bands of rhythm guitar and ripped ambient fragments of electronic fills. The mighty drumming had been making no sense in such an ugly sonic environment.

    Then I tried to move across the venue. At the beginning I was at the right side, close to the stage. Then within Wave of Babies moved center. It made no advantage. From the opening perspective it had been a lot like interpreting game. Like, here add9 and minor triad fingering, then it’s Song of Solomon. And here IDM-ish drums and synths then it’s Tempting Time. After that I’ve tried my last chance and moved to the end of hall right by the sound engineer area.

    At the times Abasi been introducing a new song, Isolated Incidents. Clean had been not bad. Then distorted started it had turned out that from the position everything is at the threshold of acceptance. Solos where blurry but happened evidently. Following speedy slap part was there as well. The song itself is pretty good, and promising for the Weightless. Also the major feel is noticeable, since it hasn’t been heard on prior works.



    After that Tosin had finally picked his pretty custom #17 for On Impulse. Actually he played recently prior song on Strandberg as well, but by the circumstances, probably, decided to stick with more compressed and stable EMG sound.

    So as in prior song, clean part was fine. But when heavy backing started, Tosin’s part had been encompassed with the same noisy veil, again at the edge of good and bad.



    At the beginning of Thoroughly at Home, another sound issue occurred. The slapping intro hadn’t been heard. So he switched through the couple of presets for better sound. Live, it felt a bit different because Javier’s progression during the main part was less blended in mix as it is on the record. By some reason, clean chords in break were recorded, while they both were vacant. Then after great low chord voicing part which sounded not as great is it could be, happened solo part which was a bit dirty in performance, and not as sublime as it sounds on record. Then a loop back to intro, recorded chords, and it’s done.



    There Tosin announced the last song, CAFO and hopefully promised to come back some day. Then he looped the well-known arpeggio and they started. Both hard solo parts had been played almost precisely, wonderingly with some fast slides he made blind. He exposed the horn in pause before the last part. And after lights faded and they left.

    I’ve been at the venue once before in April on great Mogwai gig. And great it was least because of high-gain songs. They’ve had more then half of clean and low-gain stuff, so the loss of third of it was not that dramatic. It feels like that Kosmonavt is not designed for that kind of music. As everything falling the same pitfall.

    But the most sad thing is that whatever bad sound is, in this venue or not, a lot of people reply thereafter, that it sounded great, it was perfect and the like. I don’t know whether they are deathly def, were drunk, or there’re use some non-sonic criteria for sonic matters. Worst thing is if most responses are good, there’s no reason to change a thing for promoters. And by this path next great band will happen in the same crappy place :-(

    Sadly realizing all the things happened, I’ve been told:What did you expect from a russian club!? You’ve seen Tosin alive, that’s your reward.
    Autograph session

    At the break time, at least one third of audience left out. Actually, I did plan to leave as well. But by some reason I stayed. Maybe I was still thinking, maybe I needed to see something so much worse to re-evaluate what bas been seen.

    Time dragged on slowly. There’re no surprises and after everything ended I walked to the way out.



    By the exit under the stairs I’ve noticed some amount of people crowded around gentleman in a hat. Gentleman in a hat?! I’ve moved closely and the honest surprise has been drawn on my face. Tosin himself was standing there, signing everything from tickets to t-shirts. He was talkative and really open. Even more open than bar tenders in opposite side. He told that he had issues with his amp (AxeFX).

    After that signing has turned out to photo-session as Tosin has been kindly allowing. There where single guys, girls, group of people and random combination of, thereafter. Because of that Tosin questioned, – Do you actually know each other? ;-)



    For short time, in the same place, Javier appeared with a bottle of beer. He did a few photos as well. Answered some question and left. While Tosin stayed until the end when security asked to leave the place.

    I’ve asked Tosin for about a tour for the next record, which, he told is only scheduled for States. Lastly I asked him to briefly describe the way he developed his sound. So the receipt of by Tosin Abasi sounds like: Jazz, Meshuggah, Shreding. Quite strange, but I guess he tried to simplify at most and at least it’s what he said.

    For that moments the excitement that left me after the intro progression of Wave of Babies, had come back. And most of discontent has gone. Don’t know, maybe it’s his vibe, maybe it’s his ingenuousness.


