The musical arrangement featured in the new take of ‘Native Intelligence’ is driven by a rich, almost hypnotic guitar line that is complimented by an immersive string arrangement and of course Reznor’s unique vocal delivery style. The addition of the keyboards and electronics to the arrangement makes it even more engaging and entertaining.
No information about the song’s lyrical theme is featured in the press release announcing the debut of the re-worked composition. The lyrics provided with the single ensure plenty of thought and discussion. It comes across as being rather contemplative; perhaps a person thinking about doing more with life and trying to find one’s place. That is just this critic’s interpretation.
Elfman’s new box set re-issue of Big Mess is an expansive presentation. It features extras, such as a 60-page hardcover art book with photos of art used in the album’s presentation. A 20-page lyric booklet is also part of the box set, along with signed art and even vinyl copies of the album, and links to stream videos for the album’s singles.
Trent Reznor is returning to his industrial roots…sort of.
Reznor, the mind behind Nine Inch Nails, has partnered with famed composer Danny Elfman for a new take on Elfman’s song, ‘True.’ The song is featured in Elfman’s latest album, Big Mess, his sophomore album. The record was released June 11 through Epitaph Records. The record is Elfman’s first solo album in 37 years.
Elfman spoke highly of Reznor as he talked about the updated take on the song.
“This is the first duet/collaboration I’ve ever done in my life, so to do it with Trent was a real surprise and a treat,” said Elfman. “He’s always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time favorite singing voices.”
Reznor’s vocals are just as rich here in ‘True’ as they are in Reznor’s expansive catalog of Nine Inch Nails albums. Elfman’s vocals meanwhile conjure thoughts of David Bowie from the years that he went industrial. The industrial elements and strings pair with that vocal combination to throw back to works from Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails records from the mid-late 90s.
Along with the premiere of the song’s updated take, Elfman also premiered a companion video for the song Wednesday. Aaron Johnson directed the video and created the unsettling visual effects and imagery for the video. That imagery in question are items, such as what looks like barbed wire, a brain, and some disfigured people. This in itself throws back to the days of Reznor’s videos from The Downward Spiral.
While Reznor provides guest vocals to this updated take of ‘True,’ fellow Nine Inch Nails musician, guitarist Robin Finck (also of Guns N’ Roses) provides his talents to the 18-song record along with drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle, The Vandals, Weezer), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill) and second guitarist Nili Brosh (Tony McAlpine, Paul Gilbert).
When Trent Reznor announced early this year that he was going to release his then latest Nine Inch Nails records Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts, the news came as a welcome surprise for his fans and those of Nine Inch Nails. The albums lived up to the excitement generated over the news of their free release, with Ghosts V: Together carrying on the stylistic trend established in Ghosts I – IV, which was released approximately 12 years ago this year. Its companion, Ghosts VI: Locusts takes audiences in a completely different direction, but that is not a bad thing. This will be discussed shortly. The sequencing of those featured songs plays into the album’s presentation in its own right and will be discussed a little later. The production of the album’s featured songs puts the final touch to its presentation. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted here plays its own important part to the whole of Ghosts VI: Locusts. All things considered, they make the album in whole yet another wonderful addition to Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts “chapters.”
Nine Inch Nails’ album Ghosts VI: Locusts is a solid new addition to the bigger picture of the band’s Ghosts “chapters,” which started way back in 2008 with the extended album Ghosts I – IV. While it was released early this year alongside its companion record Ghosts V: Together, it is unlike that album and its other predecessors. That is proven in no small part through the album’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question give listeners something familiar to longtime Nine Inch Nails fans but that is still unique even within the bigger picture of Nine Inch Nails’ catalog. What’s more, they remain unique in comparison to any compositions from the band’s own catalog and in comparison to works from Nine Inch Nails’ fellow electronic/industrial counterparts. At the same time, some of the record’s arrangements also take listeners back in time through the band’s catalog. ‘When It Happens (Don’t Mind Me)’ is one of those songs that takes listeners in a new direction in this record. The nearly three minute opus’ presents a stylistic approach and sound similar to that use in ‘The Perfect Drug,’ but at the same time still takes listeners in a new direction. The high pitched tones and up-tempo approach couples with the expertly placed electronics to make the composition a work that conjures thoughts of someone perhaps going through a manic episode. That is evidenced in the arrangement’s frenetic energy exuded through the whole. It is truly a unique addition to the album.
