Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cassette Review: Nagual "String Music for The End Times"

[$5 // Edition of 50 // https://nagual.bandcamp.com/album/string-music-for-the-end-times]

Whenever I see the name "String Music for The End Times" the only think I can ever think of is the scene from "The Simpsons: The Movie" involving Green Day as their stage goes under and they're playing like a string trio instead of a punk rock band.    Given that a screen shot of that is not the cover for this cassette by Nagual I am inclined to take it much more seriously and thankfully so.

Side A starts things off with some deep sea strings that are most likely from a cello and they have that end of the world feel to them.   This is combined with high pitched screechy strings which at times can sound as if they are fighting with each other.    With all of that still happening, some sweet guitar riffs ala Santana come in next.   There is distotion, some pretty swirls and then this begins to drop heavy bass notes ala Tool.

With some modem-like insanity this gets close to that verge of industrial music and with that we have this sort of panicked, chaotic symphony that you would expect as the ship is going down rather than after it already sank.   I assumed the title would imply something more like that "I Am Legend" movie feel but instead it seems to be the "Everyone run, it's all over!!" mass hysteria.

For the record: I had a dream of how the world ended once and so far no one has gotten it correct.   That is probably for the better because it means that this world can stay intact in my lifetime at least.

Side B is rather different from Side A in the sense that as many different sounds are being created by various instruments on A, Side B is primarily dominated by an electric guitar.   At first the more traditional guitar riffs can sound desolate, which brings out the post-apocalyptic part I have come to know and love (No, seriously, I liked post-apocalyptic television series and such before it was cool)   This also somehow manages to have this western feel to it, like maybe Django Unchained, or maybe it's just because I imagine the dust bowl and a lot of tumbleweed with little else.

The guitar starts rattling and becomes triumphant before I can hear the Hendrix coming out.   It's only fitting as well because when Jimi Hendrix performed at Woodstock it kind of reset the entire world of music and as such this is that reset feeling as well here.   Some of the guitar sounds next shift to beeping which could be a wake up alarm but for the most part I just feel like it's officially somehow signaling the start of a new world.

Whatever your preference, and even if you feel like post-apocalyptic times have become too commercial, the musicianship here from the layers on Side A to flat out guitar perfection on Side B should have you listening to this if only because it has guitars (as well as other strings) doing what you (and I) might not have thought possible once before.


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