Sunday, December 29, 2013

Semi-Finals #2: Discipline Vs. In The Court of The Crimson King

After submitting my last article an observant reader made this comment:
"Red is emotional in a more direct way, the lyrics are clear and the vocals up front. His voice on Larks sounds distant and pretty meek. I could sing you most of Reds lyrics and none from Larks except for the "Ea-syyy Mo-neyyyy".
The mixing sets Red apart too, I guess."

While I could recall the majority of Easy Money's  lyrics I think the reader made a spot on observation about how Lark's Tongue in Aspic was mixed compared to Red.  It just goes to show how important mix can be in creating a great album, and how the mix of an album can reflect the emotion and feeling of an album.

These are two different concepts.  A bad mix is just a poor balance of sounds, either due to a lack of know-how or budget restraints.  A poorly thought out mix is different, as the mix can be reflective of the mood of an album.  Sometimes a rough mix better reflects the feel of the music, and sometimes it benefits from a clean sounding mix with everything being truly distinguished.  While the later concept is purely subjective you sometimes get the feeling the musician or producer either gave the mixing stage a big 'ol "aw fuck it" or had a far different idea for their music than the listener did.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Saturday Night Hype Masters 12-28-2013 (Noisia)

Alright, y''s time for another 5 hit combo of hype shit to get you ready to take on yet another Saturday Night! This time, your fuel for the fire is none other than Noisia! Jacks of all trades, they can handle multiple genres and still get the groove goin'! Even got some music in a couple games, too! Check 'em out in the later entries in the "Wipeout" racing game series, and their original music score for the Devil May Cry reboot! So get to listenin' and I'll see you all next week AND next year!

-Kenny Riot-

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Tournament for the Court of the Crimson King Semi-Finals: Lark's Tongue in Aspic v Red

So just to get everyone back to speed I have revised the bracket.   Because of my terrible art skills it still looks modestly like garbage, but this is the tier of quality equated with Riff 'N Ralk Music Tock
Before we begin with our semi finals I wanted to share a quote from someone who has been reading this feature since I started it in September (thanks!)
"While I disagreed with a couple of the first round results, I like your final four and based on that bracket setup mine would've ended up the same. "

I think that this is a sentiment that could be shared across most Crimson fans.  While I know some would disagree with my first round choices I think we have the best four albums here at the end.  Each showcases Crimson at its peak in for one reason.
In The Court Of The Crimson King for its quintessential progressive rock nature.
Lark's Tongue in Aspic for its encapsulation of their improvisational nature
Red for being the final evolution of the British progressive invasion
Discipline for showing that progressive means more than 15 minute songs about fighting dragons

Let us begin the finale
File:Larks tongues in aspic album cover.jpg  VS File:Red, King Crimson.jpg

Monday, December 23, 2013

I Hate Christmas Music – Except for Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart

It's that time of year again where Christmas music is inescapable. If you've put on Sunny 99.1 lately you won't be hearing the tuneful melodies of soft rock icons like Phil Collins or Michael Bolton. Instead, you'll be hearing the wretched tones of “You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!” or “Baby, It's Cold Outside.”

That's right. Wretched tones. I'm calling Christmas music out because frankly it sucks. I'm not convinced a legitimately great, or really even good, Christmas song has ever been written, and I grow more sure of this every insufferable year.

There is, however, one man who managed to inject enough whimsy, enough wackiness, and enough self-effacing ridiculousness into Christmas music to make it bearable: Bob Dylan, whose own Christmas in the Heart should set the tone for any and all Christmas music written in the future.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Night Hype Masters 12-21-2013 (Original Sin)

A'ight, y'all! Kenny Riot is back again with a brand new fiver for y'all, tonight! This time, we're gonna skank to the fine musical stylings of Original Sin. He's got a wonderful energetic style that has mostly fueled the "Jump Up" style of Drum & Bass, but he's also done work in the Dubstep and Drumstep genres, and doesn't slack even so much as a little, there. So, tonight, get yourself hyped up with this playlist before you go off doin' whatever it is you're gonna be doin' tonight! Catch you next week!

-Kenny Riot-

Monday, December 16, 2013

Round 2 Finale: Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With vs Lark's Tongue in Aspic

A commenter made a valid point the other day about this whole project stating that comparing some of these albums is like comparing two different bands.  He was absolutely right in his statement, that in essence every time King Crimson reforms it is almost as if a new band is there, that is the essence of the group.  With that said I still find it appropriate to create these comparisons, despite the huge differences there are many similarities as well.  Fripp has the tendency to write Crimson material is specific ways.  Not only that, but it is still quite feasible to explore the quality of execution of each album.  Some of that is interpretation on my behalf, but in essence all art journalism is (is this journalism?).


