I have yet again failed in putting my weekly update up on the right day, but one day late I suppose isn’t too bad. Anyway, this week started off slightly slow so I decided to carry on with my Biffy Clyro reviews, Infinity Land had it’s turn https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/infinity-land/ to get analysed by me. Then the moment I’d been waiting for, the release of the new Crystal Castles album, III, my review of that one can be found here https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/iii/. And finally I watched Ice-T’s documentary on the story of hip hop which you can have a look at here https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/something-from-nothing-the-art-of-rap/. Any comments or feedback is greatly appreciated, please do voice your opinions on any of these pieces.
Well it probably won’t be till next week that I review this but I am ridiculously excited to see P.T. Anderson’s new movie, The Master which opens on Friday so I’ll leave you this week with a trailer:
If you’re a follower of the blog you’ll have probably picked up on my anticipation for this record. Electronic duo Alice Glass and Ethan Kath know how to create original and interesting music and Crystal Castles have somehow managed to make their way into my group of absolute favourite artists. Their first two albums offer a dark, sometimes haunting picture littered with dance beats and disco sounds. III is no different, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s own unique charm. It is their first album to be solely produced by Kath himself. The result is something which I think is more personal than their two previous works and at the same time more universal.
The first thing that struck me about III was that it sounds a lot more calm than their previous two albums. The tracks that came out before the album reflect this slightly more ambient feel. It shows an advancement in their musicianship the way they manage to incorporate the ambience while keeping the elements of their other work that was so effective. ‘Affection’ for example is a much softer song than almost anything you’d find on I or II but at the same time its echoing synth’s are just anthemic as anything the Castles have ever done, if not more so. On top of this there’s still this air of mystery and discovery as they experiment with new sounds, ‘Insulin’ is sounds like it’s been crafted by something completely new and different.
The band have also continued the way in which they manage to portray such complex emotions with music, particularly when the lyrics are actually inaudible. ‘Pale Flesh’ provokes in me a sense of being trapped in this electronic cell and takes me back to my days of adolescence where all I wanted to do was break out. This is all deliberate and it really speaks to their artistry that they are able to portray such angst and emotion with a genre that is usually known for being shallow.
III as a record is also much easier to listen to than their previous albums. It gives a more relaxed atmosphere even when it’s meanings are something much darker. With Kath producing I think it offers a much more organic sound, similar to that of Brian Eno, and they manage to envoke a similar atmosphere to some of his records while still holding on to their cutting edge, visceral emotions.
As II did I, III shows Crystal Castles making another giant leap into experimentation and come out the other side having discovered a new way to cut through your exterior and write electronic music with a human heart. This album not only improves upon the bands past achievements it surpasses that of any electronic group there has ever been. Crystal Castles are amazing
If you’re reading this post wanting to find something about getting married in a castle that means you have fallen into my deadly trap of title trickery, what the title actually refers to is my three posts from this week, as always. First of all was my review of the new Brit rom-com The Wedding Video, for a sum-up of the experience head over to the film reviews section and please comment and let me know your opinions too. Secondly we have my third game review, as promised I am building my game section since it seemed pitifully small so here we have my review of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, let me know your views on the new emphasis games have on online multiplayer. And finally due to there not being any big album releases this week head to the band plug section for my personal appraisal of Crystal Castles in the build up to the release of their third studio album. Hope you enjoy.
About a year or so ago I wasn’t enjoying life a whole lot, I’d been working a dull part-time job at Argos for months on end, didn’t feel like I had any real friends and was just waiting for the year to end so I could get out of this shitty town that I’m now residing in during my uni summer holidays. During that dreadful year I needed to find something that would keep me sane, I needed something that would help know that there was something more to me than the majority of people I was associating with at the time who had no ambition or concept of what was going on in the outside world. Crystal Castles became a band that somehow provided me that knowledge that I had something more than them. I could pick up real, genuine emotion from this electronic, distorted-vocal misfit act and I took pride in the fact that I knew none of the dead end personalities that I hung round with would ever understand.
While I fell in love with the band then it wasn’t until just this afternoon that I decided to listen to them again, in anticipation of their forthcoming third album, and it was just today I realised Crystal Castles genuinely are one of the greatest bands around at the moment, and for the first time realised what their music had done for me personally. I know all that’s going to sound like soppy adolescent gabbling to you and that’s why I want to encourage you to take a listen for yourself if you haven’t before or if you previously discarded them as being just too weird, so you can see for yourself if it is just adolescent gabbling or if actually this band are pretty fucking sick.
Their experimentation is spread neatly throughout tried and tested techniques which provides an all round pleasurable experience that has elements of mental partying colliding face first into deeply thoughtful vibes. All this and the ability to write tunes that will stick in your head for a good few days puts them on the map as one of the most uniquely diverse bands around, whilst never really straying from their signature style. Their second album provides a more refined and overall better listen than the first but that’s not to discount the fact that their debut has an air of true greatness about it. The band recently released the first single from their upcoming album on youtube, the track is called ‘Plague’ if you want to check it out and keep your eyes on the blog for a review of the record when it’s released, but definitely give these guys a taste and let me know what you think of them.