Last Tune You Heard/How Was It

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Last Tune You Heard/How Was It

Postby Alice » Fri Sep 28, 2007 2:24 am

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Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid: Tohuvabohu

Album line-up: Sascha Konietzko, Lucia Cifarelli, Jules Hodgson, Andy Selway and Steve White.

After twenty three years and fifteen studio albums anyone would start wondering if a band still has the ability to deliver. Well, relax, because KMFDM just knocked their sixteenth proper album, Tohuvabohu, out of the park.

Tohu va bohu (תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ) is a biblical Hebrew phrase found in Genesis 1:2. It means "formless and empty," and describes the condition of the earth before God said, "Let there be light."


The title Tohuvabohu, pronounced phonetically: toe-who-vuh-bo-who, is interpreted by the band as meaning "wild and chaotic." Seems fitting as the album is a bit experimental. Several different styles and languages come together to form, surprisingly, a very coherent album. Usually bands that experiment with different styles of music on a single venture run the risk of having an album that never gains momentum with constant stops and style changes between tracks. KMFDM have managed to avoid this. While displaying different styles they've managed to make the styles conform to their unique sound. Styles present range from dance, metal, pop-rock and of course industrial. There are some strange styles, but they all seem to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Even though the album is a bit more experimental in nature they could have easily shelved Hau Ruck, and released it with Tohuvabohu as a double album, and it would have been hard to tell that the two discs were made two years apart as two completely independent albums.

If you've appreciated the more blunt political influences started with WWIII back in 2003 and continued with Hau Ruck in 2005 you'll be happy to hear that it hasn't stopped. There are several tracks here (Headcase, Not In My Name) that one would have no problem calling anti-Bush tracks, and there are even anti-Bush administration/supporter tracks (Spit or Swallow). Regardless of the political theme the album can still be enjoyed by the non-politically charged listener.

As far as the musical quality of the album goes, it features the same KMFDM brand of sound we've come to expect. Nothing out of the norm, but that's really not a bad thing. There's a lot of variation throughout the album, but it's a structure built with the KMFDM brand of tools and materials. One thing I found interesting was a bit of brass has made it's way into the mix again. Something that Adios, Attak and WWIII exempted (or either I wasn't paying enough attention and missed it), but made a reappearance on Hau Ruck. That jazzy sax solo towards the end Superpower had me smiling. I've actually found myself unintentionally walking in step with Superpower when I'm listening to it in the home. Other than that it's the token crunching guitars and ultra heavy beats prevalent on previous albums.

Lyrically the album is quite diverse. Languages present are the usual English and German along with Latin, Spanish, Hebrew and Lingala. As far as voices go, I think Lucia really shines on this outing. In my experience most ladies who front for industrial bands either sing well and yell terribly or vice versa. Lucia pulls of both fantastically, from her singing on Bumaye and Fait Accompli to her digitally distorted, banshee-like screams on Headcase. She's further proving that it was a good choice to keep her in the ranks for the reformation with every outing.

Featuring eleven songs, the disc doesn't disappoint. Ten of the tracks are new and one is a cover of Liaisons Dangereuses' Los Niños Del Parque. Out of these eleven only two fall short of the four minute mark, and even then it's only by a maximum of three seconds. Eight of the eleven are on constant rotation for me, but that's not to say the remainder aren't just as good. For me the stand out tracks include, in specific order, Headcase, Los Niños Del Parque, Not In My Name, Looking For Strange and Superpower.

If you're really in need of an extra track you're in luck. There's an extra track, Tohuvabohu (Angelspit Remix), available exclusively through the KMFDM Store. In all honesty it's basically just "Tohuvabohu Lite", and is completely forgettable unless you're a completionist. It's included with the album if you decide to purchase the digital, downloadable version for $10.00, or if you purchase the Tohuvabohu bundle package which includes the CD, the extra track download for free, a shirt, a sticker, a button, a postcard and issues 1 and 2 of Vampire Freaks Magazine all for $28.00.

All in all, solid album. Worth a purchase. KMFDM SUCKS!

4.5/5

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Postby Ghost » Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:11 am

Hey, that's well done.
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Postby exolstice » Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:42 am

It's amazingly well-written and exemplifies perfectly why I would never attempt a music review. I just don't know enough about music to write anything of that caliber. Although, you could argue that I don't know much about films or games either, and that hasn't stopped me.
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Postby Ghost » Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:58 am

Me either.

