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Messages - LuckyDee

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Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 16, 2017, 03:45 »
Artist: Murmuüre
Album: Murmuüre
Grade: 9.5/10
Motivation: A trip down the rabbit hole. Please throw me back in if you see me crawling out.

On the third attempt in this exercise I’m back on familiar ground. Murmuüre’s album is a highly eclectic mix of some type of metal – I’m not too familiar with nor interested in the different labels – industrial and soundscaping, delivering six tracks of roughly five minutes each. Reminiscent of work by Fantômas, Tim Hecker and an album by Hermann Blaupunkt I coincidentally recently covered for my local people, the songs appear not to be so much about telling stories rather than about creating specific vibes, exploring the borders of the musical gamut and zig-zagging across them. They mostly lack conventional structures, and with the surprising turns they take and the interesting choices of instruments and samples, there’s little to prepare the listener for an adventure such as this one.

Although the work might fall outside most people’s definition of what music is, it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into composition. Each song comprises a multitude of layers even though conventional instruments play a relatively small part in them. The intricacy borders on the insane, and that’s one of the great powers of the album. Apart from the inherently metal building blocks – guitars, bass, drums and someone screaming their lungs out – there’s a lot of synths, flutes and outright noise-based samples thrown into the mix, ranging from the sweetly melodic to the unsettlingly dissonant. Chord progressions are hard to predict in the best of cases, but hardly ever feel forced – that alone is a winning approach in my book. The songs keep on stacking one surprise on top of the other, making for a roller coaster ride that makes you want to brutally elbow your way back to the front of the queue even before the carts have come to a full stop.

The production is harsh and sharp to an extent that any conventional album would have been made completely indigestible by it. The drums and guitars slice straight through everything, but are offset brilliantly by the fuller sound of the synths and other supporting sounds. The vocals have been rendered completely unintelligible, and are used as another source of noise instead. There may be lyrics in there somewhere, but that’s not going to be something you’ll find out by listening. The stereo image – the sense of space in the music – is also used to a good extent, with stuff happening all over the place. The approach to production is directly related to the approach to composition, making the sum greater than its parts.

This piece, to me, comes close to being the perfect album to lose yourself in. The only real points of criticism that I have is that 1) Disincarnate, the final track, is a bit anticlimactic compared to the rest – although in my mind’s eye, I can see end credits rolling across the screen to this tune – and 2) THE ALBUM IS TOO FUCKING SHORT. THIS NEEDS TO BE THREE FULL LENGTH CDS AT LEAST. WHAT THE FUCK WERE THEY THINKING ;)

Seldom have my ears been raped this pleasantly. Do it again.

@Uranium: thanks a million. Check out the referenced bands above if you’re really into this kind of thing. Since I’ve already asked thelaptop to cover Fantômas – potentially breaking his grumpybone in the process – I thought I’d dig up something else to have you immerse yourself in. It’s a title I’ve first heard about 20 years ago, which has been in my all-time top 3 ever since. I’m not going into the details of why this is so, I’ll leave you to (hopefully) discover these for yourself. Please enjoy Tool’s Ænima.

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 14, 2017, 07:20 »
I'd have to say Utopiosphere's the best track, great structure and chord progressions and relatively little interference from the production. And from what I can quickly glean from their more recent uploads, the quality has definitely improved in this respect, making for a much more enjoyable experience altogether.

Don't worry about all the technical bla bla. Listen to the work at hand, single out the things you like and those you don't and try to describe them as accurately as possible. There's no right or wrong, it's about forming and formulating an opinion.