    This hadn’t been shot in Saint-Petersburg, but whatever, the photo of gentleman in eyeglasses demonstrates that nothing had ended bad :-) I’d been leaving the venue in good mood. Next day I found Weightless is available for pre-order and as shortly as in month with some it’ll be reasonable to struggle the local post office to receive it. It’s even a tiny bit more values the moment of the listen ;-)


    References

    Photos from the event:


    Second part, the Flow of Animals As Leaders at Kosmonavt, September 29, 2011

  • Asleep-awake Shuffle Theater: Plot

    15 jui. 2011, 16h42m

    First part, the Flow of Dream Theater at Crocus City Hall, July 12, 2011

    The Best is the Enemy of the Good.


    Plot



    The “brotherhood of wisdom” of Dream Theater had been about ~3000. When Crocus City Hall has about 7000 places when the front area is transformed to fan zone. I’m not sure whether it’s big enough audience or not, but some wrote something about a shame. At least I’ve seen no event banners in the center of the city, but one at bus station somewhere in the south.

    I’ve already been in Crocus for an IT event and it left good memories. And I’ve been expecting good level of organization and the sound. So in general it happened as expected. But the reservation.

    The sound was really good. But when you have it, you want more. At least at the 2rd row on balcony I felt a little muddy bass, a little not bright guitar tone. At the beginning the vocals were not very distinguishable, but were fixed in next 10-20 minutes. Well mostly every instrument was distinguishable but it was just good, not more.



    Well, LaBrie had a good fit matching virtually every note as in old high-pitch things as in modern.



    Some say he has his own character in drumming and songs sound different, which I didn’t notice. Don’t know, at least modern things sounded as expected.



    James was much more active than usually. He’d been appealing to different sides of venue, forcing the audience, asked for singing, clapping...



    …and waving hands.



    There’re no many ones who got late, so in the middle it was about the same crowd.



    Mangini had been happily beating his gear, with positive and good openness. I guess he’s still a bit about those phone call surprise ;-)



    Gentle metalhead ;-)



    Myung played without bass cabinet with all his mysterious imperturbable tranquillity.



    Jordan in sequencer mode ;-)



    John is hanging around his leg stands in solo time.



    Playing a lion being led to a cage
    I turn from surreal to seclusion



    Is that religious thinggy really more playable then Haken Continuum?



    But Continuum is here...



    At work.



    At voluntary ;)



    Freed from the shackles of Portnoy LaBrie rocking at the stage. Noticeable, I didn’t found him loosing his breath while running and jumping as getting back to singing.



    Just, well done! It was balanced to be good for everyone, and not just excellent for someone.



    And again, Happy Birthday JP! :-)


    References

    Photos:
    Video reviews:
    Other briefs:

  • Asleep-awake Shuffle Theater: Flow

    15 jui. 2011, 14h16m

    Dream Theater at Crocus City Hall, July 12, 2011

    The time I’ve seen Dream Theater’s Moscow gig again, was about sustainable uncertainty of the first impression about Black Clouds & Silver Linings. It took me about two weeks to recheck the record and realize it’s as great most of recent releases. It may be ambiguous, but the instrumental mixes from 3rd CD helped me understand this record a lot. So continuously switching from instrumental to vocal mixes made feel I’m in.

    Since Dream Theater has been established long before the , which I’m big admirer of, they have lots of old-sounding records. So for me Dream Theater acceptance threshold concurs with addition of Jordan Rudess with some exceptions when LaBrie doesn’t squeal like antique power metal star and songs don’t sound like classic rock or progressive rock. Fortunately, the other genre influences are established in vocal verse/chorus parts and the breaks, buildups and other times when James hangs back stage, are pretty unique and interesting in different senses. But anyway, they should be given a credit because they played songs from 10 albums to fit the differently aged audience with obviously different preferences. And definitely, they’ve did their best!


    Flow



    1. Under a Glass Moon
    I’ve not found a full-length version, but only the part of. Unfortunately, last.fm doesn’t allow parametrized youtube video embedding (e.g. with start time specified). Old kind of thing, no much interest.

    2. These Walls

    One of the best from Octavarium, pretty groovy, good singing, good everything else. No doubt, it’d been performed flawlessly.

    3. Forsaken

    Not the best from Systematic Chaos, too much vocal-oriented, but not bad anyway. I’d prefer The Dark Eternal Night or Constant Motion. It’s actually funny about the former of who will do well-known controversial Portnoy backing vocals and rap-like fills ;-) Hard to imaging any of them doing it, if they actually will ever do again.

