Archive | Journey to the Center of the Mind RSS feed for this section

Three Trapped Tigers

29 Dec


What is behind a strange occurrence? Like the logistics required? Does someone really watch you 24/7 just to make sure things happen perfectly, or is it something deeper and more sinister? Maybe all existence was set in motion from the get go just to witness these peculiar happenings. But what if they are simply what they are? Chaos exists to explain that it’s only freak chance which is responsible, to calm our worrisome minds anyway. The idea does cure my worries, but it definitely doesn’t help with my intrigue.

Let me all give you a semi-relevant example. A year or so ago, my friends and I found the band, of which I have written a review for you today. We watched the first music video I posted and it honestly unnerved me. Yes, I was under magic spells, and being unnerved is not the same as being scared. Besides, that is the job of some music videos, and this one even pertained to me in a creepy way (It really didn’t, I just thought it did at the time). Whatever, that is not the important part. I went home afterwards and began reading Digg (2 years ago is ancient, I know). What caught my eye silently horrified me. An article entitled “3 Tigers escape from zoo” honestly freaked me out (read: magic). Instant conspiracy theories clouded my mind and forced me to link my life to the music video even more so.

I really didn’t freak out, but I still couldn’t believe it. Everything about it was so precise. The timing, the number, the animal; It felt as if some part of the universe made these tigers escape just to mess with me. I ended up telling my friends as it made for a good story and wrote it down as I do with all strange occurrences. No I am not completely crazy, simply because I remembered the story on my own accord, but come on. Don’t tell me something like that has never happened to you.

*********

So with that in Mind, I bring you Three Trapped Tigers, a 3-piece from London (3 UK acts in a row, make a wish). They are a noisy instrumental math-rock band that features many strange synths and ridiculous beats. Before their first LP, they would release singles and EP’s, named simply with numbers. Here is “6”, and the music video is the one which I mentioned above. Take less than 5-minutes to watch it on your own before continuing on.

The song starts out with probably the moodiest progression of notes I have ever heard. I can’t begin listening to “6” without feeling a sort of sadness in me. At first, my magic induced self couldn’t place it, but now I know. It is nostalgia for cold cloudy days spent with friends, when strange ideas would come up simultaneously irking you and making you laugh.

The drums include someone hitting a piece of metal with another piece of metal. The entire song features beats which seem out of place, yet sound completely right. Even the drums have this strange almost mechanical feeling to them.

Exactly 1 minute in, the song changes tone. It begins a low drive and then proceeds to inspire hope in listeners, sort of like waking up in the morning.  The drummer makes his skill very noticeable, something which only progresses as the song becomes louder and happier.

A little after 2 minutes the song remembers the intro, and what could only be a fight scene ensues. The vocals are amazing, some of my favorite. No lyrics, but rather their voices are easily identifiable instruments and this makes the piece easy on the ears while retaining cool mystery.

The song fluctuates up and down until the end in spectacular fashion, bringing back the opening notes in perfect harmony. If you were watching the video, you also might be asking yourself “WTF?”

“Kids, don’t do drugs” can be a summary, but there is definitely something deeper in this. The strange Japanese costumes and weird looping fight scenes. The beginning with the arrows and the smoke box. Was the pear jealous of the octopus’s love? Was the smoke box his revenge? Or was it all just a simple tragedy?

I honestly feel that if the video was simply by itself or even with words, it would be nowhere near as strong. The music tells the story better than any sort of narration would, and overall this makes it a bizarre experience.

***

Now before you move on to the next weird trippy music video, listen to this beautiful jazzy piano piece named “5”.

***

Okay, good. Hopefully that cleared your mind. The band has recently, (2011), come out with a new album, entitled “Route One, or Die”. They stopped using numbers as titles, I guess in preparation for mainstream-ness. One particular song popped out at me, and it too has a bizarre music video, possible even more so than the first one.

I don’t want to talk about this song just yet. “Cramm” is probably one of the most intentionally trippy things I have ever seen. The director of the music video definitely sat down with the band and had a brainstorming session for purely trippy ideas. I can’t even fathom how this video is viewed from a magical standpoint (I will find out probably later tonight :D).

