Revenge of the 16 Deadly Improvs[CD]
Except as noted, the music on this album was distilled from a single 2.5 hour collective improvisation. There were no prior rehearsals or sharing of musical ideas, and the later overdubs were also spur-of-the-moment. We believe this is a largely successful attempt to make music in a pure and ideal form, where distinct musical personalities spontaneously interact together to create whole, dynamic compositions. Some of the music has been edited for clarity and focus; some has been looped and/or digitally processed to create composition where it did not exist previously. Much is intact in it's original form, with mistakes, cohesive flubs, and 'moments of brilliance ' all included, side-by-side. We believe it is special and worthy of sharing. We hope you enjoy it. 16DI --------------------------------------------------------------------- Revenge of the 16DI: Rock meets jazz, they cohabitate and make a lovely little family 1. UnEarthly - Minimal and ominous, this is a fitting introduction to what follows - a diverse collection of jams and accidental, as well as intentional, compositions. 2. Brave Archer - Begins with a friendly beat and bass line, followed by warm keyboard tones, then a clean jazz guitar solo, peppy rhythm section, including a happy, upbeat rhythm guitar and a 'positive' keyboard melody later on. This song has a nice build-up in terms of the introduction of instruments and is a strong track to lead the album, as well as standing very good on it's own terms as a Brave Archer very well does. 3. Don't Move - A darker turn is taken here. A laid back bass line and beat begins with a contemplative guitar coming in and building through vocal melody (influenced by Sade's Cherish the Day), a tasteful overdubbed guitar solo, etc. The instrumentation has a "bottomed out" feel to it before the big guitar riff comes in and it all bottoms out yet again before ending on guitar progression. The subject matter of the lyrics (influenced, among other things, by a very good Italian film from a few years ago called Don't Tell, with Penelope Cruz) and the nature of the music make this a, singable, but ultimately gloomy song. Also some good editing has made this piece flow more smoothly as a song. 4. Flammenwerfer - A real jazz piece of sorts. A flaming cymbal sound backing quirky guitar parts, ploinking bass. The guitars trade - Vin taking first solo, someone crying out or moaning, persistent interceptor sound from keyboards, Nick then takes solo, rolling bass line; keyboard melody introducing long lead out - things get bashing until the return to the quirky guitar part at the end and finally return of the flaming cymbal. This piece puts the listener in the mind of The Challenge's The Pugilist. 5. When The Tail Hits, The Head Reacts - Guitar riff and clean Vin solo that sounds like someone is scat singing along to, some finger scale exercises towards the end and panning of the keys and guitar bring this short piece to a pleasant closure. This is a good track that is fun, short and accessible. 6. The Fall - The mood of brevity is retained here with a much less frenetic exposition introducing a dreamlike track; against some nice plucking in the background, a majestic guitar solo turns anthemic and takes the melody crescendoing to a soaring stadium-like lead. It all ends on a more quiet, but hopeful, note. All in all this is just a gorgeous piece. 7. In The Black - Spare, minimal, melancholic and quite beautiful beginning, guitar sounds initially like it could be a piano; the beginning, at least, reminds one of Love Is Blindness by U2. As minimal goes, this is an outstanding example of the effective contribution of silence by non-playing band members (or were they just muted out?) in the intro as it serves as a good setting for the vocal and subsequently the piece as a composition; a keyboard flourish echo that seems to work with the ethereal quality of the piece signals the entrance of the bass and percussion. The call and response vocals lend a CSNY Deja-Vu quality to the amorphousness of the piece until it hardens with the consistent rhythm guitar, punctuating snare and more forceful vocals into probably the shortest piece of rock coming out of nowhere ever recorded - "it ends too soon", but doesn't in fact. Perfect little piece. 8. Spectrum: MMVII B.C. - This is a more immediate hit of rock after the quiet of the previous track. This seems to me a good example of the rock "ego" of 16DI taking over (in terms of Freud's analogy that is - perhaps within 16DI rock is "the ego"; jazz and progressive "the superego" and noise and cacophony "the id") with the clean guitar providing a nice counter to the distortion; a brief little bass solo at the end closes this uncompromising piece that rocks you back to the stone ages. 9. The 80's - It's nice to hear this session's humor contained in a 36 second piece that really couldn't be put any better. 10. Open - Slide guitar to this extent is a first for 16DI and lends this piece a big sky country vibe that works well with the singing words. The arpeggiated keyboards put you in the mind of Baba O'Reilly, but even as great as this is (and it is great) it's probably not as good as that. The drums are great as in all the songs, but to keep time without listening to the off keyboard cycle is really wonderful. The soaring vocals intertwine beautifully over the musical landscape. 11. Cyclopean - Rocking beginning; nice conga percussion throughout regrounds a piece that sounds at the same time like it's blasting off to another planet. The single guitar note lead at the end is highly suspenseful and builds the tension to a fever pitch before unleashing a final burst of energy in a succinct and triumphant ending. 12. Tongues Of The Moon - This loungey, bluesy tune has some nice tension towards the end, including some strangled guitar work before the final closing of pleasant guitar melody and interplay. Overall another winner in the lounge jazz department for this record. 13. 2/9 - This total jazz track is a success (otherwise it wouldn't be on a soundtrack would it?) The guest vocalist is great and adds an air of sophistication to the proceedings both as a single piece and as an album. (16DI with "special guests") 14. Marco Polo vs. The 4 Assassins - 16DI doing reggae might have been called Reggae for Bensky? Actually reminds me of Guns of Brixton by The Clash. This was an immediate standout track of mine on the album due to it's sheer accessibility, simplicity and brevity. Nice overdub guitar. It is also a good set-up for the penultimate track, which is bit more heavy in terms of subject matter and musicality. 15. Quiet American - You hear 2 parts to this song: the eloquent vocal melody part which reminds me of Elbow and a little bit of Radiohead; and the synth part which reminds me of Floyd, or a return of BRL's The Body with the soundscapes but without the heavy riffage. It gets real out there. The whole thing provides some nice headphone listening. Dramatic, melodic, unconventional sounding - this is one of the real standout pieces of the whole collection. 16. UnEarthly Reprise - An epic track that has become a surprising favourite.. It surprises you at how easy it is to listen to all the way through, despite the 13+ minute time stamp on it. It reminds you of the 1st 16DI recording in the unedited sense of it - just a tape rolling and a band making sounds - some good, some bad but continuously searching. That being the case, the re-emergence of the guitar melody from track 1 in the final SEVEN seconds of a long musical journey is just a great way to tie up this whole bonanza of musical tastiness.
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