We're going to have our first conflicting review up soon. I hated Eastern Promises.
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Postby exolstice » Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:00 am

Well good, I like to encourage conflicting reviews. I wish you would've written one for 3:10 however, otherwise I would have.
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Postby Ghost » Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:03 am

I couldn't muster it up. I loved the movie obviously but I couldn't kick up one thing to say about it.
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Postby exolstice » Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:23 pm

Incidently, I hope you don't mind that I posted your review on the mainsite.
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Postby Alice » Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:31 pm

Nope. I intended for it to go there anyway, but I was too lazy to do it myself. When/if I write more reviews I'll throw them in this thread if they're music reviews. I might review New Maps of Hell later.

I might do a movie or game review at some point.
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Postby exolstice » Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:55 pm

Excellent news.
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Postby Justice » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:20 pm

I don't remember how to post this on the front page. I'll figure it out later.

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Reunion Tour by The Weakerthans

Line-Up: Stephen Carrol, John K. Samson, Greg Smith, Jason Tait

The Weakerthans are perhaps the most quintessentially Canadian band recording music today, alongside The Fembots, with whom they share a founding member. This has never been more apparent than on Reunion Tour, their first release in four years. The cover art depicts the icy arctic, the back shows an old Bombardier skidoo and the interior is decorated with a northern town and parka-clad men, all drawn by Canadian artist Simon Hughes. The liner notes begin with an excerpt from Canadian-born poet Mark Strand. There are songs about curling rinks and hockey players and shouts of “Oh, Ontario!” And there’s a lot of beer and a lot of snow. The album – not really a reunion; the band never broke up – has also been billed as the band’s first real foray into experimentalism, and this isn’t especially accurate. By any objective standard, this album is far from experimental. For the most part it's a straight-forward rock album, like the band's previous three releases have been to varying degrees. However if held against their previous albums there is a discernibly higher degree of experimentalism, both in terms of structure and instrumentation.

You could argue that it picks up where 2003's Reconstruction Site left off. The last track on that album faded out with a dissolving series of beeps and random electronic noise, and an earlier track was marked by reversed instrumentation. The electronic elements on Reunion Tour are mostly fairly subtle, and aside from the synthy introduction to the opening track, Civil Twilight, rest in great part in the background. This is best illustrated in the spoken word track Elegy for Gump Worsley, which is underscored by an unobtrusive electronic drone -- sort of like a mellowed out Merzbow turned nearly all the way down. Like Reconstruction Site, it's the closing track -- a years-old staple of their live shows called Utilities -- on which the experimental edge really makes itself known, opening with a Kid Koala-sounding bit of distortion quickly backed by electronic beeps and chimes, all of which gradually gives way to the band's standard instrumentation.

The structural experimentation is most apparent on the aforementioned spoken word track, Elegy for Gump Worsley, a characteristically melancholy poem about a hockey goalie who couldn't keep up with the rapidly changing game in the sixties. It also comes through on a couple of back-to-back songs, Sun in an Empty Room and Night Windows. Again, these aren't especially experimental in an objective sense, but for the Weakerthans, the reliance on background vocals and repetition is a welcome divergence from the norm.

Lyrically the album is excellent, but far from experimental for Samson. The tracks all fall within his established oeuvre of quirky sadness and melancholy in the quiet, lonely corners of the world. Tournament of Hearts feels a lot like Reconstruction Site’s Psalm for the Elk’s Lodge Last Call, in its reverence for near-empty bars full of distant people who don’t know where else to go. Hymn of the Medical Oddity and Civil Twilight share a lot in common with the title track of 2000’s Left and Leaving, with it’s fixation on the details of personal history and the roads that tie them together. Relative Surplus Value espouses the sympathy for the wage slave that popped up throughout the band’s 2000 release (“I touch my name-tag, should say, ‘HELLO I’M too tired to smile today’”). Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure is a (misspelled?) de facto sequel to Reconstruction Site’s Plea from a Cat Named Virtue and shares its tendency toward crushing depression.

If there’s a complaint to be had about this album it’s that it lacks the hooks that haven’t really been the band’s M.O. since they debuted with Fallow. The album doesn’t have a weak song or a slow spot – an issue that plagued each of their previous two albums. Reunion Tour is their shortest release since Fallow and benefits from it. It’s tight and stops well short of overstaying its welcome, and while some of the talk around the album certainly overstated its experimentalism, it’s still by far the band’s most varied work yet, and, by any standards, a terrific listen.

4.5/5
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Postby exolstice » Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:09 am

Terrific!
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Postby Ghost » Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:10 am

I heard Legs by ZZ Top on the radio this morning and it was great! 5/5
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Postby MT » Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:13 am

The Sounds: Queen of Apologies

would listen to again A+++
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Postby Alice » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:31 am

'Cause I'm too lazy to do it myself. Since this is a remix album I took a slightly different approach to reviewing it. Also, when you cut and paste change fones to to the correct Ph spelling.