Musically, it is a refined version of the first song. Played out like a story, the music video was definitely created around the sound. A soulful tale between good and evil, with a harsh fight scene and an epic vocal climax, as any good story should be. All I know is that I envy that king man and his magic rainbow powers.

So this has been a short preview of Three Trapped Tigers. If you were on the island of Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands March of 2010, you may have actually seen them escape. They make great music and tell good stories.

&)

-oko

P.S. Back to strange occurrences, my favorite idea is that we do it to ourselves. We subconsciously set ourselves up to be vulnerable and then get shocked when our surroundings play out accordingly. After all, what is a strange occurrence but what we define it? Power Rangers.

Bonobo

22 Dec

Ever realize that something that you had previously addressed quickly actually has deeper implications? Like a feeling you felt in the past actually has a name which only now you are coming to terms with, something you previously refused to acknowledge or were too ignorant to do so? A clear example may be the feeling you receive from an acquaintance that you always thought acted quite strangely. It felt strange then, but maybe now thinking back you are hit with a sudden realization that, that person simply may not have liked you. I am not specifically talking about this example, but of all of such occasions.

You left something simply as a feeling in your mind, failing to put any words behind it to back it up. Usually this happens out a lack of necessity. You leave it in your mind and talking about it isn’t something you have to worry about. But what brings you back to it? Maybe it was actually brought up in conversation, in which case you stumble and improvise. Sometimes however you revisit the topic in your own mind, and this time because you are wiser, you name the feelings or ideas. But what brings you back there in the first place?

My idea is this: We as people think in spirals. If you consider any idea which does not directly affect your future, you are bound to forget about it until you return to that thought naturally. There is inherently a plethora of such emotions which one encounters on a daily basis, but individual ideas pop into your head as if on cue. Surroundings and situations definitely help speed up this process, as does experience, but it is also necessary to notice it. Realizing why you are thinking something at a given time and place allows you address it on a deeper level and help you grow as a person.

What is my point? The thinking mind has a design different from the non-thinking mind. I actually have no point with this other than that. Just practicing some philosophical writing I guess.

*********

Never mind anything that I have just written though. Today, I have for you a UK electronic producer by the name of Bonobo. He has been described as a pioneer of down-tempo music and his chill, beat driven music has received the attention of many major labels. These words are definitely well justified. This is the music that I listen to when I just want to relax.

This first song, “Recurring”, starts out like a lullaby. The beat allows the song to progress beyond that title and becomes an entirely new song. The cello like instruments that enter just as the beat slows down create a great relaxing tension. The song continues on, growing softer and more bassy until it eventually dies out with some more cello and some tribal vocals.

This song is great to have playing while you do work or just want to sit back and relax. Also it is a great place to start if you usually do not indulge in machine-made music.

This is actually the songs “Prelude” and “Kiara” combined, but they might as well be the same song. “Prelude” is essentially a very nice sounding piano-driven string segment. It fades away at the end to darkness and a heavy hip hop beat that is “Kiara”. The vocal samples which he introduces combined with the synths sound amazing together. A quick stall at 2:09 re-emphasizes the beat and the perfect use of claps. It also never seems to end.

The song continues on in what seems like a blur, one that is very well produced and a pleasure to listen to.

“Noctuary” opens with an eerie harp loop. The beat wastes no time and picks it up and carries it along like a river supporting a boat. The sounds at 2:10 sound like the boat has arrived at some foreign land. The entire song is like some dark and lazy dream. I think it is a very good show of proper beat making and also a case for the idea that beats can make pretty much turn any collection of sounds into a song.

This last song, as well as the others, is amazing in the fact that it seems to slowly evolve, gaining new parts but losing others. You can never tell what is going to happen next, no matter how many times you have listened to it. It gives it this feeling of being alive with some sort of musical spirit. Some of his songs also feature singers, which can perpetuate that feeling even more so, I’d imagine.

-oko

P.S. Okay, as some of you might have suspected, here is a song with a singer. Be sure to notice the heavy bass, because it’s pretty much almost dubstep. And the attractive shaman woman. Please don’t fail to notice her either.

