Monday, January 21, 2019

Music Review //
S. Araw Trio XIII
"Activated Clown"
(NNA Tapes) //

When this begins, there are these sounds of shakers and electronic funk.  It feels like something you would've heard in the 1960's or 1970's, kind of like "Low Rider" but it gets a little bit darker somehow and also has a flute which just makes me think of jazz.    The percussion and everything else within here creates this smooth rhythm that you may have heard before in terms of song structures but I doubt you'd heard instruments such as this creating it.    This has such a unique sound, right from the start, and it just has this undeniable groove.

A back and forth sound can make this feel like a video game, but this is just one of those sounds you won't hear anywhere else so it can't be accurately compared.    As we go through the tool box of things labeled "percussion" that aren't drums (I feel like I'm hearing a lot of triangles in here) there are these sounds which feel like "ow" or little notes that might even be guitar and they just add another layer to this piece.   Notes fall like dialtones as we scale up and down the xylophone.    This becomes quite full of elecrtronic sounds now.   There is just so much happening all at once.

Everything shifts gears and this whistle comes in now which can sound like a bird call, there are some slick guitar notes behind it and it just overall feels like we're somehow in the jungle and a cool buddy cop movie at the same time.    The tone feels somewhat dramatic now and I wonder what would happen if those characters from the Dreamworks film "Madagascar" were somehow tied up in a murder and they were actually cops out to solve it while running down gangs with kingpins and druglords... I might be overthinking this, but I kind of want to see that movie now.

Lone tones come through now.  Somber, soft.    There are these whooshes, maybe scrapes, in the background and the tones feel like an organ, they kind of feel like church.    A sound like a lightsaber quickly slices through and that makes me feel as if we are in space, so I guess you could say this is a somewhat space church sound now.    The organ tones feel like they're going into this deep funk and it gets kind of crazy in that way, as the closer we get to the end of the first track the more it makes you want to get up and dance.   A little bit like that video game sound, squeezing through bit by bit.

The second track begins with more of a holistic vibe.   You can feel like it's new age but a lot of percussion as those blips and beeps fill the angelic sound of what could be a harp but I feel like maybe isn't.    Tones buzz through as birds chirp and this is something you could listen to while in deep meditation.    It feels like we're somewhere with a lot of animals (my mind keeps going back to the zoo or jungle) but it also feels magical so it is difficult to imagine it as such a common place.   Bongos really set the mood as well.

I'm not sure how to describe all of these sounds, but it's best not to think about it.   Just relax, float through on the synth wave and let the music take you to another place.    Eventually, it gets minimal and just sounds like the beeps of a wheel turning.    Some of those whistles come through as well and it begins to slowly build back up.     It feels urgent, like morse code, and yet there also seem to be these tones in here that just drop like drips of water into a sink.

Electronics can lift up and drop now, which kind of makes me think of "Wall-E".    It can also ring through with this trill which makes me think of a ringtone.    Somewhat sharp tones are out now, like error messages when you try and do something on the laptop they won't let you.   Bigger, distorted beats crush through as well.    Sand shifting feels like record scratches and then it all just becomes so cosmic.    The beeping comes through in a somewhat emergency way and then they begin to drop off as the sand is shifted once again.    Claps are also in here now, adding to that overall percussion feel. 

The synths can come out next in a much more magical way, like something from the 1980's or 1990's and they almost have that Cosmic Key sound to them.    I am reminded of "Wall-E" again a little bit.    These notes twist and turn and you can also really hear the bongos.    This is one of those situations of never quite hearing these elements used this way before, which just makes this sound so different in the best way possible.  I will never stop typing about how people need to push the boundaries for change and this is definitely doing that.

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