01 March 2005

Frances The Mute~!


Hey, so it's been a while since that last post. And I never even got it finished. Ah well...

To add to what little content is here, I shall post some musings I penned upon hearing the latest Mars Volta album for the first time. It was last Tuesday, and it goes... a little something... like this:

"Okay, so the new album by The Mars Volta arrived today. I had time to listen to it once, and was impressed. Anyway, this is what I thought...

Initially, I was taken aback by the fact it seemed to be SuperTMV; their usual stuff, but ramped up to the next level. Conversely, it seemed also to be something of a self-parody. On the plus side, it seemed like a gauntlet had well and truly been thrown down to Tool, in terms of uber-complex proggyness.

The strange thing is, it was all very complex and exciting, but I seemed to zone out a tad. This certainly was not helped by the random noisage that populated their debut being stretched out to fill minutes and minutes.

But I liked it, and had the feeling that this was certainly an album that would grow on me.

Second song came and went. Good though this album is, it didn't really stick in my mind; but I'll elaborate on that later in this post. I remember the third song being good. Finally brought the uber-emotional enthusiasm I was hankering for, and that I loved so much about Deloused In The Comatorium. Well, that's when the song finally kicked in after 5 minutes or so...

I also liked the fourth song. Nice, latin, feel to it. At points it sounded like a very good version of that bloody Santana song with Matchbox20 fool singing it. But en Espanol, and a lot more convoluted. Reminded me - as the debut did - of Shakira, too. I love the singing on these albums. But while it was technically all well and good, it lacked the overemoting that I demand from my very favourite music.

Really liked the fifth song (sorry, but I wouldn't know where to start naming these bastard songs. It's all too confusing for me. I know, I should probably hit up a website and find out. I will later). I can't remember why, but I liked it.

At this juncture, I should probably explain my instinctual interpretations of music heard for the first time (and ergo this post). I remember very little the first time around. Or, for that matter, the second or the third. I remember facts, just not actual details, if you catch my drift. It's like when I see a really good band. I'll go all out in enjoying them, I'll remember who played, some of the songs and the date etc, but not what the songs sounded like. Or any real visual cues, either.

The instinctual is all. What I felt and thought on an occasion, even though the topic of what I was thinking and feeling has been all but forgotten.

Anyway. I really dug this. The singing was quality. And, as I closed my eyes for a better listening experience, I was taken back to 2000. It was a fine year, especially the summer. But I was taken back, and my feelings were a mix of the usual hurting pangs that accompany nostalgia, and also a warm glow that this not only reminded me of good times, but also that it did provide a good feeling within me.

I think I was really in the digging zone by this point. I have a feeling this album was designed for psychedelics, and as a holiday is coming up, I may partake in the legal purchase thereof. Especially as mid-March is really nice anyway.

It was by this point that any real awareness of track number fell by the wayside. It is one of the symptoms of my condition to feel a need to know which song I am listening to. When it ends. How long it was. How it segues. However, when I opened my eyes, it was track 6. Then 7. And on.

And I liked it. It certainly explained how the opening songs could have been an average of 12 minutes apiece (the mode, not the mean - I think track 2 was about 5 mins). I knew, as it was 12 tracks and 76 mins, that they couldn't keep this up. I recall thinking the album had been on a long time, and I looked at the CD player. It was track 3. I remember thinking it had been on a long time again, and it was track 4. I was puzzled.

It seems as though the tracks 6-11 were all one massive conclusion for track 5. Or maybe I slipped into slumber and missed something. But it seemed like it was all one big song. And as this was all one big voyage of discovery (I didn't even check out 'time remaining' on either track or album), where feeling was paramount, it was good.

Not sure how well this will pan out now I know the format. I should like it, though. I had that same feeling of being impressed, yet thinking there was something missing, that I do with a lot of the albums that end up being my favourites. The Lift To Experience album, for example.

I bought the latter album knowing one song. I listened to it and appreciated it, but there seemed not to be anything to grab onto. Not that there were no hooks, but that it was an intangible sounding album. I look back now, and fail to understand that perspective, but that's what I like about first listens.

And though I can listen to any album for the first time once, you rarely get that special, lustful-yet-confused feeling. It's the feeling I got when I first heard Aenima. I knew I liked it, on a psychological level, but I just didn't actually like it yet.

So it was with this. I don't know what I really think re: the brevity of the final two tracks. nice culmination, especially when viewed in the context of the grand narrative. Viewed in isolation (and sans the relief that the end of the album brought, as I was wondering when it would actually finish), I may be disappointed. They were seemingly cut short; nipped at a bud which could have flowered beautifully.

But I remembered the last Ghost album, and how that had a similarly brief conclusion to a multi-song suite. Unaware whether this was tribute, kindred spirit or mere coincidence, it reassured me nonetheless.And I was impressed by their musical manliness. How does one follow up a few 12-minute songs? Why, with one that essentially lasts 45, of course!

So this was my first experience of listening to something I think I will grow to love. And though it was a strange ride of excitement and boredom, elation and disappointment, and although I have a feeling I will like this album more in the future than I do now, this was special.

You only get one first listen.

And I hope to update my Frances The Mute experience as my knowledge and feelings about it evolve over time.

2 comments:

  1. When I downloaded the initial mix of this album, there were only 5 track, and I think the decision to split the last two songs up was a bit much. While its cool to be able to skip around and be like 'oh man, I like this part of this track of this song' and all, I don't like that.

    I remember Swano's "Crimson" being an awesome 40 minute epic that you just had to sit back and listen to. Then "Crimson II" came out and it was split into 7 tracks. Still a 40 minute epic, but on 7 tracks. Novel idea and all, and I'm sure it helped some people out, but it sort of took away from the whole experience.

    "Cassandra" is like one of TMV's best tracks. I really like this album, and still do. I think it gets a lot of flack for not being the same as the first. Honestly, its May of 2007 and I don't really listen to the first anymore, for what its worth. I'll listen to this album and the latest (which I think is their best, FUIUDA and all that), but its hard to just go back.

    I think they as a band evolved to something more complex than their initial foray into a conceptually driven prog album. When you get lyrics like;

    "The kiosk in my temporal lobe
    Is shaped like Rasalyn Carter"

    and insane music to go with it, I can't argue with that.

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  2. Nice one. If, at some point in the future, I manage to finish my 2005 thing, the blog will get my official verdict on the album. Til then, it's best that people don't hold breath.

    And I know what 'FUIUD' means, but what does the 'A' represent? I am confused.

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