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 14, 2017, 01:36 »
Artist: Mili
Album: Mag Mell
Grade: 5/10
Motivation: Beautiful themes suffering from very poor production choices

Another title takes me to an as of yet undiscovered nook in the musical spectrum. This time I’m presented with a cocktail of classical and pop music, in fifteen relatively bit-sized tracks. The songs retain the accessibility that pop music offers, while the chord progressions and structures lean more towards the classical themes. The combination works really well, and it’s clear that a lot of thought has been put into the composition. If only they’d done the same with the production…

First off, let’s start with the choice of musicians and instruments. We’re essentially looking at a four-piece band, with a singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer – which is odd, since keys play a very prominent role on this album. I’m going to go and assume that this falls under the guitarist’s and vocalist’s jurisdiction in their roles of ‘composer’. Another very obvious thing is that actual instruments are very much absent in this work. I’m unsure about the bass parts, but most of the drums and keys are electronic samples (of dubitable quality) and guitar parts are hard to come by. Add to that the fact that the sampled parts are either played incredibly tightly or adjusted to exactly fit every note and subdivision thereof, and this kind of sucks the soul out of the parts to the point where they might as well kick the drummer out and program the thing altogether.

The reason I’m not sure of the bass leads us to the second issue, namely frequencies. Each instrument sends out ‘information’ on a number of frequency bands, depending on which characteristic of the sound you want to highlight. Naturally, an important part of the bass guitar’s information is broadcast on the low frequencies, which on this production have been treated very poorly. This makes it hard to distinguish what’s being played and makes the composition lack ferocity.
Somewhere further up the spectrum the intelligibility of the vocals can be found, specifically between 3 and 6 kHz. Unfortunately, this band also contains a lot of information of other instruments such as guitars, keys and cymbals. And specifically the latter, further compounded by the poor sample choice, really screw up the mix. Listen to the last thirty seconds of the first track: the cymbals are nothing but a big hiss running straight through everything and severely compromising whatever else is trying to take up that space. But even without those, the vocals still don’t get the prominent role they should have.

These issues make further analysis of what’s being played a waste of time. Intricate composition is worth nothing if you’re not going to be able to make heads nor tails of it after the producer has either gone to great lengths to violate it or simply doesn’t have the skills and/or sense to bring out the best in it. I think the music itself could be pretty damn good, but definitely not in this person’s hands.

@Dr. Granola: Sorry if this isn’t what you’d expected. I hope I can make it up by presenting you with Auf Der Maur’s self-titled album. Somehow your submission reminds me of this.

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 11, 2017, 07:55 »
Hehe, I'll check it out once I have the time. And don't worry, you don't have to be an expert to describe what you're hearing and how you feel about it. In fact, you might like it... :D

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 11, 2017, 01:12 »
Jeezuz. You sure know your craft, don't you? That's one hell of an analysis.

Hehehe, thanks :D
I'm a far cry from being an expert, but I know my basics and what to listen for, so I can substantiate my opinion pretty well.
Your piece will be next, I've heard the entire album once now, will give it another go next week and get back to you with my report.

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 10, 2017, 05:26 »
I'll start you off with one of my faves: Murmuure's self-titled (and so far, only album ;_;).

Oooooh! First impression is that I'm really going to like this one. You're on the list.

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 10, 2017, 01:00 »
Artist: 张维良 (Zhang Weiliang)
Album: 箫的叙说 (Xiao’s Narrative)
Grade: 8/10
Motivation: Highly soothing and full of feels, but too much of the same by my personal frame of reference

Let me start off by stating that as far as my comfort zone goes, this album lands well outside of it. Most of the music I listen to is contemporary stuff belonging to any of the different rock traditions. Xiao’s Narrative, if I understand the descriptions correctly, is a collection of traditional Chinese/Eastern pieces given a new life. The album contains six duets between the xiao (flute) and konghou (harp), averaging about ten minutes in length. Although I have heard similar music countless times before, it’s always been in a setting where it served to support something else – think of movies, mainly. Listening to it taking the lead role is definitely worth the experience.

I find it hard to judge the skill level of the musicians, but the chemistry between them is obvious. The music is very dynamic, ranging from the demure to the exuberant and the production quality is excellent. Every minor detail in both instruments can be heard with perfect clarity and the sense of space is right on the mark.