    4. Endless Sacrifice

    This is the true masterpiece from Train of Thought which itself is a complete masterpiece, with all the groove and the expressiveness of solo switching. Also, I’ve never seen Jordan playing portable synth :-)

    5. Drum Solo

    The impressive demonstration of the recent aquisition. I don’t know, but my first association with Mangini is his 3-minute orgasming over the phone from The Spirit Carries On series :-D Seriously, Mike seems to be talented and mature drummer who can bring fresh ideas to the band.

    6. The Ytse Jam
    Here’s just a part of. Oldest song played at the concert, with the sense of classical music. Kind of filler for me.

    7. Peruvian Skies

    The beginning is slowly crawling when James starts singing. In the chorus John backs, and it crawls back to verse. James is impressive and varying here. But the solo part and the next riff break are kind of common and doesn’t leave much impression. So the song leaves mixed feelings.

    8. The Great Debate

    Some after the beginning I’ve been virtually crossing fingers for this song to be played, ’cause I’d seen it in the set-list of tour opening performance in Rome. The song is from another flawless masterpiece by the band, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The exciting thing about the song is that from the second verse it incorporates the distinguishable elements from both major bands of the genre of . Everyone knows the name, right? ;)
    ...
    Are you justified
    Are you justified
    Are you justified
    Justified in taking
    Life to save life
    ...
    Yeah! It was surrounding you, releasing for a verse, and grabbing in chorus back again. And what the drums, especially the poly-metric taste in bridge! So great! It feels like I want to lie, saying that the song was worth the whole gig. But, in fact, it’s not true.

    9. On the Backs of Angels

    The open song from coming in September A Dramatic Turn of Events. I don’t know for the rest, but at least it’s not bad. But I would expect more from the new album. Magini’s new blood should play its role. At least I hope so.

    10. Happy Birthday to John Petrucci
    Mr. Gentle Virtuoso has happened to have his 44th day of birth! Happy birthday, John! You’re one of the few greatest guitar musicians in the whole world!

    11. Caught in a Web

    Old thing. No much in it for me, but some chorus movements.

    12. Through My Words
    13. Fatal Tragedy

    Seamless couple. First is mostly common piano backed intro. Then intro with Queen-ish sense. The instrumental buildup is pretty interesting, but in general song is not too good.

    14. The Count of Tuscany


    And finally another much anticipated song. In my opinion, this is essential Dream Theater song. The intro is so touching and beautiful. It gives me sense of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Then familiar Petrucci/Rudess kind of chromatic movement and the verse. After chorus changes verse two times, everything is kind of commonly fine. And the another graceful, kind of chromatic buildup. And it transitions to something Octavarium-like, to something ultimately environmental and calm. When it just slides you, and slides. To some space with shining lights and flowing sounds. You just drift by, fulfilled and proud with no one around. And then...
    Give me one more chance
    Let me please explain
    It's all been circumstance
    I'll tell you once again

    You took me for a ride
    Promising a vast adventure
    Next thing that I know
    I'm frightened for my life
    ...
    This was the whole journey to The Count of Tuscany. It leaves you in perfectly complete state.

    Then they left and after one or two minutes of screams and whistles they came back with...

    15. Learning to Live
    Again here’s a part. I don’t know why this song has been picked for the encore. It left me neither completeness nor some preciousness. There’s some not bad Petrucci-leaded buildup in middle of the song but it’s not enough. I would appreciate ending with The Count of Tuscany much more.

    Second part, the Plot of Dream Theater at Crocus City Hall, July 12, 2011

  • Unexpected headbanging in between the week

    27 avr. 2011, 22h05m

    Nobody.one at Korsar

    What is it like when the friend invites to a gig at local pub. For a band of the guy whose video you’ve seen once. Or twice. Then, – Why not, – you reply cheerfully with the remembrance attempt of the video which wasn’t actually a reference of the local underground kind. So, what it has been?

    Act

    When Steeve Vai meets James Root and pontificates in domestic booze-haikus. When Nate Mendel himself does the way he used to and Richard Gere meets young Joey Jordison, the evening rolls.