The nearly 10-minute ‘The Worriment Waltz’ is another work that takes listeners in a new direction in this album. The subtle piano line in itself does lend itself to comparisons to works featured in The Fragile. At the same time, the addition of the equally subtle, airy, distant trumpet line builds on that foundation to make for even more interest. That coupling, paired with the almost eerie keyboards and electronics, enhances the arrangement even more and takes the song into a unique second direction within the whole of the song. The way in which those directions were balanced in order to keep listeners engaged and entertained puts the finishing touch to the song. This aspect – the production of the song – will be discussed a little later. Of course, the droning sound that makes up the bulk of the song’s second half does become monotonous. That aside, the song is still a unique work what with that aspect and everything in the song’s first half.
‘Temp Fix’ is one more example of the importance of the musical arrangements featured in Ghosts VI: Locusts. Yes, the comparisons to works from The Fragile are there, but they are subtle at most. The nearly two-minute composition is one of the shortest of the album’s 80-minute-plus body. Even at such a short run, the song creates such a deep, rich emotional impact for listeners that is just as impacting as anything else that the band has ever crafted. It is just one more way in which the record’s musical arrangements prove so pivotal to its presentation. Together with the rest of the album’s arrangements, the whole of that content forms a solid foundation for the album. That foundation is strengthened more through the sequencing of those arrangements.
The sequencing of Ghosts VI: Locusts is important to discuss for more than one reason. On one hand, as noted already, the shortest song in this record comes in at just under two minutes. Its longest composition barely tops the 13-minute mark. In other words, some of the songs are super short, others are extensively long and others still are roughly average length. If one takes a close look at the songs’ run times, one will notice that the album starts on one of those mid-length works. From there, it jumps to a song that runs nearly 11 minutes. From that point on until about ‘Temp Fix,’ the album’s midpoint, the songs’ run times gradually shorten. The run times fluctuate up and down from there throughout the second half of the album, rising and falling more than once, with the longest of the second half’s songs coming in at just over 13 minutes in ‘Turn This Off Please.’ All of this amounts to clear thought put into how long each song runs.
The importance of the album’s sequencing in regards to its run times gains importance as that is considered along with the actual makeup of the arrangements. As has already been noted, some of the arrangements featured in this record are composed of multiple movements. Others are far more simple. Case in point is ‘The Worriment Waltz.’ Coming in at just under 10 minutes, the composition largely maintains listeners’ engagement and entertainment. However, as it enters its second half, does become somewhat monotonous. Luckily, the run time and content eases up from there, ensuring audiences are not turned off too much by the arrangements. Simply put, the run times of the album’s songs and their overall content are clearly connected. Reznor wanted to make sure the album had as much impact as possible. He did not just toss the songs in their randomly. Rather, everything noted was done with the fullest of intentions. That approach paid off, too. When this is considered alongside the album’s featured songs, the end result is a record that presents that much more for audiences to appreciate. Collectively, the album’s songs and their sequencing are still just one part of what makes the album so appealing. Its production rounds out its most important elements.
The production of Ghosts VI: Locusts is important to examine because, as with its companion record Ghosts V: Together, some of the songs have so much going on, while others are more simple in their approaches. The thing is that the more minimalist compositions still have a lot going on, in terms of ambience while the longer works use a lot to make them work. The more “active” songs present audiences with multiple elements. Those elements are expertly balanced, showing Reznor’s year’s of experience, with electronics, keyboards, vocals and other elements balanced so well. The simpler songs meanwhile present so much depth even with their lesser instrumentation. Reznor makes the most even of those situations and succeeds just as much as in the more complex compositions. All things considered, the production put into Ghosts VI: Locusts does just as much to make the album engaging and entertaining as its sequencing and its featured songs. Keeping all of this in mind, Ghosts VI: Locusts proves in the end to be another positive “chapter” in Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts story.
Nine Inch Nails’ latest addition to its Ghosts records Ghosts VI: Locusts is another interesting addition to the overall picture of Ghosts. Its musical arrangements take listeners in a largely new direction from those presented in Ghosts’ first five entries. At the same time it gives listeners a little something familiar to enjoy, too. The sequencing of the album’s songs takes much into consideration, including the songs’ run times and content. The album’s production brings everything full circle, completing its presentation. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Ghosts VI: Locusts an impressive addition to Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts “story. It is available now. More information on Ghosts VI: Locusts is available along with all of Nine Inch Nails’ latest news at:
Trent Reznor has made a career — and a successful one at that — of crafting unique musical landscapes with each song he creates that are unlike those of any of his peers across the musical universe. That applies to his work on movies, video games and under the Nine Inch Nails moniker. His recently released album Ghosts V: Together is no exception to that rule. The eight-song instrumental record is a presentation that Reznor’s established fan base will enjoy. The record’s musical arrangements are the main way in which the album proves to be another success from Reznor under the NIN moniker. They will be discussed shortly. The arrangements’ sequencing ensures even more, that listeners will remain engaged and entertained in the albums. The songs’ production rounds out the album’s most important elements. It is because of this element that the album in whole sounds so appealing. When it is considered along with the album’s songs and their sequencing, the album in whole becomes another impressive addition to Nine Inch Nails’ catalog and proves itself one of this year’s top new albums overall.