Streetlight Manifesto

4 Dec

I drove down the dark winding street wearing a grey suit and holding a grenade in one hand. I paid attention intently to the road as the streetlights blurred past. The artist sitting in the passenger seat was speaking to our dear friend on the phone, persuading him not to fall yet. With his free hand he sketched what he saw through the windshield with a dried up pen. In the back seat the two oblivious lovers drank champagne and laughed as they ate the stolen cake and waved to the car fast on our trail.

“Keep a steady mind, don’t lose focus, we’re almost there,” whispered the artist in to the phone. I heard the two in the back tumble towards the right as I twisted the steering wheel left. The lights were starting to blur from the speed so I kicked the car into second gear as we flew down towards the cliff. I heard the screeching of the breaks behind me so I looked to my passenger and said “Now.” The artist repeated the word into the phone and the couple began to weep passionately. With my teeth I pulled the pin of the grenade and cut the wheel. The artist threw his drawing out the window just before we started rolling violently. The car chasing us flew by with a whiff of burnt rubber and rocketed off the edge and into the opposing cliff face with a bright explosion. The lights looked like a pretty blur as we tumbled; we were all smiles, eating cake, numb with anticipation.

The grenade exploded. All four of us were launched into the sky like cannonballs. We flew towards our friend the pilot as he parachuted down from the sky. He caught us all in his arms. We fed him cake and he told us about the fun time he had watching the heist from above. We descended slowly towards the streetlights below, upon their silent manifesto.

*********

Yo. Okay, time for a ska post. It is pretty much impossible to enjoy a good dose of ska. Especially if you find yourself wearing a suit and about to rob a bank. If you, however, are unable to enjoy ska and such things, then I will have to unfortunately inform you of your soullessness. But don’t worry, because it’s really hard.

Streetlight Manifesto is from New Jersey. The front man, Tomas Kalnoky, used to be the front man of another popular ska band Catch 22. The band is actually considered punk, with influences of ska. Basically, the music consists of many horns and fast, bass driven, chord progressions.

The songs which you may have already heard, or are still listening to, are from their albums Everything goes Numb and Somewhere in Between. The albums are fast paced and epic. The themes are dark and the lyrics depressing, yet the nature of the type of music prevents it from being perceived as anything other than happy.

Just in case you do not know how to read Youtube titles, here is the list of songs I used. “We Will Fall Together.” “Everything Went Numb.” “A Moment of Silence.”

This is the type of music that anyone can get into. It is instrumentally amazing. The man has that perfect punk voice. The themes approach something directly opposite of the vibe that the tunes puts out, a yin and yang rarely seen in the music scene. Most of their songs are pretty much about dying, yet they keep it cool with talks of guns and horns. What more can you ask for?

-oko

P.S. I ate the cake before it was a lie.

&)

Hudson Mohawke – FUSE

27 Nov

Keep this on the down low.

Sorry about last week’s post, but never mind that. I have to make this terse. I apparently have something that the government wants and am on the run for my own dear life. I honestly don’t even know what it’s about, but I have 27 dead federal agents in my house after what can only be described as Home Alone 5, and am going into hiding in the morning.

I do however have time to review a song.

Let’s see here. After a great deal of magic one night, a good friend of mine played “FUSE” by Hudson Mohawke. My mind proceeded to be short-circuited by rainbows, or something of the sort.

It starts out with light clapping and an ethereal neon flute. It boldly wastes no time as it drops into some ridiculously nice hip-hop. Grandiose as all hell, the corny preset brass in the background and the vocal “doo-wop’s” are so over the top that the song almost comes off as a joke.

It doesn’t move forward at all really. After the second verse, another vocal sample is introduced, which I honestly cannot place for the life of me, its purpose unknown to me as well. But the song picks up the beat immediately afterwards. It feels like a glorious transformation is about to take place, like the song got into a fight with the high speed drum and bass genre and is about to lose.

But lo and behold it actually wins and again we are graced with the same instrumental chorus. Just as it is getting old and you begin to notice how slow it actually is, a child whispers something and the song ends. If you aren’t confused, then you aren’t getting it.