    Play

    If you say nobody.one is about wah-covered up shredding from the depths of Satriani or Vai ways. You’re wrong, I played Dean, – with the full sense of confidence the frontman would replay.

    Rhythm and stuff

    In the half of songs played I’ve been walking around. Looking from the front and from the back. Where the magic creature been escaping, industriously toggling the two-way switch between 4/4 and 3/4 positions? Hey, don’t follow much the drum-machine approach having a real drummer. It just doesn’t make much sense. The rhythm matters a lot, even if you get the major point form noodling along the way.

    Yet, it’s important to notice that the rhythm section is really co-ordinated. Indeed, it’s so much uncommon for the local scene. All you need is just fill it with dynamics, with breaks and maybe with minimal amount of pleasant complexities. Some parts have to be rewritten in that way and it obviously makes sense only if nobody.one is the band of musicians rather then just “fan-art” project of one guy about his favorite shredders.

    In that way three or four songs were pretty groovy. One of was named Twelve negroes which I didn’t find in band’s tracks. It had bluesy and groovy part which worked pretty pleasant below the guitar part. Quite moody and melodic Babylon. Another good song featured folk-percussionist inS4NEx, who has been beating unsparing to one’s limbs ;-) Interesting songs have been, undoubtedly.

    The sound itself wasn’t bad as it could be considering the venue. But for such content it would be beneficial to have a better one.

    Encore medley and the headbanging

    Briefly claming for the encore, audience got it. Here the most metal part began. To Live Is to Die, being for me the most influental Metallica’s song, couldn’t imply me to behave in different way. Hell, yeah! And it was performed great, proving musicians are fair capable. Unfortunately it was a medley and it blended to another song. There were other not bad songs, but not as great. Did My Time, something from Limp Bizkit and Red Hot Chili Peppers. And something else I didn’t recognize. The encore was kind of mind setting, since it’s been obvious it was a success. Thank you for the nice evening, guys!

    P.S. Photos from the event are available here.

  • Night in the story of your dream: Flow

    14 avr. 2011, 9h11m

    Plot of Mogwai at Kosmonavt, 2011



    With this piece of paper Glaswegians expose some amount of robust pragmatism in a way they do. Kind of they have candies but they’re hidden until the dessert time ;-)

    Looking at Mogwai events’ setlist.fm it’s getting clear that guys play about half of set from Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will and the rest from 5 recent albums.

    Entering the venue it was kind of surprising to see the warming up artist. As well as the response of the audience, which he was visibly affected with in positive way. It was sort of two-side communication with sense of humor.

    His name is RM Hubbert, though the initial thought was about Andy McKee. He performed all tracks from his only record in a half-hour set. It was about inspired instrumental stuff having defined bass and melody parts with accidental body tapping. Kind of pretty in my taste. His record is available online at bandcamp.

    Some people were trying themselves in rhythm part with a varying match ;-) – You guys are clappy, – he told. Before last song he told a thankful speech which ended with list of people which part sounded a lot like Mogwai lineup. He played for some seconds, then stopped, – oops, I’ve forgot one, Mike, – he told that Mike’s name and started the song over.

    He summarized his experience of that night in his twitter account by the status.

    That was fucking mental. In a very good way. Russians are demented :D
    When he left, 5 technicians were tinkering up the guitars and drums. Barry had been quietly setting own keys and software by himself. The background songs weren’t pleasant at all. It lasted for next half of hour. And then with a minute accuracy they’ve appeared at 9 p.m..

    Flow

    Hello. We are Mogwai from Glasgow, Scotland. It’s good to be here.
    01. White Noise


    Spasibo. Thank you very much!
    The new album opener serves its purpose at live shows as well. Obviously it’s a mid-level song of them, not good, not bad. Though, it’s valuable as an exponent. It’s not common to hear Mogwai-ish tune with polyrhythm or shifted accents sort of thing. Further experimenting that fields could result in some modern and tasty things.


    02. Hunted by a Freak


    Spasibo. Thank you. Cheers.Are you doing okay?
    And here started the magic I come for. Waves of thin bass part were reaching the skin slightly lifting its hairs. The connection was nearly the tangible. Everything was in the right place. So enjoyable, it drew the mood at the spot. The performance was perfect as well :-)


    03. Rano Pano


    Thank you. Cheers.
    That song wasn’t quite easy for me. It took me some time to understand its textural layered beauty. Though usually such things happen to me with songs. They Mogwai were in doubts about the song as well, consider some interviews ;-) Interesting thing is that Barry plays bass and his key parts as well, resembling that character. Dominic is on 3rd layer guitar duty. And he was lowering 4th string to B by his own. Either he doesn’t trust technicians or just doesn’t have enough guitars for the swap. The sound was appropriate.