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Night Hype Masters 12-14-2013 (Gridlok)

'Sup, y'all? So, a while back, Alex asked me if I'd be interested in doin' some shit for Riff 'n Ralk Music Tock, and I agreed, but I racked my brain for a while to figure out WHAT to do, exactly. So, Startin' today, I'm gonna set up 5 track playlists focusing on artists and producers I think are dope as hell and that you should try out. For this first entry, we're gonna go with one of my personal favorites, Gridlok. Get ready for some deep ass Drum & Bass to get you hyped up for Saturday Night! So get to listenin' and enjoy this first installment of "Saturday Night Hype Masters"!

 -Kenny Riot-

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ryan reviews Arcade Fire's Reflektor

What happens when you reach the top in music, when you are globally hailed as being the best in the music industry? The Beatles broke up and went their separate ways. Kanye went nuts. Elvis became a drug addict. The Arcade Fire, after winning the Grammy for Album of the Year, made a dance album.

Reflekt this, haters!
Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album, Reflektor carries on the band’s tradition of having very catchy songs while capturing the sound of a fledgling indie band. It is amazing that they have maintained their sound after winning such an esteemed award (of which a bunch of terrible albums have been nominated/won ie: Babel). Not only that, but Reflektor is a double album. Songs such as “Normal Person” and “Joan of Arc” really make evident that creatively the Fire are still at the top of their game. This album, however, blends the past with a very dark present; adding in a lot of electronic elements and macabre lyrics to dampen the mood throughout. The song “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” being the most evident example of this darkening tone(perhaps maturing?).
What did I mean when they made a dance album, however? In Reflektor, they released quite a few songs with deep dance influences. Songs such as “Here Comes the Night Time” and “Afterlife” draw heavily from different dance genres. The former sounding more like an M.I.A. song and the latter like an early 80’s pop song (ala the Go-Go’s). The sound is mostly captured by the drums, bass and upwards of three keyboards/synths, giving the relatively dark lyrics a peppy feels. Every time I listen to those two songs I instantly think of being at a small, hidden bar in Milwaukee.
There were a couple of parts of this album that I didn’t particularly enjoy. The first being that this double album only had thirteen total songs. The final song “Supersymmetry” being mostly ambient filler. They easily could have shaved it down to a single album(or added more content!). I was also not a huge fan of the song “Flashbulb Eyes,” it tries a little too hard to emulate dub reggae, my least favorite genre. Other than those few criticisms I think overall the album is good, not Album of the Year good, but I don’t think many albums are.
My favorite song on the album is the titular “Reflektor”. It’s catchy beat is that of mid-seventies disco, complete with a range of percussion instruments sprinkled about. Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, this single sets the tone for the following songs very well. Of course, the best part is when David Bowie makes a very surprising contribution. A double album collaboration with Bowie and The ‘Fire sounds like just what the ailing world needs, but sadly David Bowie was only on the one track, maybe next year. The album is still a success nonetheless.

Key Tracks: “Reflektor”, “You Already Know”, “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)”

Final Say: B+

Episode 16

Episode 16!
Riff 'n Ralk Music Tock finally can reveal their unedited episode 16! We tackle Miley Cyrus Gary Numan Official and Panic! At The Disco. My best creative efforts can be heard around the 33:45 mark.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Round 2: Beat v Red

I had a brief moment where I felt I was hitting my wall with this whole affair.  Writing about one band for so long would lead to you getting burnt out it seems.  I hit my second stride this weekend as I enjoyed a King Crimson show from 1971, their genuinely dysfunctional years.  Despite the band being a complete mess it was shocking to hear how many great ideas were had that would never surface again.  The use of effects on the drum kit was a big one, as the drum solo in Groon turned from a classic 70's thrashing to a phaser induced seizure.  Another highlight would have to be their mocking blues-oriented rendition of In The Court Of The Crimson King, a tongue in cheek jab at the shouting demands of the rowdy Detroit audience.  Robert Fripp has done something incredible with his DGM catalog that more bands should mimic.  Although I find his prices for his shows a bit steep ($10 for a digital  live album), his desire to share with his fans as many live recordings as possible is a genuine testament to his love for his them.  Some may say otherwise, considering his affinity for playing in the shadows and demanding no photography be taken to the point of walking off stage if he sees any.  A strange man indeed, one that would warrant his own article, but perhaps I have enough on my plate as is.