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Nine Inch Nails: Halo 25 - Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D

Since the beginning of Nine Inch Nails the remix has been a big part of the machine. With the exceptions of Pretty Hate Machine and [with_teeth] Nine Inch Nails has released an official remix album to compliment each of the the major releases in the catalog. A lot of fans were disheartened when Trent announced there wouldn't be a full length remix album for [with_teeth], and I think a lot of the same fans rejoiced when he announced that there would be for his latest work, Year Zero.

Now, a lot of people tend to think of a remix as an attempt to make a song better than it previously was, and that's why a lot of remixes get panned. A lot of remixes just end up with the listener thinking, "The original was better" when in fact that's not really the point. Webster defines remix as, "A variant of an original recording (as of a song) made by rearranging or adding to the original." In essence the whole point of a remix is to make a song different from the original, not necessarily better. That is the frame of mind I'm using when I review this album.

The album itself consists of fourteen tracks. Trent called on friends and strangers alike to remix Year Zero, and the result is fourteen of his sixteen original songs being remixed and released as Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. Of the original sixteen the two to not appear on this format as a remix are The Good Soldier and The Greater Good.

The album starts off the same way Year Zero did, with the track Hyperpower!. The original version of this song was an instrumental intro of sorts. This time, however, the track appears unchanged from it's original instrumentation, and Saul Williams adds a bit of poetry over the music. The track also boasts a completely new title, Gunshots by Computer. Next up is Modwheelmod's remix of The Great Destroyer. Gone is the build up to the epileptic break down, and in their place are acoustic guitars and a nice bass line. The song appears a lot sadder than the original, and sounds, eerily, like it could have fit on Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals.

This time around Trent also chose a remix done by a fan to add to Nine Inch Nails' library of official remixes. That track comes in the form of Pirate robert Midget's remix of My Violent Heart. The remixer opted to keep the track a bit more upbeat and dancy, and it works quite well.

Next, The Beginning of the End gets treatment from Ladytron. Titled The Beginning of the End (J-Type Overdrive Mix), the structure of the song is, overall, unchanged, but the music itself is almost entirely redone, again in a dance fashion. Ladytron also adds a bit of whispery background vocals to compliment Trent's. Also added at the end of the song is the melody that was prevalent in The Downward Spiral. Perhaps an indication of her favorite album?

The next track has seen prior release on a previous single. Saul Williams' remix of Survivalism slows things down with a tune that's more mellow and grueling than the original. The next two tracks were also available prior to this album, but were not available for purchase by the masses. Instead they appeared exclusively on promotional CDs for the second single from Year Zero, Capital G. The first being Epworth fones' remix of Capital G. Previously titled Capital G (fones 666 RPM) and unchanged from it's appearance on the promo, the track is a dancy tune. Not my favorite of the album but entertaining none the less. Bill Laswell's remix of Vessel is a slightly modified version of what originally appeared on the promo. Cut down by about three minutes, this newer version adds a crunchy guitar and is more of a retake than a remix. It's like Vessel became dirtier and meaner.

The Warning was remixed by Stefan Goodchild with Doudou N'Diaye Rose. This version is just as slow as the original, but the addition of a twinkling piano and aboriginal drumming spice up a track that was originally a bit monotonous. Meet Your Master is manipulated by The Faint, and ends up sounding like a fun trip to 8-bit discoland. God Given was remixed by the duo of Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert. Like Ladyton's remix, the structure is essentially the same, but the music gets a total makeover. There's also a bit that sounds like an electronic, croaking frog. Not sure what it is, but I like it.

So far the album's been on a roll, but someone always has to ruin the fun, and Olof Drejier is that fellow. The first time I heard this "remix" I thought it must be a throwback to Porter Ricks' remix of The Day The World Went Away from Nine Inch Nails' 1999 album, The Fragile. The similarities are astounding. Where Ricks took the original track, turned down the volume and threw a looped, monotonous bass line over it Olof takes his remix a bit further. Instead of just turning the volume down he takes the whole song and throws it out the door keeping only one or two lines from the entire song. Then he turns the volume on them down, throws a looped, monotonous bass line on top and sprinkles the original lines so sparsely over the fourteen minute loop that you can barely tell that the song has anything to do with Nine Inch Nails at all. You can barely hear the original lines in the background anyway, so this might as well not even be labeled a remix.

Next up is Kronos Quartet and Enrique Gonzalez Müller's remix of Another version of the Truth. It starts off sounding a bit like a creepy carnival song with screeching and violins, but transforms into a regal sounding, orchestral song. The remix of In This Twilight by Fennesz is again structurally unchanged, but the addition of acoustic guitars and other ethereal elements make it sound beautiful. Finally, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert are back again with a remix of Zero-Sum. The beat is a bit more lively and bare-bones than the original, and it works very, very well.