Nine Inch Nails’ recently released instrumental album Ghosts V: Together is another memorable addition to Trent Reznor’s already extensive and impressive body of work. It picks up right where Ghosts I-IV left off way back in 2008. Just as with that album – the band’s first independent release following its split from Interscope Records – Reznor (and likely his longtime collaborative partner Atticus Ross) pays such close attention to all of the most minute details in each song. This will be discussed at more length when the record’s production is addressed. The songs’ ethereal arrangements are so rich even in their simplicity. ‘With Faith’ is a prime example of the songs’ depth even in that minimalist approach. The song’s foundation is formed through a gentle, simple keyboard line that almost sounds like a toy piano. That in itself makes for its own share of interest. The use of the “choral” effect to the arrangement — that runs stably through the song’s nearly 10-minute run time — and the subtle keyboard accents make for so much engagement. The mood that they collectively set is such that a person could use the song for a meditation session. The progression happens through the subtleties throughout the song. They work with the noted foundation and smartly-handled dynamics to make the song such a strong presentation in its own right.
‘Still Right Here,’ which comes in at more than 10 minutes in length, does its own share to show what makes Ghosts V: Together so impressive, in regards to its musical arrangements. It starts off in a decidedly gentle, contemplative fashion, using only a soft keyboard line and even more subtle electronics. As the song progresses, it gradually builds in intensity with the addition of the guitar line. The dynamic control in the arrangement is solid throughout, evoking such strong emotions in listeners. As the song builds into something more akin to works from With Teeth, the engagement and entertainment builds even more. The transition back to something that sounds like it belongs in a science fiction movie builds up the arrangement’s presentation even more, showing once more why the arrangement (and album’s arrangements in whole) works so well in this record.
‘Your Touch’ is yet another example of the importance of the musical arrangements featured in Ghosts V: Together. The song’s arrangement is one of those works that is so heavy without being heavy. The subtlety in the combination of the keyboards and electronics alongside the once more ethereal vocal effects creates another deep emotional impact within listeners’ minds. The arrangement in whole sounds like it would fit just as well on The Downward Spiral as on Fragile. Its reach is that broad, what with the “instrumentation” and overall mix, which again will be discussed at more length a little later. Between this song, the others noted here and the rest of the album’s featured works, it becomes clear at this point just how impacting the album’s musical arrangements are for listeners. They form a solid foundation for the album; a foundation that is strengthened even more through their sequencing.
The sequencing of Ghosts V: Together is important to examine alongside the arrangements themselves in that it maintains a stable mood and energy throughout the course of the album. The mood is melancholy, yes, but it is not an “oh-woe-is-me” melancholy. Rather, it is more of a deeply introspective style of melancholy that still presents its own sort of positivity. The dynamic changes within each arrangement also ensure that is understood while also making sure that the record never becomes monotonous at any point. The result is that from start to end, audiences will remain fully engaged and entertained by the album. Pairing this element with the album’s arrangements the album gains even more strength. It is just one more aspect that makes the record so worth hearing. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.
It has already been noted here that much attention was paid to even the most minute of details throughout Ghosts V: Together. That is made clear in different ways in each song. Something as simple as the dynamic changes within the songs shows solid control and thought. Case in point goes back to ‘Still Right Here.’ The song starts off so slowly and introspectively. As the song progresses, it gradually picks up in intensity, a la songs from The Fragile before gradually following a decrescendo as the song enters its second half in the sort of ABA pattern. The subtle progression that the song experiences not only in terms of dynamics, but also in terms of instrumentation shows even more, the impact of the albums’ production. The use of the electronics, keyboards and vocals is expertly balanced, with each element complimenting the others. Much the same can be said of ‘Out in the Open.’ Another composition that evokes thoughts of movies, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, the arrangement gently balances the keyboards and seeming vocal elements together for a unique whole that is just so powerful in its simplicity. Much the same said of these two songs can largely be said of the rest of the album’s entries. Whether the songs be simple or somewhat more complex in their instrumentation and even dynamics, the balance is near perfection if not full perfection. Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the arrangements themselves and their sequencing, the whole of the album a powerful new offering from Nine Inch Nails that every one of Trent Reznor’s fans will welcome.
Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts V: Together is another impressive addition to the band’s already impressive, extensive catalog that audiences are certain to enjoy. That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements. The full-on instrumental compositions continue the trend established in Ghosts I–IV approximately a dozen years ago in terms of their stylistic approach. The sequencing of the record’s featured songs adds its own share of appeal to the recording, as it ensures listeners will remain engaged and entertained. The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation, ensuring each element within each song is expertly balanced together, so as to produce the most powerful emotional impact for listeners. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Ghosts V: Together. All things considered, the record is a strong continuation of its predecessor that Trent Reznor’s established fan base will enjoy from start to end. Ghosts V: Together is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Nine Inch Nails’ latest news at:
Julien-K front man Ryan Shuck is voluntarily entering rehab.
Schuck, who formed the band with fellow former Orgy member Amir Derakh in 2003, is entering rehab to address issues with depression and alcoholism.
Shuck posted a statement on social media about his decision to enter rehab. That statement is presented below.
“Writing this explanation for locking myself up in rehab is not easy……
I have spent 25 years living on the edge of a knife, and thinking to myself “man, I’m doing a really good job not getting sliced open and killed!” But the reality is my balancing act is failing.
So, I have decided to make a decision to try to live. My current lifestyle is a path to a very bad place.
I want to try do my part in making this a better world starting with addressing my own mental health and dependence on alcohol to make it through each day.
I just think that I MIGHT be able to do better than I have been doing in life. I feel I have to try another way of living life, and that by doing this I may be able to do more to help the people I love and the fans that have supported me for my entire career. To get through this and help others, I’m going to have to be at 100% RYAN level (which is terrifying, honestly), and I’ve proven I can’t change my current condition on my own.
I think we’re all going to need to have some huge inspiration and positivity to recover from this unprecedented difficult time, and I want to be there to inspire and help others through my music and any other means I have available.
I’ll be in touch with our inner circle fans as much as I am allowed!! You guys all know how much I love you and how much it means to me to stay connected with you. You all know exactly who you are, and you know of the ingenious new ways we’ve created to stay in touch with our most supportive family of fans.
This should be interesting for sure :)”
Shuck’s announcement comes less than a month after Julien-K released its latest album Harmonic Disruptor. More information on Julien-K, its new album and all of the band’s latest news is available online at:
Ken Burns and PBS have partnered to release the famed documentarian’s latest offering on DVD and Blu-ray late this summer.
Ken Burns: The Vietnam War will be released Tuesday, Sept. 19 on DVD and Blu-ray. The 1,080-minute (18-hours) program examines the conflict in a previously untold fashion with interviews from almost 100 witnesses and uses rarely-seen, digitally re-mastered footage from historic news broadcasts, home movies and audio recordings from the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.
Audiences can see a preview of the program online now here.
Lynn Novick, who co-directed and produced the documentary alongside Burns and fellow co-producer Sarah Botstein, said some surprising revelations were made over the decade in which The Vietnam War was created.
“We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy. Ken and I have tried to shed new light on the war by looking at it from the bottom up, the top down and from all sides,” Novick said. “In addition to dozens of Americans who shared their stories, we interviewed many Vietnamese on both the winning and losing sides, and were surprised to learn that the war remains as painful and unresolved for them as it is for us. Within this almost incomprehensibly destructive event, we discovered profound, universal human truths, as well as uncanny resonances with recent events.”
Burns agreed, adding it remains a divisive topic even four decades after Saigon fell.
“The Vietnam War was a decade of agony that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans,” Burns said. “Not since the Civil War have we as a country been so torn apart. There wasn’t an American alive then who wasn’t affected in some way – from those who fought and sacrificed in the war to families of service members of POWs, to those who protested the war in open conflict with their government and fellow citizens. More than 40 years after it ended, we can’t forget Vietnam, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it.”
Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution
This latest offering from Burns and company also features new music composed by famed Academy Award®-winning producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Reznor has also won numerous awards and accolades as the creative force behind Nine Inch Nails.
It offers more than 100 minutes of bonus material, too, including a 45-minute preview program, two programs focusing on contemporary lives of two people involved in the conflict and much more.
As if that expanse of bonus material is not enough, the program, which will air on PBS stations nationwide between Sept. 17 – 21 and Sept. 24 – 28, a companion outreach and public engagement program – provided by PBS stations nationwide – aimed at giving communities the chance to take part in a national discussion about the war.
A website and educational initiative will also be launched online at PBS Learning Media aimed at engaging teachers and students everywhere about the war.
The program spans 10 discs on both platforms and will retail for MSRP of $99.99 on DVD and $129.99 on Blu-ray. It will also be available via digital download. The sets can be pre-ordered online now at discounted prices of $94.99 (DVD) and $124.99 (Blu-ray).
