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Tag: instrumental

Prepare for Take-off with Bears in the Yukon

You May Die In The Desert started out as a guitar and bass duo from Seattle before morphing into what they are today—a three-piece instrumental group. Bears in the Yukon is a purely instrumental album, consisting of seven tracks. I automatically assume that boredom will ensue when it comes to purely instrumental albums, but this day I was in luck. You may Die In The Desert (YMDITD) has immense technical skill. One of the first bands I thought of in comparison was the technical, instrumental aspect of Between the Buried and Me.

The sound could be described as ambient, atmospheric, spacey; the type of music that would be playing if you were to suddenly take flight. Seriously–if I was so lucky as to have a spaceship come into my possession, this is what I would be pumping through the speakers. It’s the kind of music that inspires the listener to get off their butt and embark on some sort of creative enterprise of their own; I love that in music.

It’s refreshing that the sound of the guitar is played with and changed up—there isn’t just a barrage of distortion or acoustic, which is extremely important in an instrumental album. The tracks all are very cohesive, but I found “The Writer’s Audience is Always Fiction” to be the most enchanting. Amidst flashbacks to songs by Modest Mouse and The Postal Service, I found myself immensely enjoying this track. Its tempo is set by what sounds like a digital high hat drum beat—it stands out from the rest. There are definite elements of jazz infused throughout, not only in this song but in the entire album.

They obviously know what they are doing; the technicality of the layering of sounds, the implications of the drum beats, the airy reverb and delay of the guitars; it all makes for a very intelligent, mystic-feeling musical sojourn through the eardrums.

YMDITD possesses enough skill to keep the listener alert yet relaxed throughout their songs. They go to prove that words aren’t needed where music can suffice and thrive on its own.

Can I make this my soundtrack for my daily routine?

Imagine if funk/dub went ambient. Well, it just did. Loudspeaker Speaker Meets Clearly Human‘s Like 10 Feet Tall is a great addition to the ever-over-stuffed, ever-growing category of  instrumental music.  Loudspeaker Speaker Meets Clearly Human is a wordy name, and it’s not super-creative (it’s the stage names of Jason Falk (Clearly Human) and Chad Imes (Loudspeaker Speaker), but it tells the listener what they’re getting: the cohesive meeting of some musical minds. Basically, Falk plays percussion and Imes has his way with the rest of the sound of the album. That’s not to put Falk out of the limelight, however.

To explain how the two work together, the opener “Loudspeaker Speaker Meets Clearly Human” is a great starting point. Ghostly chime sounds open the album, while Clearly Human’s metallic drumming courts the pace of the chimes. The chimes then get wiped away and Loudspeaker Speaker moves in with some funky bass lines. After a bit of this, the chime sound weaves in and out periodically, which then paves the road for some guitar. Such introductions and removals of sound are methodical and calculated, but help to create a grand musical mosaic.

The album becomes pretty trance-like, and the shifts in tracks will be barely noticed by the average listener.   The second track “No Change” beings with a similar bass line, guitar, and chimes as heard on the opener.Then Loudspeaker Speaker slaps you awake with what sounds like the cross between a terrified scream and a tire squeal. It’s the suggestion that you’ve just walked into these guys’ haunted house of ambient funk.

“Like a Beat-Up El Camino Hittin’ Switches” and “Little Brother FM” are two of the most interesting tracks. With names like those, the instrumentals have a lot of catching up to do. “Little Brother FM” begins with a banging drum beat, that opens for a high-pitched guitar squeak fest. Then, at around a minute and thirty seconds, what sounds like a cello comes in from left field. The track at first suggests a possible interruption with some self-pleasuring guitar wankery, but it becomes clearer that Loudspeaker Speaker is obviously more concerned about creating cohesive tracks.  On “Like A Beat-Up El Camino Hittin Switches,” the drums hit hard sounding and eho-ey that get paired up with a mechanical bell sound.  The best way to imagine it is a clock tower traveling through space. The musical suprises and unique sounds never stop, but to describe them all would take days. It would be better for the reader if that time was spent zoning out to the great beats of Loudspeaker Speaker Meets Clearly Human.