Sunday, March 25, 2007

Better Late Than Never...

Remember that time I was all, "Dude, this week I'm writing every day and blah blah blah..." and then I trailed off and did a bunch of other stuff, obviously preventing myself from writing and all that jazz?

Here's one of those overdue reviews:

Minus the Bear- Interpretaciones Del Oso (Suicide Squeeze, released 2-20-07)

Loosely translated: Interpretations of the Bear.
Remix albums, man... Minus The Bear's 2005 magnum opus Menos El Oso gets the track-by-track pirate hijacking treatment from 11 DJs-slash-musicians, only because remix albums are so hot right now and so is Minus The Bear. One of the best live acts I've experienced in the last few years, a remix album doesn't do this band justice- perhaps a live album would've been a better choice for this band at this point in their career, but a bold move nonetheless. It's something for the real fans, and the energy of Menos El Oso is conserved for either the new album (currently being recorded; tentatively titled Planet Of Ice) or the eventual tour (sweet, dude!).

Speaking from a fan's point of view, this serves as an excellent reminder, a side-by-side companion to or a compliment to Menos El Oso. And if you haven't figured out yet that I only review albums that I'm a fan of, well then- you haven't been paying attention. At least not very closely. But mark my words: this band should be huge. Like Burt Reynolds huge. For real.

So does this album warrant a track-by-track review, or do I just give a skimmed review, cut the fat out and tell you what I think of the highlights? Overall, its vibe is very chilled, a down-tempo lesson in music booth production values, and a few tracks are even completely overhauled- Tyondai Braxton strips Fulfill The Dream of its skeleton and gives it a new structure entirely, as does Dark Baby with Hooray. FOG takes Memphis & 53rd and plays it at half speed over a distorted droned-out synth, which is basically a 4 minute wet-fart sound. Michio's Death Drive by Michio aka Monostereo, most closely resembles the original work of all the re-workings and The Game Needed Me, gets a Bjork-stylized Army Of Me bassline, courtesy of The Oktopus.

El Torrente gets spookied up by Jason Clark of Pretty Girls Make Graves, the only musician I've heard of prior to seeing the who's who on this album. So that leads me to this assumption: that I know what you're thinking, I've never heard of these DJs either, and they may as well be 16 year-old kids in their bedrooms armed with overly-expensive music production software a la ProTools or FruityLoops, underneath their posters of My Chemical Romance and Pam Anderson's plasticized rack.

But Pachuca Sunrise, the centerpiece of Menos El Oso, also becomes the most arresting remix on here. Equally engrossing is Morgan from Blood Brothers' O, Hunter Remix of The Pig War, done with clarinets (or oboes?) and Jake Snider's vocalized oohs and ahhs. So, my three favorite tracks: the opener, P.O.S.'s Drilling, which gets a very stuttered and choppy treatment, Alias' Pachuca Sunrise and J. Clark's El Torrente. Again, I can only restate my earlier advice- this album may come with the disclaimer: for true MTB fans only, but I would suggest giving it a listen. Overall rating: 84

1 comment:

hope said...

i'm definitely checking it out.