A companion standalone book is also available for order for $59.99. The book and box sets can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store along with complete sets that include the box sets and book.
More information on this and other titles from Ken Burns and PBS is available online now at:
Daniel Guaqueta is one of the busiest individuals in the underground music community. He has spent the better part of the 2000s working with a variety of acts including the likes of Storage 24, Buddy and the Squids, and most recently the multi-national act Questions in Dialect. Since first breaking into the music industry he also worked with a number of well-known individuals such as Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (Mutemath), and veteran producers Bob Weston (Nirvana) and Andy Baker (Drive By Truckers). That is just a small sampling of what he has done over the course of his career so far. Needless to say he is not the type to sit idly on his accomplishments. Case in point, last week he released his new EP Saying Is Only Saying So Much. The five track collection is easily one of the best of this year’s crop of new EPs. The main reason that it is deserving of such a title is its musical content. Guaqueta put quite the thought and consideration into the featured songs in regards to their musical content. That is clear in the depth exhibited in each song. The disc’s overall lyrical content makes it just as much of an interesting collection. Guaqueta takes the road less traveled with the disc’s lyrical content just as with its musical content. Just as worth noting to the record’s benefit is its sequencing. Just as much thought was put into the songs’ sequencing as was put into the composition of each song and the songs’ lyrical content. That is clear in listening to the progression of the songs over the course of the disc’s twenty-two minute run time. Such thought and consideration solidifies the record’s interest and makes it well worth the listen. In listening to it in its entirety, those that do so will agree that all noted elements prove that Saying is Only Saying So Much is again one of the best of this year’s new crop of EPs.
Saying is Only Saying So Much is a solid outing for Daniel Guaqueta. The Mississippi-born, Colombian-raised musician’s new EP is in fact one of the year’s best in its respective category. The main reason for such a title is its overall musical content. Listening through each of the disc’s five tracks, it is clear that Guaqueta put quite the thought and consideration into each composition. Each song is a deep work of electronic music that will keep listeners completely engaged from beginning to end of the record’s twenty-two total minutes. Most notable of that sound is that it’s not just some EDM-style sound. Rather it is more akin to the work done by Trent Reznor at many points than any of the major names in the world of EDM, electronica or other related electronic music sub genres. More specifically, it is especially similar to the music that Reznor crafted in his Nine Inch Nails remix albums. Though, there are similarities to his more recent NIN original recordings, too. For all of the similarities that Guaqueta’s work bears to that of Trent Reznor’s work, Guaqueta does boast his own original sound across the course of SIOSSM’s (as it will henceforth be known) body. There are so many subtle nuances incorporated (not just thrown in) into each song that collectively even with only five songs, the record in whole requires a close listen in order to fully appreciate not just those nuances but the effect of those nuances on the songs. In understanding and appreciating all of this, listeners will agree that the depth of the songs featured on this record form a solid foundation for SIOSSM and just one reason that the record proves to be one of the best of this year’s crop of new EPs.
The overall musical content that makes up the body of SIOSSM is in itself plenty of reason for listeners to hear Daniel Guaqueta’s new EP at least once if not more. Of course it is just one reason that listeners will appreciate this latest effort from the multi-national musician and performer. The record’s overall lyrical content is just as important to its enjoyment as its musical content. While Guaqueta is a bi-lingual performer, listeners will be happy to know that he performs only one of the disc’s songs (its opener) entirely in Spanish. The other four tracks are performed entirely in English. One of those four works–‘We Were’–even boasts a hip-hop vibe mixed in with the song’s electronic foundation. Not only that but rapper AJC even gets to put his skills on display rapping, “We’re just sitting here/I’m gettin’ tired of us all just bein’ here/For the things we did/Waitin’ on the call/amount to nothin’/But our sense be consumin’ us all/The people of the world are thinkin’ that we can live to be a thousand a thousand a thousand a thousand a thousand more.” He goes on to comment on how people go on to hate each other even more as they get older because of the inferred sense of self-entitlement that they have. It’s a deep message communicated in just one verse that together with the song’s musical content exhibits that much more clearly why the EP’s lyrical content is so important to the record in whole. The lyrical content of the EP’s title track is one more example of the EP’s overall lyrical content in its enjoyment. He sings in an ethereal fashion, “The breath we took from each other/We looked for reasons to understand/When we said we were loving/We stood saying different instead/We tell each other secrets/And tell the love we’ve had for others/We share our little fairytales/And tell each other that’s all I have.” Guaqueta goes on in the same fashion throughout the rest of the song with lyrical content that is just as introspective and thought-provoking. AJC puts his talents on display in the second half of the song, adding even more depth to the song’s lyrical side. The emotional depth of this song’s lyrical content makes the song so moving in and of itself. The equally moving musical content put on display makes the song even deeper. It is not only another example of the power and importance of the lyrics within the EP’s songs but of the songs’ lyrics coupled with the songs’ musical content. The combination of both elements paints a picture that in whole proves clearly why SIOSSM is more than deserving of being added to any critic’s list of the year’s best new EPs. For all of their importance they are still not all that listeners will appreciate about this release. Its sequencing rounds out the presentation, taking listeners on a journey that will keep them fully engaged right to the record’s end.
