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Listening to a cassette quite as long as "Collection II" can make it difficult to describe. The length of this has it where I don't feel you can pinhole it down to one statement like "Oh, this is rock that sounds like..." or whatever. There is enough going on throughout these songs that even I am willing to admit that there might be parts I leave out. In that sense, I feel the only way you could truly cover all of your bases is to listen to this cassette for yourself.
In a broad sense, the music of i.o is guitar based. There generally tend to be other instruments with the guitars, which can include bass and drums. One of the first sounds I really hear when this cassette kicks off is this hardcore thrash sound, like Ed Gein or something from Black Market Activities, that sort of early '00's music. There is singing after that which can feel more melodic and just less destructive but for the most part this is instrumental.
The rock music is dictated, primarily, by what the guitars do. Sometimes this is post rock. Sometimes it can be skramz or math rock. Something along the lines of Pinback at times and yet also channeling I Kill Giants at other times. It is difficult to place this with the comparison of another specific band when it is instrumental and yet somehow when there are vocals it seems to be even more difficult. One of the main things you should know about this is that it is guitar heavy in the sense that whatever else is going that seems to be where the focus is most-- the guitar.
I like to cook. I understand why recipes say what they say, but sometimes it still bothers me when the directions tell me to boil water, put the food in, simmer, then bring it back to a boil for five to seven minutes. Why not just put the food in from the start and skip that whole simmering downtime? I know, I know, it has to do with the cooking and if you skipped the simmering if might still cook but just not as well. These songs feel like that to me in some ways-- the explosions (the boiling), the calm (the simmering) and then building back up to it again.
The first time I listened to this cassette I was doing laundry. I went into this corner near the dryers because that way people wouldn't constantly be trying to walk by me and bothering me. But when I went to the corner I had this distinct smell of cigarette smoke in my nose. I thought I didn't want to have my now clean clothes smelling like this, so I moved away to other dryers. About twenty minutes later, this old, white trash woman comes in with a seemingly older and even dirtier man to load their clothes into dryers.
It was the damnedest thing because I smelled smoke again, looked over and she had a lit cigarette hanging out of her mouth. I feel like it's illegal to smoke inside places like that, but even so, why would you want your clean clothes to smell like cigarette smoke? I watched as she literally dropped ashses into her cart, on her wet and supposedly clean clothes, then picked them up and put them into the dryer. What's the point of even cleaning them if that's how you're going to do it?
The worst part of my story is that the old man who works at the laundromat came over at least twice to help with the dryers and he said/did nothing about her smoking inside of his place of work. I wanted to say something to the woman, or to the guy who worked there, but if he knew and didn't care what would it accomplish? It'd only keep me there longer and the longer I was there the longer my clothes were going to start to wreak of cigarette smoke. So I threw my clothes in my bag and high-tailed it out of there.
I wonder now, looking back at that first listen and that whole scenario, was it this music playing, was it this soundtrack that helped to fuel my rage? If I was listening to something else, could I have said more calmly and politely that the laundromat should be a non-smoking environment? I'm not sure. But this music does have that way about it where it just builds until you feel like it's going to boil over and I feel like that helped my mood, to feel as if I'm going to explode.
Though I feel the focus on here should be the guitars because that's what stands out the most, the fact is that there are simply other instruments played just as well, so I wanted to give that nod to the drumming as well. In some ways, I feel like this can break down into an almost free jazz type of feel but if you're a fan of any sort of guitar-based music, really, then this should be the perfect soundtrack for you to hopefully not have a near public meltdown like me but something close I hope.