Friday, November 26, 2010
Review: 35007 - Liquid (2002, Stickman)
Originating from Eindhoven in Holland, Space-rockers, 35007 (or Loose in reverse and upside down), started out with a vocalist in the lineup on their first album in 1994 but have since then proceeded as an instrumental lineup playing psych/space/stoner rock. This is my favourite release of theirs, Liquid, from 2002.
Review after the Jump.
A voyage in space.
The cover art depicts quite well the spirit of the music and the content of this album. Floating in space – the more calm parts; getting caught in a force field or “solar storm” - portrayed by the powerful and heavy riffs.
Tsunami starts with ethereal sounds, emanating separately and then merging into each other slowly, within a spacey atmosphere that justifies their space rock tag. You feel as if you are drifting somewhere obscure surrounded by blackness, without any possibility to look beyond and then when the guitars emerge you gain sight ability and can “see” the sounds. And when the guitars unleash, you feel the heavy and slow Tsunami riffing, hitting your shores with the power spilling and splashing all over with the drums giving the energy to keep going. The sound here borrows from what is often referred to as post-metal as well as from spacey sounding rock and also some post-rock characteristics. Towards the end (around 8:50) it seems to fade out, but then it EXPLODES again, full blown raw energy of electric guitars until the end. This experience must be heard in the dark and alone for the full effect to take place.
Crystalline starts from the remnants of the Tsunami with the same tempo but a somewhat lighter spirit due to the guitar semi-acoustic sound which now flows in the front and the rear of the speaker as if strolling around the music, making sure it stays in frame. A hard task, as the heavy riffs and powerful drums seem too hard to contain and keep calm. But then they seem to unite their efforts and go together with a more dynamic going part and the full electric guitars take over. Here again we get the same “trick” of a seemingly ending track, and the blasting as was in Tsunami.
Evaporate seems to continue Crystalline but adds noticeable keyboards and bass work. There is an interplay between the bass-keyboards dominated part and that of the heavy guitar riffs part. Here the repetitiveness is more obvious as the cycle mentioned repeats itself several times, but is not tiresome and always keeps the dynamics moving.
Voyage Automatique goes on in a more psychedelic state of mind (with guitars making noises) and bears some of the sounds of previous tracks and by that keeps the flow. At the end we go back to the sounds that started the album, thereby closing full circle. If you get Phase V, you will notice it will start with the same noises this album ends with.
The journey 35007 guide us through is one great experience that can be heard as a background music, but then you would miss the whole point. In order to extract the full potential of this record, one must be fully devoted to it, and follow the streams, the highs and lows through which the music takes us. You will then feel and “see” what it is that is mesmerizing in this album. This album sounds like one long piece with 4 smaller parts, which is due to the great sense of flow that is achieved by similar sounds, tempos and atmospheres that are to be found on the different tracks.
One criticism is that I find that it could have used perhaps more instrumentation (maybe saxes or trumpets) and a but more diversity, but overall this is one ride I keep coming to and don’t forget.
This album should appeal to fans of spacey rock, post metal (Pelican for instance) and post rock (meaning the
Now comes the part I dislike – the star rating. This is too arbitrary and soulless but for the sake of PA ranking it has to be done. In terms of stars, I would give it a near 4 stars (3.6-3.8). A 3 star rating seems too low and inappropriate to this, and so I think a 4 star would be a suitable rating as it reflects my enthusiasm with this album, and the great satisfaction and sense of relief I draw from listening to it. Not a statement I can say about any album. So I can see this being an essential album in this aspect.
To give you another idea of how this sounds, I would like to quote a sentence about their later album Phase V from the bands Myspace website.
“With the digit 5 hovering predominantly, the album is about numbers and sounds. No words, no images. The new album has already been nicknamed "songs for the blind", appropriately "visualized" by the minimal and sensuous artwork. Without the benefit of vision, the ears seem to work much better.”
4. Voyage Automatique