    04. Death Rays



    Spasibo. Thank you very much! Cheers.
    This song is so incredible so to me. It touches deep as only the best of Mogwai songs do. Truly they keep making such masterpieces. Though, it’s the only of the kind on the new album. It was performed flawlessly. Just maybe some slight lack of fuzz taste at the refrain, the “ray impact“ part, was missing. But since it doesn’t change a thing, I’d been almost crying to the end of the song. It’s merely possible to express the reason of such feeling, just thank you for this precious song!


    05. San Pedro


    Spasibo. Thank you very very very much! Cheers.
    Since perfect things wouldn’t exist without imperfect ones because of necessity of comparison, such things happen. The song itself is good and on the record it doesn’t sound like uses high-gain distortion, or at least doesn’t sound like than. But in this live version three guitars blended in a single indistinguishable mess of noise. Rhythm section was kind of OK. I don’t whether it’s idiosyncratic thing or just bad position, which was about 4th row at the center. The only result is it sounded crappy.


    06. I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead


    Spasibo. Thank you very much! Cheers.
    In fact, it’s hard to estimate the way this song affects me. It’s very powerful but very fragile as well. The resolution of main climax, at most end of 4th minute of record version is the clue. The key part at front is like light-trace of butterfly wings which is backed by the Earth’s crust shift. That range makes it is so dramatic, end obviously it’s hard to reproduce it live. Oh, please, let the wings of butterfly be on a foreground, and the lithosphere processes be happening on a background. Don’t make guitars too loud to suppress the keys. It’s very important for keeping the spirit and power of the song. So the version that has been performed is happened to be simplified in that way. No, I mean, it sounded pretty well, and it had most of its original power, but it could be more.


    07. How to Be a Werewolf



    Spasibo. Thank you very much. Cheers.
    Here things are pretty straight. The song is obviously good, it’s light and positive. It’s been performed pretty well. The flaw is missing, say, moody break, which is at the end if 5th minute on the record’s version. In the rest it was quite enjoyable.


    08. Helicon 1



    Spasibo. Thank you very much. Cheers. Thank you.
    Kind of old and pretty Mogwai landscape drawer. It’s long enough to walk this set up land, to expand it imagining but… But the dense part blended guitars altogether again, into a noisy mess :-( The only thing that consoles the loss is the pretty ending part, so the result is about something neutral.

    Funny thing is that in long-drawn pause after this song, the some of audience were trying to suggest the next song. The acknowledged candidates were Cody, Christmas Steps and Folk Death 95.


    09. You're Lionel Richie


    Spasibo. Thank you veryeryery m-uuuuu-ch. Cheers.
    That was massive. And sounded rather pretty. Just a big miss is that Italian “Disse che l'aveva trovato”, “voleva uccidere il lupo” and so forth. It serious part of song’s mood and reminds of I Chose Horses. But taking into the account their true approach to the extra “instruments”, this absence doesn’t make much disturb.


    10. Mexican Grand Prix



    Thank you very much. Spasibo. [We’re kind ??? what do staring on]. Cheers. Thank you.
    And here things get the most complicated. Having the same attitude to the kraut-rock in general as Mogwai has to the Blur it has no much sense for me to stroke much about. Nonsense. Btw, jerks on left were happily slamming to predictable constant beat. It’s unclear what Stuart said in the middle, but he showed to the left side.


    11. 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong


    Spasibo. Thank you very very very much.
    Cleaning around from the last one the song is wonderful, and was performed accurately well. It’s long enough to get saturated with all the grace it delivers. The bass waves were gently touching, and the moment lasted sublime.

