Archive for the Reviews Category

King Crimson’s Lizard Remastered: Hear It Again For The First Time

Posted in Artists I Like, Music, Reviews on February 4, 2011 by dublab

Recently I was talking to a friend about the joys of listening to an album the whole way through, and I got to thinking about my favorites. So when I got home that day, I went through iTunes, dumped them all in a playlist, and then clicked Play to see if I couldn’t remember why I loved them all so much. During this process, I also ended up downloading some remastered editions just for shits and giggles. And of course, I loaded the whole list on my iPod so I could take it with me.

Now a little bit on my history with Lizard… once upon a time, when I was a wee young boy taking guitar lessons and carefully forging calluses on my fingers, my sage Berklee-trained instructor Waldo Ortiz somehow got the idea that my budding musical intellect would somehow be turned on by… King Crimson records, of all things.  I’m not sure if this had anything to do with his perception of my musical tastes at the time or if it was just him trying to pass on his own love for the quirkyness that is Crimson.  Of course, Casa de los Tapes (“The House of Tapes”) did not stock a single copy, so I special ordered my very own copy of Lizard, based only on the cover art in the catalog.  A week and a half later, I forked over my allowance and ran home with a brand new CD to pop in my boombox. And to make a long story short, I was hooked. Lizard remains my favorite Crimson record to this day.

Fast forward to this morning, when I queued up my freshly downloaded remastered copy and played it in my car on the way to work.

I was blown away. The stereo separation in my car’s stock sound system was SO clear… until today I had never realized how much work and thought went into track panning on this album.  During certain parts of Cirkus and Indoor Games, I felt like Robert Fripp was actually sitting in my passenger seat.  With the drums panned hard left for parts of those songs, minute little details of his guitar lines that have escaped me for years suddenly revealed themselves, and I remembered just why I love this album so much.

So, long-time Crimson fans, find this remastered edition and give it a listen if you’d like to rediscover this underrated classic. And if you’ve never heard of em, now’s the time to start, and there’s no better introduction than this.

Review: Calle 13 – Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo

Posted in Artists I Like, Filesharing, Music, Puerto Rico, Reviews on October 21, 2008 by dublab

Thanks to the inexplicable mess of good and bad that is the Internet, I’ve had the opportunity to illegally sear Calle 13’s new album into my brain for a few days now – not that they’d care (see link to Ruben Blades interview at the end).  It been a pleasant surprise to give the record a thorough listen a few days in advance, so I figured I’d write up my thoughts and share with you.

Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo kicks off with a slightly dramatic storytime sort of narrative telling the story of Residente, who only possesses Rene Perez when an imbecil listens to his music.  I guess it’s like Tinkerbell and clapping or something.  The intro is immediately followed by “Que Lloren” – generally aimed at the commercial reggaeton community, who according to Residente, sells itself for “cheaper than a whore on a highway,” and specifically aimed at Ivy Queen.

The record’s high-energy opening track is immediately followed by “No Hay Nadie Como Tu” featuring Cafe Tacvba – the original hispanic indie band.  As a long-time Cave Tacvba fan (since middle school probably…) I was very happy to hear these two unique acts on the same track.  It suprised me how successfully the track balances the individual sounds of both bands – drum machines and didgeridoos somehow mix very well with Cafe Tacvba’s upstroke-based surf tendencies.  The lyrics seem like nonsense at first, however by the time the first chorus rolls around Residente’s point is clear – this is a celebration of uniqueness, diversity, and life, because there is no one quite like you.

“Gringo Latin Funk” (my favorite track at this point) follows up with Residente’s razor sharp tongue taking aim at that most displeasing Puerto Rican stereotype – the “gringo/gringa wannabe.”  The beat starts up with some baritone sax licks with wah-wah guitar, latin percussion, and a fat synth bassline.  The strings and horns kick in soon after, immediately followed by a dem-bow based drum track that blends real and sampled drums.  Also, Residente gets some help on the chorus from his sister PG-13, who is slowly but surely gaining prominence as a member of the group.  As a musician, when I listen to this track I can’t help but feel envious when I imagine how much fun Visitante, Calle 13’s beat man, must have in the studio.

And so on.  I could continue writing about “La Perla” and the kind of musical maturity that kind of recording shows, or about the sheer electroboogie weirdness of “Electro Movimiento” (which makes me wish I knew how to breakdance).  But I won’t.  What I will do is wrap up with this:  Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo shows true musical growth and accomplishment – something that fans and listeners like me will enjoy.  If you are looking for radio-friendly slices of reggaeton, buy another record.

BONUS: If you speak Spanish and are in the mood for an interesting interview, check out this video of Residente and Visitante from Calle 13 kickin it with salsa icon Ruben Blades over a bottle of wine.

And…

Calle 13 – Gringo Latin Funk

Groundation @ Vinyl with Special Guest Apple Gabriel – 6/29/08

Posted in Artists I Like, Music, Reviews on July 2, 2008 by dublab

Last Saturday I parked at my friend’s Jesus’ apartment in Midtown Atlanta like I do on many a weekend evening. Unlike most weekend evenings, we had big plans… we hung out while the rest of our friends arrived and worked on pre-gaming up until about 9:00 pm, at which point we headed out on foot.

After a short walk we arrived at the CW Midtown complex / Center Stage / whatever the hell it is called now, and immediately went in the wrong door. FYI, the door to the left is Vinylnot the glass door. I figured out we had made a mistake as soon as I heard crooning and saw flyers for Anthony Jaymes or someone with a similar name.

So we walked around to the other door, paid, and sat down at the bar… more after the jump.

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