Both the musical and lyrical content exhibited throughout the course of SIOSSM are of the utmost importance to the record. While both elements play their own important roles they are hardly the only important factors to note in the disc’s success. Its sequencing is just as important as those elements. The sequencing displays just as much thought and consideration as the songs’ overall combined content. As listeners will note, the record starts in an upbeat fashion in ‘Emisora’ before gradually changing its overall vibe until finally ending in the deeply contemplative ‘Ryokan.’ That finale is a piece that is not for those with a short attention span. It is a composition that listeners absolutely must give their full attention in order to fully appreciate everything that it has to offer. By the time the song ends, those that really give the EP in whole their full attention will understand and agree that the disc’s sequencing is just as important as the record’s overall musical and lyrical content if not more so. Regardless of which of the noted elements is most important, it can be said that all three elements together will have listeners saying that SIOSSM is one of this year’s bet new EPs.
Daniel Guaqueta’s new EP SIOSSM is one of this year’s best new EPs. That is exhibited through both the musical and lyrical content of each of the record’s songs. The sequencing of the EP’s songs is just as important in making an argument in favor of the disc. All three elements considered together, they paint a musical picture in this record that will give listeners something new to appreciate with each listen. That being the case, it can be said even more than before that SIOSSM is more than deserving of being added to any critic’s list of the year’s best new EPs. It is available now and can be ordered direct online via Daniel Guaqueta’s official website at http://www.danielguaqueta.com. More information on SIOSSM is available via Guaqueta’s website and his official Facebook page and Twitter account at:
Ryan Clark and Randy Torres have spent the better part of their careers making some of the most intense music that the Christian music community has heard with Demon Hunter and Project 86. Now the pair has teamed up for a new project called NYVES (pronounced knives) that released its debut album Anxiety early last month. The music that makes up the body of Anxiety is unlike anything that fans of Demon Hunter and Project 86 have ever heard. At times it sounds like something straight out of the 80s new wave movement and at others like something akin to Daft Punk and others like a mix of both. Even with such sounds, Anxiety still maintains its own identity separate from its influences, resulting in eleven tracks that both electronica fans and those of Demon Hunter and Project 86 whose minds are open enough will enjoy. In listening to it, those listeners will agree that Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums.
NYVES’ (pronounced knives) debut album Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums. The side-project of Demon Hunter front man Ryan Clark and ex-Project 86 member Randy Torres, it is unlike anything that either musician has created. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Fall Behind.’ In terms of its musical content, ‘Fall Behind’ sounds like something that could have been part of the soundtrack to Disney’s Tron or its sequel. Clark’s clean vocals placed over top of that sound makes it even more interesting. Listeners that are familiar with Clark’s vocal styling established in his time with Demon Hunter will enjoy it just as much here if not more so. That is because presented in this scenario, the deep tone of those vocals, with their powerful yet restrained sound give the song a wholly different emotional depth all its own. That is especially the case considering the song’s full-on metaphorical writing. Clark writes in this song, “When they have come to bleed us out/And the panic ascends/You take a look beyond this cold/For the light to blind/Unto a calm beyond our means/In the final divide/Where every hope collapsing in/Is a vibrant white/All I see is silhouettes/Try to close the distance/Hear your voice a fading thread/Don’t fall behind.” Even without a full, clear interpretation of the lyrics, Clark’s delivery gives the song such emotional depth. The lyrics taken into consideration, that depth is increased even more. It is just this critic’s own take, but this verse alone comes across as a statement similar to what Demon Hunter’s fans have come to know from that band, too. It almost seems as if Clark is commenting on a person looking for that sign of hope amid the most tying of times. The song’s second verse strengthens this argument as Clark sings, “If there’s a way to see this through/For the ever alone/To be a grave for our descent/I will find the way.” This critic could of course be entirely wrong here in interpretation. Right or wrong, the fact that its lyrics manage to generate so much discussion shows why it is such a great example of what Anxiety has to offer audiences. The combination of both the song’s lyrics and its musical content exhibits this even more. And it’s just the album’s opener, too. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQFV-ENL8g4. There are other equally impressive works throughout this record that show just as much what Anxiety has to offer listeners. One of those examples is the album’s second track, ‘Something Divine.’