Unfortunately, there is little I can say about the songs themselves. Translating the descriptions, I get the idea they deal with pretty esoteric themes – such as “the natural dynamics of water and clouds” – and the lack of lyrics makes the message even harder to interpret. I can only take the songs at face value, but to me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The combination of the minimalistic orchestration and sublime production leaves the listener prepared to digest every single detail, and boy is there a lot to discover. The result is a highly immersive and incredibly relaxing hour’s worth of music which, if you were to shut out all the distractions of modern life, could very well leave you feeling a lot more at ease with yourself after a listening session.

The only downside to the album is that it doesn’t invite you to play it again from the beginning once it’s done. Inherent to the orchestration and writing tradition, most of the songs sound the same to the untrained ear, and if you were to have told me the album didn’t consist of six but of fifteen tracks, or of three, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Not being familiar with the music plays a big part in this of course, but either way it results in the variation being too little and the vibe being too alien to relate to it as I do to my preferred listening.

All in all I’m very pleased with the discovery though, and can highly recommend anyone to sacrifice sixty minutes, isolate themselves from any interference, sit down, close their eyes and simply let themselves be carried away. The world might be a slightly better place if everyone were to do this every once in a while.

@thelaptop: I find it hard to present you with a title that has any similarity to this one. The best I can offer you is an album that would generally also be more suited for passive than active listening. Please have a listen to Delìrium Còrdia by Fantômas.

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 09, 2017, 23:37 »
The album I'll pick is Mag Mell by Mili.

And accepted as well. Another title outside of my normal listening routine, thanks. As soon as I've found time to write a little on thelaptop's title, you're next.

Can you use Bandcamp?

Yeah of course, valid alternative.

Off Topic / Re: Music Review Trader
« on: November 09, 2017, 01:00 »
Here, go to town on this one: 箫的叙说 by 张维良

Challenge accepted!

@Uranium, whenever you're ready, feed me a(n album) title...

@Sereg, yeah but the same goes for YouTube and Spotify. I think over the last 5 months (new job in which I'm allowed to use them as a radio) the albums I've discovered come close to outnumbering the cups of coffee I had. And that says a lot :S

If you want, check out my preferred listening here.

Off Topic / Music Review Trader
« on: November 08, 2017, 09:45 »
Hey all,

I thought I'd try something new again. Part of my spare time goes towards writing reviews of local bands, shows and releases for a rock/heavy oriented blog. It's a nice way to get introduced to music that I normally would never be confronted with. By way of exercise and further expansion of my horizon, I propose the following:

You give me the title of an album you enjoy listening too, preferably one that's available on YouTube or Spotify. I will gather my thoughts on it and put them in writing. In return, you receive a title from me, where you perform the same exercise on. No actual knowledge of music or production required, just listen to it and write down what you think/feel, and why.

I'll respond as soon as I can, but it may take some time. Luckily I can listen to virtually anything during my day job, so it shouldn't be too hard for me to get acquainted with the material.

Who wants to take a stab at this?

Discussion / Re: Quick questions thread!
« on: October 29, 2017, 07:41 »
Well, as the Cleaver is a unique item, I highly doubt you'll find a second one while it's in your possession. I don't know what other flavors of impressive melee weapons are going around; I'd have to do some more research.

Discussion / Re: Quick questions thread!
« on: October 29, 2017, 00:39 »
How does SoB affect MMB?

The wiki specifically states that SOB affects every single shot. I can only assume this may be read as every single attack, which would give you twice the bonus on an MMB attack.

Play-By-Forum / Re: Hunter's Moon - Exploring Ashburn, MI [OOC]
« on: October 24, 2017, 22:29 »
Righteous. We'll keep on like this then, for now.

Discussion / Re: The official ChaosForge Discord channel
« on: October 24, 2017, 22:24 »
Good job man. It isn't really my thing, though it might serve to breathe some more life into this scene.

The GCB was serving me so well I didn't even bother looking at replacements. Energy pistol doesn't sound too bad, but I think the strain on ammo is less with bullets than with cells - and compounded when you keep both. And I don't believe I found a combat pistol. I was still waiting for my first F mod either way.

Mind you, revenants still went down in four shots, which I could easily deliver in under a second.

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