Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sadly, The Future Is Without People

Hey, y'know... I think these two records are an improvement over the first ones. Slightly, at least. Like, The Empire Strikes Back better than Star Wars, or The Godfather II over I. Wait, now I'm afraid for the 3rd acts!

I'm going to switch the order from before and cover Leyland Kirby first. Then Oneohtrix Point Never. Use the technological-wonder control-scheme below to go back if you missed something.

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Sadly CD cover
Leyland Kirby - Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was (2009)

Listening to this album, the leap in apparent quality could in theory be explained a few different ways. And I'm even more convinced that theories are helpful for this project. First off, it could just be designed that way. Kirby figures if you're going to buy a 2xLP of a planned trilogy (irrelevant if buying the later 3xCD), you'll stick with him past the first set regardless. So, component parts that seemed to enter like unaccompanied themes are now further developed here. Another possible explanation is that after listening to one, the second appears more familiar. Much of his oeuvre has built into it a psycho-acoustic déjà vu: "haven't I already heard this, or something like it?" Or it could just be that this material suits my tastes better.

A1 "When Did Our Dreams And Futures Drift So Far Apart?"
Like the piano explorations from the first volume, but with more moving parts. Often two distinct piano lines (instead of mostly one), and the synth swells are more fluid and dynamic. Plus occasional spacey warp-core burble and a loose ambient rhythm. The latter part actually builds up some momentum out of the statis.

A2 "Not Even Nostalgia Is As Good As It Used To Be"
Perfect title for this, inexplicably backed up right next to the similar album and trilogy title track. Really stands out sonically for its chimey new-age synth gleaming, and a new-agey flute setting. It's like I'm inside Andreas Vollenweider's Caverna Magica or something. So far, it's less dark and more varied than before - and better (not the same things).

B1 "Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was"
Okay, here's the real test: the 20-minutes plus. The last time we were here, it was the end of the 2nd disc, and everything was just a blur of repeating piano patterns. This time? Obvious contrast: only two tracks in. And it's a pleasant, drifting synthscape with ebb-and-flow saturated-feedback restraint. A second synth joins, occasionally delay-grooving Floydian in the magic cave with a Pict. Twenty's a long time, but this one actively captures the imagination. Even gets a little heavy down the road... (Making a 2-part video was tempting, and I might still come back to it later.)

C1 "Stay Light, There Is A Rainbow A Coming"
Another subterranean trainyard seance of distorted melancholy, which I prefer to the piano ballads for the longer pieces (just over 12min). Especially if they will be relatively nondescript, as this one is. Although it does have a distinguishing mechanical signal-pulse and some creepy groaning noise.

C2 "And Nothing Comes Between The Sadness And The Scream"
Bell-like tones play a lullaby, but there's a creeping dread underfoot. It will not be denied, it will insinuate. The ambient becomes the explicit, the background is all you can perceive.

D1 "I’ve Hummed This Tune To All The Girls I’ve Known"
So different, I actually switched up the videos from another track (not that it's amazing), and stuck up the YouTube max (although no part 2). Sounds least like anything so far encountered. Upfront, you've got the theremin Morricone-whistle and sawing synthsection. But there's deep stuff buried all around.

D2 "Not As She Is Now But As She Appears In My Dreams"
A solo piano piece with just a hint of what seems like resonant live-mic feedback, on the heavier chords. Intimate and stately, good way to finish the record.

Zones Without People
Oneohtrix Point Never - Zones Without People (2009)

If the year-end listers who convinced me to buy this weren't listing the Rifts collection for 2009, they were including this specific LP. It's more instrumental sci-fi synth action. The improvement over the Octagon can probably be explained by the two years since the first one's 2007 ltd. cassette release. Due to Zone's historic popularity, I didn't even have to make any mind-shattering new videos. Four already out there for our purposes!

A1 "Computer Vision"
The future is... as soon as you listen. And none too soon! The data-surge overwhelms the flatline, the holo after-light fades placidly as you hear the doctor's voice. Robotic, cold.

A2 "Format & Journey North"
New Age synth epic. Magic flutes from the dripping caverns of Elf Crystal. Actually, it's pretty relaxing. Nothing's overloading, it's all right... Is that the breach alarm? Someone shut off the breach alarm!!

A3 "Zones Without People"
Absolutely groovy. Those nice, warm analogue bari-tones, leaping all over each other. I especially like these tunes that don't rely so much on high-pitched frenzy and squalling laser drills.

B1 "Learning To Control Myself"
This almost seems narrative, with psychotic breaks and shifts. Cascading glitch-out pulls up abruptly, regaining composure. To be immediately followed by complete melt-down, which is then reined in. Some success at a calm, but by the end something begins to bubble up.

B2 "Disconnecting Entirely"
Short, somewhat monotonous, epilogue?

B3 "Emil Cioran"
A can't really get a handle on this one, kind of like Emeralds: possibly improvised? Maybe this will help.

B4 "Hyperdawn"
Serene waves roll beneath a surface of frenzied blooping and bleeping, until the tidal apreggios crash the party. Finally a gaggle of synth-gulls bid you a fond farewell.

One (or two) more coming up!!

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Sadly 2xLP cover

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