Gotta go, snipers.

&)

-oko

P.S. The government is after my delusions of grandeur.

The Olivia Tremor Control – Music from the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle

7 Nov

This post goes out to all those good things which existed in the 90s. Most of them were and still are completely unknown to anyone because they were buried in a sea of garbage that is usually associated with that era (by me anyway). Rarely does anyone even go back to that time period even as a result, unless it is for cartoon show themes. But let me tell you, there are some things from the 90s which stand out like shining jewels among the debris, and I am proud to present one to you tonight.

The Olivia Tremor Control is definitely up there in my top 5 in terms of bands. Part of the Elephant Six Collaborative and hailing from Athens Georgia, the band is the most perfect form of psychedelic rock. They basically sound as if the Beatles had never stopped making music, and this was just actually where they were in the 90s. The album which I will be sharing is called Music from the unrealized film script: Dusk at Cubist Castle. It was released in 1996 and was sadly swept away in the unfortunate river of boy bands, rap, and other nonsense. But I have managed to fish it out (I proudly own the CD), and will write a few words about it.

The first song on the album is “The Opera House”. A barely inaudible vocal loop flies by quickly and a raw guitar starts playing its hard rock line. Don’t forget to notice the bizarre assortment of horns coming in from all angles. “We feel OK, which is how we feel most of the time now” The lyrics are only going to get trippier from this point on in the album and I feel like this song is very good warm up.

Something I love about this band is the fact that the lyrics are always approaching dark in sort of psychotic fashion, but restrain themselves just before that point. It gives the lyrics this sort of friendly sarcastic vibe, which I most definitely rock out to and practice on a day to day basis. &)

“Jumping Fences”: This title alone speaks on a more psychedelic level. Another almost downright silly guitar intro is quickly forgotten as the rhythm joins the party, especially that suave bass line. The lyrics in this song have got to be some of my favorite ever. “We both know that this world made no sense, when you jumped everybody’s fence.” I feel like you either understand what this line means or you don’t, and it all depends on your experience with magic.

This song at a little under 2 minutes is a quick, rocking display of why this band sounds like the Beatles. If you don’t hear the similarity then you may have never heard the Beatles. And don’t think that I’m saying that they are ripping the Beatles off. The Olivia Tremor Control has definitely contributed more to this genre of psychedelic rock than almost any other band, they just had the misfortune of picking the 90s.

I  really am not sure which song off this album is my favorite, but there definitely are times when I believe that song to be “Holiday Surprise 1, 2, 3”. This song starts out slow and easy, almost with a country vibe. I’d like you to notice the vocal layering which this band uses, because that is what gives these songs that darker edge. Specifically the lines “Don’t Worry” and “In a dream” employ this and definitely to great effect.

Somewhere at around 2 minutes this song plateaus at what can only be described as being launched through the clouds and peaking in to a full and beautiful sun. Immediately after you begin your descent and the song acknowledges that fact. “Please, Please, Don’t you ever change your mind on me.”

“Courtyard” can be best described as a haphazard song. The melody is wonky and rhythm is simple,the piano is just downright ridiculous, and yet it contains some of my favorite lines ever. “Going back to where you are, and there’s nothing that I can’t tell you that you don’t already know.” I still can’t accurately tell what it means. Also a short song, it is the kind that puts a smile on your face whatever the situation. It’s simple and fun.

The Olivia Tremor is rumored to have reunited to create a new album, which makes me very happy. This band deserves a lot more recognition then it currently has. Almost no one makes such well thought out and all around trippy music they use. If you are lucky enough to own a CD or Record of theirs, then you will be rewarded by being able to actually notice all the different layers each and every song contains. Seriously, there could be up to 12 sounds playing at once at any given time during a song, and mp3’s will never be able to do that justice.

The more stuff happening at once, the tripper, am I right? You just have to learn how to pry out the gems.

&)

Listen to this band, because bands like Korn definitely did not deserve the fame.

-oko

P.S. This song, Tropical Bells, is trippy enough as it is. But then someone decided to make this video for it. &)))))

%d bloggers like this: