Gus Reviews :: QPA – Meta Dawn album.

Meta Dawn CD Disc LabelMusic Review – Meta Dawn –
extracted from article by Angus Maiden

Qubenzis Psy Audio or QPA for short, with his latest album "Meta Dawn" is a di.fm sort of listening experience. As linear and one-dimensional as it is, it nevertheless stirs something deep within me.

The preamble to the album is that of aliens broadcasting messages from the depths of space, of cosmic music born from the ether of a timeless, tribal "Worship Of The Vibe", as I like to (since just now) call it.

A theme often found in psy-trance is that of two seemingly opposing concepts: Aliens and Earth. It’s either about reverence for The Mother or acknowledgment of Extraterrestrial Intelligence already embedded in our culture through music and dance.

Read the rest of the article here

Or go directly to Meta Dawn album page

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  • Last Nights Vice - The Perfect Little Noise - This album is like a joint made only with tobacco with a small patch of weed in the middle. Such little of the good stuff stuff that it's easily completely overlooked, perhaps mistaken for a simple cigarette and stubbed out, and certainly not bringing the high to the party. Sure there's one guy who got that hit and is zoning out but that's it - and that one hit, to also elude to the word's other meaning, is track 11, "At Sunset She Strips". This has the potential to climb many a chart with its rockout-ness. Yet the rest of the songs are pure fodder. When Brandon Flowers sung "It's Indie Rock and Roll for me", I don't think he meant this sort of music. I hope he didn't. Naff, unoriginal, derivative, melodically detached, yet superbly produced.

    I cringe to have written that last sentence for they seem like really really nice guys, and I want so much to like their music, but it's hard to like. I applaud their enthusiasm and honest hearts, though. Not only are they actively involved in many charity events, but they strive to be the best that they can and their music is truly about pleasing the fans. Unfortunately the fans that migrate to this sort of music tend to care more about things like haircuts and guitar stances than tension and resolution in chord changes. This is their profile picture on Last.FM:



    Hmmm… To quote from their bio, "The guys pride themselves on their do-it-yourself mentality, taking charge of their own recordings, websites, videos, promotions and show-bookings", and from a sound-engineer's point of view I couldn't commend them more for the quality of their recordings. The whole thing is a professional package from the polished sound to the pimped-out homepage and attention to hairstyles, yet unfortunately when you open the box it is mostly styrofoam.

    If they release "At Sunset She Strips" as a single they're bound to lure some fans in, and for a rock band brimming with enthusiasm and positive vibes they sound like a live show would be a fun night out. No memorable experience to cherish forever, any more than a listening of the album is, yet they ooze a confidence and energy that would translate well to live shows. This energy shows in the recordings where songwriting skill doesn't, and earns the boys 5 stars for effort.

    To the guys from Last Nights Vice: don't let any crappy reviewer's words sway you from your course, you're doing good things and you've just started. There's plenty of room for growth here and I look forward to more engaging releases in the future.

    Album available to listen to at the band's website, with "The Perfect Little Noise" set to release on iTunes and other such stores on 31st August.

    5 stars because the effort speaks reams more than the music. Rock on.
  • Wormrot - Abuse - I am 16 again. I'm angry, the world hates me, and Wormrot are the only guys that sound like I feel. Their flesh-eating riffs and eviscerating drums relentlessly pounding my ear-drums are the only thing I look forward to after a day at school of being teased and enduring painfully long classes. No one understands me, yet these razor sharp guitars, these guttural screams of desperate insanity, are the only thing I can connect with. It is the only thing that has meaning.

    Fast forward 8 years and I'm a competent reviewer who's been given a release to listen to. Although young I am past my days of anger and despair, and look at the world optimistically. For 24 year-old Angus Maiden, Wormrot's latest release, in all its rage and fury, is just damn fun to listen to.

    With songs averaging 50 seconds long, these dudes from Singapore take a less-is-more approach to songwriting, decimating the concept of structure in favour of gunning down your ear lobes. The longest song on this 21-minute album is 2 minutes 15 seconds. The shortest: 15 seconds. Yet balancing this less-is-more approach to the actual form of the song, is a definitively abrasive more-is-more stance on what that song should sound like. More power, more brutality, heavier guitars, more more more death and destruction.

    When I first heard this album I immediately posted “Grindcore: where have you been all my puberty?” on Facebook. So admittedly I'm new to the genre. I'm ashamed to admit I only just got into Cannibal Corpse recently, and haven't heard much else of the genre. The bands label, Earache Records, blurb about Wormrot that “The new rulers of the genre display a jaw-dropping mastery of the dynamics and art of blasting which will literally shock even the most seasoned of grindcore veterans.” and for this I'm gonna have to be a bit negative. It's the reason I started my post with a flashback, and the reason for the sarcastic Facebook post about puberty; for a teenager this sort of music is literally shocking, and does mean everything in the world, but I am not even “a seasoned grindcore veteran” and I find nothing “shocking” about this release. To most of the people reading this blog, grindcore is simply fun fast and furious music to put on to wake up to or when gearing up for a night out; nervertheless, Wormrot's latest album “Abuse” is a fine example of it. Three and a a half stars.

    Out April 5th through Earache Records.
  • emorej - General Electronica - This album is kindly available from the illustrious emorej as, to quote directly from Bandcamp, a "Pay what you want or download for FREE. your choice" download.

    I decided this album was worth exactly 7 dollars and 77 cents. It's not just because it's great music that I decided to pay a higher price than what I normally would for pay-as-you-wish downloads (in fact most of the time I accept the "free" option), but also that the mystical, often haunting sounds I heard whilst listening on the player aligned my aural mechanics with the movements of the planets, or something, and made me decide that three lucky 7's were the go.

    It's kind of hard to put into words, but before you listen to emorej's stuff, and afterwards, you are a different person. I am currently the sort of person that imagines giving him $7.77 for the privilege of owning his album will have some profound and positive karmic resonances with the man behind the music and, like a butterfly flapping its wings in The Amazon, will ripple its way through the cosmos to create peace and harmony on Romulus. Or something.

    Like I say, it's hard to put into words, but from the first note I heard of this guy I just thought "Fuck yea, this is what music is." He is unmistakably a genius, and I am hardly surprised that this album, "General Electronica", so humbly named yet gloriously sculpted, amazes me at every turn. I now own all of the albums he has put on Bandcamp and am damn proud to have them in my music collection, not only standing next to, but shining brighter than, more everyday names like Infected Mushroom and Boards of Canada.

    The electronic flavourings of emorej are somewhere between the extremes of mind-bending psytrance eg. the above mentioned Infected Mushroom, and chilled vibes from those Canadian Board Guys, yet it is distinctly original. It is so, so, so easy for "electronica" to sound unoriginal, detached, and, well, like it was made on a computer. Yet in every emorej album I have heard so far I feel nothing but original, complex, scintillating, organic, evolving, and completely enveloping music that deserves a better tag than "electronica".

    So, I am hereby labeling it, despite all my disdain for tags and out of a necessity for succinct descriptions, especially since I just joined Twitter: "Fantasgamazinga".

    If you want to hear these Fantasgamazing sounds simply head on over to The album's page on Bandcamp and grab your FREE copy, or whatever price you put on it.

    For me it's "Seven Dollars And Seventy-Seven Cents For A Five Star Album That Stimulates The Senses"

    emorejemorejemorejemorejemorejemorejemorej!
  • The Aether Tree - The Children's War - I have put off reviewing this album for a long time, because there is so much I want to say about it, yet so little at the same time; more than anything I want you to merely listen to it. For this guy pours his heart and soul into his music; but rather than sieving it, kneading it and cookie-cutting it into a perfectly produced popcrap album, it spills over the edges, it gets smudged with dirt, its raw emotion shows through like bone in a deep wound. And this is exactly what makes it so beautiful. An artist’s toil is the pursuit of a perfection that can never be attained, and nothing is more admirable in a work of art like this album than what I call “beautiful imperfection”. His voice is rough and out of tune, his timing is off, the lyrical themes are disjointed and the guitar and piano playing is sloppy. But I beg of you, do not take this as a bad thing, for beneath the unpolished surface is a core that shimmers like a sapphire. The lyrics are absolutely gorgeous because they’re disjointed, the guitar is loose and freewheeling as the piano is whimsical and expressive because they’re sloppy; and his voice, oh his voice - such bittersweet poignancy will never grace the lips of any commercial singer - beauty in imperfection. On top of this there are glimpses of elements like soothing pads, saxophone, and found-sounds, plus a killer rhythm section, that all work together to produce something truly unique and beautiful. I hold this album very close to my heart, something about it touched me and moved me in a very deep way, and all I can say is “Listen”. Listen.

    The Aether Tree has a cosy little homepage.
  • Nezumi - The principle of relative constancy in metamorphoses - The true meaning of ambient is not “elevator music”, which unfortunately it has come to mean, and even more unfortunately is what a lot of its purveyors continue to flavour their music as. The dictionary definition, from dictionary.com, is:

    ambient

    [am-bee-uh nt]

    –adjective

    1. of the surrounding area or environment.
    2. completely surrounding; encompassing.

    This music envelopes you. If you close your eyes it takes you to another place, a place fabricated from the tonality and texture of the pieces, that are “of the surrounding area or environment”. Yet it is a surreal environment, a place that doesn’t exist in the “normal world”. This is true ambience, yet there are no chirping birds or wind through bamboo to be found here. The music takes your hand, quite gently at first, and leads you to a door to another plane. If you resist it grabs you more firmly and pushes you through.

    Haunting, disquieting, the ghost-like atmosphere of this compelling album is made up from a variety of only vaguely familiar sounds, like the dropping of water in a deep cavern, yet not quite. Like two discordant notes played on a sitar, yet not quite. And the whole time, there is an emptiness that conveys vast reaches of uninhabited space. Merely the Universal Hum of something borne of chaos. With swirling dynamics and disparate textures this powerful album comes at you from all sides. It is often quite scary, feeling as if everything is closing in on you, yet that is part of its magick.

    Nezumi is a lover of the metaphysical, the mystical and the unknown. His attempt at creating soundscapes that depict the multitude of parallel universes and dimensions, so far away from normality yet always deep within our souls, is realised quite incredibly on his latest album.

    When I first listened to a release of his in late ’07, it sounded like a kid toying with midi for the first time. Although I could tell there was so much he wanted to convey, the instrumentality was primitive and thus did not do his imagery justice. A few years and two releases later (that I’ve heard, there are more), I’m amazed at how he has progressed as an artist.

    This music is truly the definition of ambient, “completely surrounding; encompassing”. And of course, I wouldn’t be raving about it so much if it weren’t my favourite sort of music: Dark. Very, very Dark.

    Set to release in early 2010, this album is now available as a pre-release from sendspace.

    (that link will expire so get it quick)

    The Ambience has spoken, and it demands you take a trip through another dimension...

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/j7nbif

    Nezumi's artist page at LastFM
  • Corrientes - Breathe/Respira - I was in a chatroom with Ivette Torres aka. EV, singer, multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer of Corrientes fame - the chat room is part of a weekly show called Neon Beatz where you can listen to a stream of independent music and chat to the listeners, who are often artists themselves - a song of theirs came on and someone said that EV had a "smiley voice". I think this is the perfect way to describe her voice. It is just so unbelievably uplifting, fun and beaming.

    EV sings in both Spanish and English, and this latest album is a lot more Spanish-orientated, which seems to lend itself naturally to "smiley voices". The syllables roll off her tongue like crystal clear water in a fountain, exuberant and bubbly, accompanied for the first time (on a recording) by a full live band. I understand they went through a few drummers before settling on the current one, and he’s a good choice - a cowbell here and there, just the right amount of hi-hat and snare, very jazzy and upbeat - altogether very suited to the whole "Latin feel" of the band. Also a first for a recorded album of this amazing New York City band is electric lead guitar, playing Santana-esque lines sporadically yet appropriately. The whole feel of this album is of delicacy and subtlety. The bass sits low in the mix yet moves around, you can forget it’s there if you stop listening to it yet it is the cornerstone of the chord progressions, strummed on a bright guitar by the lovely EV herself.

    Mixing a project like this is a hard task: lots of drum mic-ing and many different frequencies competing for space. Yet in the hands of EV, who has mixed and produced all of Corrientes’ albums at her home studio, it sounds absolutely mint.

    There have always been two aspects to Corrientes: their live performances, featuring less instrumentation and more intimate, acoustic sort of stuff, and their studio albums which have often involved a hefty electronic element to it. Breathe/Respira manages to combine the crystal clarity of professional digital mixing with that intimate live feel to produce a very pleasant album. I had never heard much Spanish/Latin music until I heard Corrientes, and was immediately delighted. It’s unfamiliar territory for an Australian but I understand it’s quite prevalent in America. Whether you’re a newcomer to the soulful upbeat sounds of Latin American music or are sick to death of hearing it, I would recommend this album either way. It’s top notch, refreshing and joyous.

    I can be quoted regarding Corrientes’ January ’09 album "Underlying Truth" that "I don’t need to hear anything else in 2009 to say that this is the best album of the year." And it still holds true. There are no electronics in Breathe/Respira and it’s something that seems missing, making "Underlying Truth", complete with luscious synthy elements, a better album in my opinion (full review of that one coming up); but it’s a new approach for the band, they’ve found members that they like and are sticking with, that form a cohesive "live entity", and it is also the first time that they’ve decided to branch out and sell their music.

    For a band that has consistently delivered professional, excellently produced, highly creative, and inspiring material for free, they deserve a quick visit to the online store for this album.

    EV has also provided some more tasty information regarding the mixing of the album, as well as lyrics:

    You can see the info about the recording here.

    Lyrics here.

    And you can listen to EV speaking about the recording on Mixposure’s Center Stage Presentation here.

    Smiley music to make you smile. Get it.
  • Dear Noel - Party Fouls / Hope You Get To Heaven Before The Devil Knows You're Dead - Dear Noel are technically proficient and professionally tight, they have a good grasp of songwriting, hooks, and rhythm, and both EPs have top-notch production.

    So why does it suck?

    Quite simply, these guys are playing in the wrong key. The tonality and action of their guitars are aligned for heavy metal, as is the drumming with its heavy kick drum and outstanding fills. All is aligned for neck-snapping flat-fifths and dark, minor chords. Yet they're playing this major key happy pop stuff. With heavy palm-muted guitars. !? It is just completely incongruous. And ugly, totally ugly, devoid of life or passion, and impossible to like.

    The engineer of these albums is the only one with any vision, utilising fantastic production techniques that make these packages radio friendly for sure, but the stations that play this kind of stuff, wellvomitpukeergh oh excuse me.

    You get the idea. Guys, if you're reading this: STOP with the happy pop crap and do a complete 180 into the heavy metal you were born to play, even if it means firing your current songwriter, for this incarnation of Dear Noel is a dead end.

    I have nothing more to say.

    Both EPs "Party Fouls" and "Hope You Get To Heaven Before The Devil Knows You're Dead" are available from Simple Stereo, if you want to listen to some really, really naff music.
  • Pendulum - Immersion - It's extremely hard to listen to Immersion and not compare it to Pendulum's epic Hold Your Colour, the world's best selling Drum n Bass album of all time. Not because long-time fans and newcomers alike were dying to hear how Pendulum have developed their sound in 2010, but because the similarities between the two are manifold.

    I had to listen to this album about 5 times before I really got into it, and after that I couldn't stop listening to it. The similarities abound, from an intro that has almost the exact same feel to their debut's, to an opening track that could very well be a remix / combination of Slam and Fasten Your Seatbelt, easily the two best tracks on Pendulum's 2005 album – everything from the tone of the lead synth to the key structure and breakdown immediately scream these two tracks at you. But as you progress further into the album it is exactly this aspect of the music – basically lifting things from Colour and updating them - that makes this release so tantalisingly good.

    5 years have passed between the two albums, and what that has done is basically turn Immersion into a re-imagining of Hold Your Colour, as if the boys from Perth simply pushed their first album out of their minds completely and, in laying down some new tracks completely ignored any notion that they may be re-hashing old material. The album stands tall and proud as a poetic statement as if it were Pendulum's first unveiling upon the world. This gives it a very fresh, exciting and “shiny new” feel. This time 'round, armed with a noticeably more powerful arsenal of breaks and grooves, the re-imagining ends up being rock solid by simply taking what has been done before and improving on it.

    This is what a large part of music is all about. Without Howlin' Wolf there would be no Rolling Stones, and without With The Beatles there would be no Abbey Road. Emulation and building on solid foundations are what make great albums great, and this album is great. Cliched loops, overuse of the amen break and floating vocals were all there on Pendulum's first album; Immersion merely extrapolates these, adding a few flairs like Dubstep and Tech-House ramblings to the familiar bass-lines, synth melodies and drums that are unmistakably “The Sound Of Pendulum”, whilst constantly keeping you intensely engaged with intriguing side-steps, breakdowns and sharp corners.

    Simply put, Hold Your Colour is a 5 star, outstanding album, but if I were on a desert island and had to choose between it and Immersion, it would be the latter without question.

    Available from CD stores, iTunes, etc. through Warner.
  • Building Rome - Nightmare - The first track off this album immediately soars to my top 20 tracks of all time. Epic in scope and majestic in realisation, it's flat out a hit. Perfect production, absolutely flawless execution of riffs, vocals and rhythms, a politically driven message, and an absolutely outstanding breakdown makes you want to play it over and over again. It's spine-tingling stuff.

    Unfortunately the whole album, whilst passionately created and something I myself would be extremely proud of, doesn't hold the same power as the opening track. There is a sense of commercialism about this album that just doesn't quite click with me, but, for woe, will with the masses.

    It feels that they followed a formula. Heavy rock track followed by upbeat pop track followed by ballad, have a bowl of cornflakes and repeat. The lyrics could be produced by a computer that had listened to lots of Britney. The riffs are extremely catchy, they know exactly what they're doing but sorry guys, it's just a bit naff. There is nothing spontaneous, raw or exciting about this album.

    Except the first track!

    It's almost as if they wrote and recorded that track and thought "Holy shit this is amazing, let's quickly write some more stuff and get it recorded and sell an album!"

    But perhaps part of me is just jealous of the absolute precision with which these guys have velcroed together their target audience and their music. This will be a popular album and it will make them lots of money, and hey good on 'em because a lot of time and effort has gone into this and it really shows. But at the same time it's sad, because it makes me realise we're still in the era of boy bands and girl power pop, except in the approaching new decade it's clear that "Indie Rock" has taken the reigns from the RnB and Pop guys.

    This is future of commercial music, and it's pretty banal.

    Except the first track!

    !

    !!

    So... have a listen and buy the tunes for a very reasonable price at iTunes or by going to buildingrome.bigcartel.com

    If you're a fan of "Story of the Year" / "Fallout Boy" sort of stuff you'll love the whole album, and if you think like me you'll cringe. But seriously, that first song: wow. Alone in it's incandescent brilliance it outweighs the naffness of the rest of the album. For that I doff my hat to Building Rome, who have shiny roads of success ahead of them. Well done guys.

    -Building Rome's MySpace-.
    -Their Website-
  • Red Friday - Nothing Is Free - I get very excited about great music, and often my reviews are hyperactively praising, but this time there’s really just not enough I can say to justify this album. I am blown away. I wish I could go back in time and tone down the enthusiasm of some of my earlier reviews to give this album the relative standing it deserves. VAST’s self-titled album was amazing. “Nothing Shocking” by Jane’s Addiction was more amazing. “Mer de Noms” by A Perfect Circle: exquisite. But holy fuck, Red Friday’s debut release, “Nothing Is Free”, is better than all three combined.

    Those three names came to mind as I listened again, and again, and again; not just comparing the production values and composition of this jewel to those classic albums, but also because of what the sonic scope incorporates: warm yet heavy guitars, a voice that expresses, soothes and provokes; that is raw yet clean - segueing easily between different styles - carrying lyrics of hefty weight and emotion whilst still somehow retaining a hauntingly cold distance; drums that punch straight through the mix and combine with a positively droolifying bass to get that spinal action happening; and the light, albeit perfect amount of, electronic elements.

    It’s a special sort of sound that a lot of bands aim for and miss, and that a rare few like the ones I’ve mentioned nail, yet at 25 minutes long, this 8 track album manages to compress all those juicy elements into the sweetest fruit possible. All killer, no filler, engaging for every single second, superbly produced, and an album you simply cannot live without. So it’s a good thing this album can be downloaded in its entirety from their website (free), for without it life would just be… less.

    www.redfridayband.com
    Red Army (Red Friday's fan site)
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