I would like to start this post with an apology:
I know that I have been doing a fair number of album reviews, but they are fun and easy to put together! That, and I hope that someone somewhere is taking the time to actually look into some of the albums I highlight. Art is important, and music is my heroin. Some people find peace in things, quiet, reading, playing music, video games, building computers…
…I find my peace in listening to music. I get too involved in the industry side when I am in a band, and I forget sometimes to just enjoy the realm that I am in. So, that is why I write these. Not only do I get to listen to some of my favourite albums, but recommend them to someone, ANYONE, who has never listened to them before.
NOW THAT I HAVE SAID I’M SORRY, this album is the start of something amazing. 65daysofstatic was my introduction to the world of instrumental music beyond the occasional track. They are not the only ones I listen to now, but they are still in a minority for me. Even bands like ‘Do, Make, Say, Think’ delve into vocals now and then. If you ignore the bands that are rock based, there are very few who have no vocals what-so-ever.
Why do I recommend them over the other bands doing the same thing? They keep things interesting with surprising dynamics, frantic drum machines, and some of the best musicianship I have ever heard.
Mogwai is in the category: bands with no vocals. Mogwai never appealed to me because I felt either over or underwhelmed at all times. Maybe it was just the album I listened to, but every song had one volume for the entire piece. 65daysofstatic, meanwhile, keep things engaging. For a fantastic (yet extreme) example, look at the title song “The Fall Of Math.” This song goes from literal classical to ear piercing intensity in moments. The best part is how it NEVER stays in one decibel for too long.
I am not a fan of drum machines, usually. I find they are used as a crutch at times, or far too often at others. 65daysofstatic use them as another instrument. I can almost hear the eye rolls, but hear me out! By using them as an instrument, I am implying that often drum machines are used to fill out or are used instead of percussion. 65daysofstatic use drum machines to create a kind of soundscape that their music is based around. This, in conjunction with acoustic drums, creates an industrial sound reminiscent of ’80s bands like Throbbing Gristle or early Nine Inch Nails, where the percussion is used to create atmosphere and emotion. The song “Retreat! Retreat!” comes to mind because it is by far the most organic drum-wise on the whole album. There is still the use of a drum machine, but it is used almost exclusively to create a mood. They explore this palette more on later albums, but this album demonstrates exactly what they are going to be growing into in the coming years.
I will admit: this is not my favourite album by this band. It is VERY good, and the aforementioned “Retreat! Retreat!” stands as one of my favourite songs of all time. They still use swells and white-noise on this album to great effect. The intro is a prime example of what I am getting at. In fact, the first three songs are the best introduction to a band I have found. The album opens with sound clips and static chopped into a grinding beat, the second song had beautiful piano and guitar swells, then a driving bass comes in like an omen of what is coming. Then, it doesn’t. For the first 4 minutes of the album, there is no hint of the absolute beast that is about to be unleashed onto the world.
It is very tempting to do a play-by-play of the album. The emotional peaks and valleys hit in each passing bar is noteworthy and poignant. I could actually see someone forgetting there are no vocals, if only because there are so many other things to listen to.
Oh, if you’re looking for something to hurt every part of the musician in you, try to count “I Swallowed Hard, Like I Understood” without listening to much more than the first minute.