Anxiety’s opener ‘Return’ is a great first impression from Ryan Clark and Randy Torres on the debut of the pair’s new project. The depth of emotion communicated through Clark’s vocal delivery coupled with the depth of the song’s lyrical and musical content makes it a song that is one of the record’s strongest moments. It is only one of those moments, too. ‘Something Divine,’ the album’s second track is just as impressive. In terms of its musical content, ‘Something Divine’ is the polar opposite of ‘Return.’ The sound established by the keyboards in this song is something more akin to works from Nine Inch Nails than anything from the 80s. Clark’s vocals set against that sound gives the song even more of an impact. In terms of its lyrics, it is just as deep as the album’s opener with Clark singing, “I want it all/The blood, the flesh, the soul/Give me the time/The guns, the peace, control/I wanna see/The tide begin to rise/Let me believe/The world within your eyes/Give me a sign/Something divine/I wanna feel there is something real/Down inside/Bring me the light/The words to bind the night/Keep me alive/To show the rest to die.” It is almost as if Clark is singing from the vantage point here of someone looking for that positive among all of life’s darkness and difficulties, much as with the album’s opener. He seems to be saying, “give me something to hope for. Something about which to feel good.” Again, this is just one person’s own interpretation. It could very well be incorrect. Hopefully it isn’t incorrect. Even if it is incorrect, such deep, thought-provoking lyrical content yet again shows just how much Anxiety has to offer audiences. That material set alongside the song’s musical content makes it even more of a standout work. And one more example of just how much Anxiety has to offer listeners. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhxMrlxOWao.
Both ‘Return’ and ‘Something Divine’ are prime examples in their own right as to just how much NYVES has to offer listeners in its debut record. Both songs exhibit true musical and lyrical depth that will have listeners talking quite a bit amongst each other. They are collectively just a glimpse into what makes this record such a surprisingly interesting collection of songs. ‘Idle Thoughts,’ is the penultimate song in this eleven-track record. But it, too serves as one of the best examples of how much it has to offer listeners. Just as with ‘Something Divine,’ this track sounds musically similar to something that one might hear from Trent Reznor. And that isn’t a bad thing. The fact of the matter is that despite the similarities, it still maintains its own identity separate from Reznor’s work and that of other industrial/electronic greats. The same can be said just as easily of the song’s lyrical content in which Clark sings, “When the call is all I feel/And the end it’s all I need/I embrace the coming bleed/In the void of disengage/I escape into my grave/Where the dream is all I save/Don’t let me violate your time/I will exhaust before you fade away/Fade away into the night/I was wrong to bring you here/But I can see/There is a place beyond the light for you and me.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I await the silent draw/The erase of every wall/I embrace the coming fall/I’m afraid of all I’ve seen/In the darkest I have been/the eclipse of all I need.” From here, Clark goes back into the song’s chorus. There is one more verse included in the song. But there is no need going into that verse as it echoes the same sentiment echoed throughout the song’s first and second verse. The sentiment in question makes for just as much discussion as the song’s musical content. That same metaphorical language used in the album’s other songs is just as prevalent here. And once again it is the combination of that metaphorical language and equally interesting musical content that makes this song its own intriguing addition to Anxiety, proving once more why Anxiety is such an interesting and welcome release both for fans of Demon Hunter and Project 86 and for those that are fans of electronic music. Audiences can hear this work online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvTkir-EXrI. Together with the songs noted previously and those not noted, all eleven tracks that make up Anxiety show it to be in the end one of the best of this year’s crop of new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s best new albums overall.
NYVES’ debut album Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums, hands down. It could potentially be considered one of the year’s best new albums overall, too. That is taking into consideration the fact that it stands completely apart from anything that either Randy Torres or Ryan Clark has crafted in the course of their career. The songs noted here clearly exhibit that difference, too. They also exhibit–along with the album’s other eight tracks–the thought and time put into each song. The result of that thought and time is an album that will grow more on audiences with each watch. In growing on audiences, those same audiences will agree that Anxiety is without a doubt one of this year’s best new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s best new albums overall. Anxiety is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Spartan Records’ online store at http://spartanrecords.limitedrun.com/products/550575-nyves-anxiety. More information on this and other titles from Spartan Records is available online now at:
Veteran musician Gary Numan has shaken up this critic’s list of the year’s best rock and hard rock albums with the release of his latest album, Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind). Numan’s new record, his twentieth full length studio release, takes listeners once again into the ever darkening world that he has crafted throughout his more recent releases. Numan grabs audiences right from the album’s emotionally desolate opener ‘I Am Dust’ straight through to ‘My Last Day’, which closes out the album’s dozen tracks and never lets go. It may not be the most uplifting album out there. But the sonic landscapes crafted throughout this near hour-long record make it worth more than just a couple listens. As a matter of fact, that landscape makes this album a darkhorse candidate to be one of the year’s best new rock or even hard rock albums.
