Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CD REVIEW: Harmonious bec "Her Strange Dreams"

Harmonious bec  "Her Strange Dreams"
When I first put on Her Strange Dreams by Harmonious bec, I could only help but think that this first song was just a three minute intro to what would eventually come out sounding, well… different than how this album sounds. 
As the second song begins, I slowly begin to realize myself that this is going to be an instrumental album.    As I listen to all these songs, I realize my assumption is correct as there are only a few sparse female vocals thrown in on a loop, such as in the fifth song.
The music, in all of its instrumental glory, usually involves a drum machine, keys and some ambient noises to fill it all out.    It feels like mere background music at times, but when the keys kick in and really start going, you can tell that it is not just filler.    The key things bands who don’t have vocals tend to need is a strong enough presence that it doesn’t just sound like a rough cut with vocals needing to be added later on.    Even without the vocal loops, the keys usually make up for the lack of vocals.
This can sound anywhere from the likes of The Cancer Conspiracy to a less catchy version of Ladytron, but Harmonious bec does a good job of carving their own niche in this instrumental-eletronica-ambient-indie rock world in which we may not live but often visit.
One thing that did strike me as particularly interesting in these songs came on song number four, which is called “yubtdu” (Which seems more like a mashing of the keyboard than an actual word to me, but whatever.   When you don’t have someone singing your songs, do the titles really matter anyway?)   There is a part near the end when it gets quiets and then all of a sudden these sort of skips of louder music come out.   It’s either an intended mistake, such as the way a DJ would scratch a record and make it sound cool, or it was done unintentionally but left in for effect and maybe to make us wonder whether or not it was meant to be done.    I know I remember recording a particular song myself and as I tried to fade out the end quietly, one of cats came and walked across my keyboard, adding her own little contribution to the song.   When I listened to it back I felt it was enough of a funny mistake that almost seemed intentional so I left it in.  Plus, no one hears my music anyway so why should I really care.   I just thought it was kind of funny there was someone else out there with that same sort of thing going on.
In any event, what you need to know about these songs is that they have wild keys in them.   They can sometimes border on classical music because of the way they are played.   They’re somewhere in between something fast paced and rocking and something that is more mellow and just background noise.     The average song is probably around three minutes in length, though the last track goes on for a little over six minutes and that can be a bit trying.   I mean, if you don’t really mind instrumental music or if you just happen to really dig the piano, then you should check these out.

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