Overall, a stand up album. A nice, and bit more user friendly, version of Nine Inch Nails. Trent picked a nice bunch of people to remix his album, and it shows. Over half of the songs have seen heavy rotation from me within the last few days, and at least three will be entered into my personal Nine Inch Nails remix hall of fame.

I don't care at all for Olof's remix of Me, I'm Not, but some of my picks are the remixes of The Great Destroyer, Survivalism, The Warning, Meet Your Master and In This Twilight.

On a final note, this album is available in three formats. The three being digital download, CD/DVD combo (DVD containg the multitracks for all sixteen tracks from Year Zero) and vinyl. The digital download and CD tracklist is identical, but the vinyl differs slightly. Also Saul Williams' remix of Survivalism is dropped in favor of adding additional mixes exclusive to this format. Those tracks are The Good Soldier remixed by Sam Fog of Interpol, Capital G (Finite Climax Mix) by Ladytron and two versions of Bill Laswell's Vessel remix. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that one of those mixes is the one featured on the CD, and the other is his original mix that was featured on the promo. No real way to know as of yet as both mixes are labeled simply Vessel (Mix 1) and Vessel (Mix 2). A supplemental review will be made in addition to this one upon my acquisition of the vinyl.

4/5

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Postby GD » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:50 am

I'm pretty sure i'll get around to stealing this on the interwebs
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Postby Ghost » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:12 am

Ghost wrote:I heard Legs by ZZ Top on the radio this morning and it was great! 5/5
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Postby Alice » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:50 am

I see an error in my review. And reading it after I slept on it it is indeed a sorry excuse for a review. I tried to cut as much of the fat as possible, and now it looks like I just phoned it in and wrote it in five minutes. It's still overlong though, and ran way too long before I cut it down.

I can edit it if I sign up to post stuff can't I?
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Postby exolstice » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:51 am

Yeah, you can. I don't think it's overlong though.
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Postby Alice » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:58 am

Maybe it's just me. I'll fix those mistakes I see today at lunch.
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Postby Prof. » Sun Jun 01, 2008 12:35 am

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Jethro Tull - Song for Jeffrey

I was going through some of my dads old LP's and put this on. I hadn't heard it since i was a kid and I never really realised what a great song it was before.
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Postby Ghost » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:19 pm

I've been listening to a lot of Warren Zevon and I don't think the term genius is inappropriate here.
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Postby Alice » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:01 am

Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God

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Not gonna write a review. I'll just say that after With Oden On Our Side this album seems a little weak. With Oden the second I pressed play the album just clicked, and it was amazing. This one lacks that instant punch in the face. From beginning to end Oden felt like a wave of Norsemen charging into battle. Twilight... not so much. Not saying it's bad, but I was totally blown away by Oden, and it remains my favorite. Aside from the title track all of the songs I like are conveniently packed together on the track list. Twilight of the Thunder God, Where Is Your God?, Varyags of Miklagaard and Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags are stand out tracks for me.
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Postby Ghost » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:35 am

I forgot this was coming out. Oden is definitely my favorite too, but I liked Fate of Norns pretty good and this can't be more mellow than that.
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Postby Alice » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:59 am

I like Fate too, but the more I listen to this album the more it's growing on me a little. Add Guardians of Asgard to the list of songs I like. I must have accidentally skipped it the first time I listened, or just didn't pay enough attention.
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Postby Ghost » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:52 am

I liked Guardians of Asgard immediately. Varyags of Miklagaard I like parts of, but that breathless bit in the middle sounds too much like...awful. I'll have to hear it again to be sure.

Live for the Kill has a great guitar (?) tone.
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Postby Alice » Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:49 pm

I ordered the vinyl, but couldn't wait any longer, so I downloaded it. Review (maybe) forthcoming (possibly). I like it, but if you're one of those 'tards that can't seem to understand that AC/DC have more than two songs you probably won't.

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Postby exolstice » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:31 pm

Which two songs?
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Postby Alice » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:45 pm

Back in Black and You Shook Me All Night Long are the two that come to mind immediately, but also Highway to Hell and the like.
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Postby MT » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:56 pm

i just know the terminator one. and hot for teacher.
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Postby exolstice » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:05 pm

Alice wrote:Back in Black and You Shook Me All Night Long are the two that come to mind immediately, but also Highway to Hell and the like.


Who Made Who? Dirty Deeds? TNT? Thunderstruck? Hell's Bells???
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