Numan made the completely right choice opening his new album with ‘I Am Dust.’ There is so much that can be said of this song. The first thing that listeners will take away from this song is the different musical and vocal influences obvious throughout the song. Numan’s own vocal style in the verses conjures thoughts of Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer front man Maynard James Keenan. However, when he reaches the choruses, there is almost a mix of Peter Steele (Type O Negative) and Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) in his voice as he sings, “We are yours/We’re waiting for you/We are yours/We’re waiting for you.” The Fear Factory and Type O Negative influences can also be heard in the choruses in the song’s musical side. Numan’s nihilistic lyrics in this song echo that of Trent Reznor circa The Downward Spiral. He sings, “We all pray for the end/For the God to take us/We were falling down/One by one/We were weak/And the fear/Was all around us/The machines screamed from moon to sun.” The musical and lyrical combination along with the obvious influences from across the rock world collectively make this song the perfect introduction to Numan for those that might be new to his music and an equally impressive re-introduction for those that are more familiar with his music.
For all of the dark, brooding songs that Gary Numan includes in his new album, he also tackles relationship issues in his own way. He tackles the subject in the very Nine Inch Nails-esque ‘The Calling.’ Were a person to hear this song on the radio without knowing it was Gary Numan, one might actually think it was Nine Inch Nails because of how close it sounds to Trent Reznor’s work circa The Fragile. The string arrangements and electronics set against Numan’s brooding lyrics make this song one of this album’s key moments. Lyrically, there is little to this song. But even in its few lyrics, Numan captures the emotion of someone that realizes that he or she has been nothing but a pawn in someone else’s game. He writes in the song’s final verse, “You don’t love me/You don’t know me/Is this some kind of game for you/Is that why you’ve called me?” This is a situation to which plenty of audiences can relate. Not everyone has gone through the situation presented in this song.
Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) is front loaded with more than its share of impressive new material from Gary Numan. There is not one bad moment throughout the record’s near hour-long run time. One of the highest of the records high points has already been noted here. It isn’t the only of the album’s high points, either. ‘We’re The Unforgiven’ is another of this album’s highest of points. This song has a very obvious Nine Inch Nails influence both musically speaking and lyrically. What’s so interesting about that is the contrast of the song’s musical and lyrical sides. The song’s musical side is powerful to say the least. That is thanks in large part to the manner in which each verse crescendos before dropping back. That dynamic contrast alone would make this song work even without lyrics. But set next to the song’s lyrical side, both the music and lyrics come together to make the song this album’s best song. He writes about figures that were once great but are now pale shades of themselves. He writes, “Once there was life/And we were strong/Full of pride/Once we bread fear/And we would take the flesh denied/Once we were gods/And all things knelt before our word/or died.” Obviously, he is writing metaphorically here. But the message is still the same. He goes on, writing in the song’s chorus, “Now we’re just a ruin/We were our undoing/We’re the unforgiven.” This is a powerful statement. And again, set alongside the song’s musical side, it becomes even more powerful. Together, they make this song just one more of so many standout moments shared by Gary Numan throughout his new record. Fans overseas in the Middle East and Europe will get to experience these songs and many more live beginning February 10th in Tel Aviv, Israel. From there, Numan will make his way into Belgium and across Europe for the next leg of his tour in support of his new album. Fans can get Gary Numan’s latest tour dates, news, and more online at http://www.facebook.com/GaryNumanOfficial and http://www.garynuman.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.
Veteran rock band Korn has released the video for the lead single from its new album, The Paradigm Shift. The video for the song ‘Never Never’ can be viewed online now at http://www.vevo.com/watch/korn/never-never/US5Z51300396?syndicationid=bb8a16ab-1279-4f17-969b-1dba5eb60eda&shortlink=UaDV41&country=US. For those that have yet to hear the band’s new single, it boasts an interesting mixed influence of Type O Negative throughout most of the song. However, there is a slight Nine Inch Nails homage late in the song, too. The Type O Negative influence can be credited to the work of returning guitarist David “Head” Welch and James Schaffer. The video sees the band performing atop a CG clock that is turning and exploding all at once. All the while a woman clad in an entirely black outfit that defies explanation sits in the center of the clock.
In celebration of the band’s tenth full length studio release, Jonathan Davis and company have announced the return of the “Family Values Festival.” The festival kicks off Thursday, September 26th at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently, ten total dates are listed. The most current tour schedule is listed below.