    We have one more song to play tonight. Am. Before we play I wanna say “thank you”. First of all I wanna thank you all for coming tonight to watch us. [As though we see it took us long time to coming here, I’m sorry ? for roaming, hopefully, ?? long ???. ? the last neighbor tour. I wanna thank everyone ?, crew, for coming tour with us. Also I wanna thank RM Hubbert for playing tonight. ???? And last of all I wanna say big “thank you” to your local football team for kicking Rangers from UEFA cup.] Thank you very much.
    What kind Rangers, what kind of UEFA? ;-) Stuart, I though you’re not interested in soccer, or is it about football, specifically? ;-)


    12. Batcat


    And the time has come beast to wake up, the beast is raging awfully. But song’s high-gainy makeup didn’t mean anything good for the sound. As so it happened to be a mess again. Barry was definitely missing in middle key parts. Then strobe like started to blink in middle quiet part. The last “journey summary” guitar part was missing, though it features the video some. It wasn’t the way too bad, but it could be much more.

    Thereafter they’ve left. For the next 4 minutes the venue has been filled with lots of expectations, fragile waiting. With modest and urgent shouts and screams. We wanted more Mogwai. As though, they’ve sent one technician on stage to fake the beginning of deconstruction process. How could we know, they’ve scheduled everything ;-) On the fifth minute they’ve come back :-)

    Spasibo. Thank you-uu. Cheers.

    13. Auto Rock


    And those pleasant and well-know sounds have started to emerge from Barry’s keys. John had been busy on crashes with soft-head sticks. He hit constantly but with varying strength. It was kind of unexpected to see him at such position, though listening to the record hints it’s the original way. They seemed very handy in that sense, exchanging instruments with each other. The song sounded great.


    14. George Square Thatcher Death Party


    Here’re the issues arise again. The song itself is rather straightforward for Mogwai but it doesn’t reduce its value. They’ve had sort of discussion at album production, whether it’s kind of too radio-friendly or not, though. But the way it’s been performed… am, is the weakest way. Very odd sounding Stuart’s vocoder part, with disturbing pitch slides. Dominic played chords in the refrain which suppressed guitars and keys completely leaving a hum in place of. Also some guitar bends were missing in the middle of the verse, where John played them only quite before the refrain. It’s been distinctly raw.


    15. Mogwai Fear Satan



    But after few moments of the tone facilitation, I knew I had an extra trip! Right away they’ve started to emerge images which everyone could interpret I their own subconscious way. They drew the land, and drew the skies. They rushed you above. Getting quiet, the picture changed slowly, but was more close and touching. They kept you there for some time and moments after crushed it away. The magic of impressionism. I don’t remember the way I’ve been at the song time. Truly, I’ve been half there, half somewhere else.

    Then they got quite. Martin, Barry and Dominic left. Looking to each other Stuart and John were building something preciously beautiful on top of the song. Everyone was getting mesmerized. It was so charming that even those who were clapping or screaming along the performance got quite as well.

    Then Stuart left. He moved to the left balcony where putting his legs on the rail he was watching John pains the sky. The streaming wall of sound was swelling louder, and some spikes might seem harmful. And from the outside it could be treated as crowd of hipsters stumbled by a nonsense noise. But taking it as a whole, the moment couldn’t be less sublime.

    John was faithfully turning his pedals, counting 4 beats at pushing to some pad. Some promo girl come to Stuart and balcony and I guess she might ask something like, – excuse me, it’s going ok, is John doing fine, – which Stuart could reply cool with, – everything is fine!

    Then from behind of stage, the bottle of wine with knocking spoon has appeared. Then swinging iron. Yes, the iron :-D The things that might attract John, I guess. Some minutes after, he left, leaving as with the stacked pie of noises. A technician appeared, who was evidently unhappy the amount of noise he experienced. He moved to the John’s gear, looked at engineers, counted 3, 2, 1 and sound muted. The audience exploded in applauses and cheers. Some were shouting, “Thank you”. That moment two hours with a minute accuracy has passed.


    Epilogue

    I haven’t ever felt that complete after a gig, or maybe lately haven’t felt ever. It was even about some sort of happiness. No doubt, I’ve not been to such wonderful and whole-gripping performance. Any kind of flaws was neglected in the ending. It’s been a brilliant day. The day barley could be forgotten. The day will be the reference to compare with. The day I’m thankful for you Mogwai so much!

    Someone claim, wandering, – Damn dude, these were Mogwai!


    References

    Photos sources:

    Other posts:

    Good “Hardcore” interviews: with Barry and with Dominic.

    Audio part (demultiplexed from videos) is available here, if someone would like to have a sonic remembrance. It’s mostly full-length but Rano Pano.