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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Devin Townsend - Contain Us review

Year : 2011
Genre : Experimental
Label : Inside Out
Origin : Canada
Rating : 9.1 / 10

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Don't ask Devin Townsend if he considers his music important, because he will answer. Devin Townsend's favorite subject matter is Devin Townsend, which can be a beneficiary fixation to be immersed in, - especially if you are Devin Townsend - and especially so if it yields the promise of results of surfacing up music that reigns free of the vile will to relate to ANY! expectation.

Oh wait. What the fuck, my music seeks to not to relate to expectation!! Is it expected?? Is it acceptable? It sure is, Devin Townsend! YOU will be the leader of the Resistance!

If you are not familiar with the workings of this significant musician, then know this : Devin Townsend has been in the front lines of entertainment since decades, and, before he turned into a solo artist to diligently deliver the music he feels good about, already has made a name for himself by contributing to the solo deliveries of many significant performers, among these, Steve Vai comes to mind. One of Devin Townsend's relatively recent delivery, called Deconstruction, is not one that enjoyed positive reception from any other group than the most rabid Devin Townsend fan, which is acceptable, considering how the options of the most rabid fan are narrowed down to the choice of which direction to fall towards when Devine emerges to declare.

In a recent interview - which came out prior to the day of this review - Devin Townsend offers you a Legendarium of explanations - synonym : excuses - why Deconstruction had to be the way it is, and you can check out that interview here. There is something - deeply bizarre in this interview, in my opinion, though I wasn't able to check it out all the way, as it causes terrible discomfort in me, as I'm starting to feel embarrassed when I think Devin should. It makes me feel kind of shocked how Devin Townsend talks for minutes and minutes and minutes about his own creative process using a nervous system that seems so exquisitely self-fixated that it indeed has no other ultimate function to operate along than to shockingly entertain the expectation level of the mooooost important fan. And the moooooost important fan is : itself.

Hard is the work of the artist, so such, that it only can be rivaled by the tremendous effort needed to endure the whining of it. This is totally normal, because it is abnormal, and Devin Townsend, regardless how I am unable to watch this interview, might indeed need to be relentlessly fixated on himself to be able to deliver in his "hit me, Lover!" top form, and curing the man might be the equivalent of causing harm. Let me clarify what I find odd about all this. In another interview, which you will - I suppose - search for if you are curious, the interviewer asks Mike Patton if he agrees that Faith No More has shaped the face of metal music to this day. Patton laughs and says that he has nothing to add to this, his job is to put out the music, the rest is for the audience to decide. I find this train of thought-, this attitude very sympathetic. And what I see in the Devin Townsend interview I just linked, is the utter-, picture perfect antithesis of this sober approach. Once again : don't ask Devin Townsend if he considers his music important, because he will answer. Read on to find out more about Devin Townsend's latest Devin Townsend product.

Contain Us comes to you with a variety of extras including DVDs, a drawing with Devin's autograph and similar attentive similarities that are definite delicacies for the fan. As a body of musical work, Contain Us is a compilation delivery composed of the highlight pieces of four-, - ?logically enough! - previous Devin LPs. These are : "KI", "Addicted", "Deconstruction" and "Ghost".

With great sense of security - like pockets jingling - I can state that the actual music on this spin is relentless, strong, well balanced experimental delicacy, and, what I personally find especially good about it, is the fact that it does not exhibit any need to be "always heavy" or be "always this" and/or that. It genuinely and effortlessly free, and I have the hunch that Mr. Townsend wanted to imbue the release with this quality in a conscious fashion.

The variety is superb. The delivery has its fare share of thrillingly sub-melodic - meaning : not OVERLY melodic, thankfully - metal warfare, though notice this : the chorus of track four, called "Juno" is supersimilar to the chorus of Stone Sour's Mission Statement. Agree?

Ho Krill is a sci-fi song you hear in the lounge when you want to sign a record deal with a company fronted by a cyborg, while "Radial Highway" is a mixture between the True Blood theme song and the experimental formation Mr. Bungle. (Only the True Blood theme song and Mr. Bungle are still both better, sAUrry, Devin.) Next track, called "Watch you" brings to mind a combination of Depeche Mode and Yello, which is one of the most thrilling direction of menacing popular music, in my opinion. Anyone else thinks that Yello and Faith No More are super-similar in their mood-set? I would like to hear your opinion on this. And not "sorry I don't know Yello." Then kindly shut the fuck up. Up, the shut fuck, you must.

I'm kind of content with the initial sequence of promising electro-pseudo masturbation consisting of buffed-up 8-bit glitch/noise teasing Devin Townsend seeks to market - with success - as pure fucking gold on you via the intro to the 19 minutes Epic "Traestorz". It has promise, though gives little to nothing to topple an 1987 Aphex Twin cassette. At approximately 3 minutes, the track goes for a stall and seeks to exhibit drone-ambient qualities for a while. At 6:34, you are in a warped-ass Tron movie with an anime chick flailing her laser saber around your hide. At 7:31, Devin gives you your average 4/4/ techno drum machine and hasty to topple it with an introductory solo guitar. Then a brisk bass of bad intent joins in, and you are riding on totally legit rabid electronic club music, but nothing of the sort that could be regarded as innovative or unusual. No. It sounds to me like pretty conservative club music, and I finds its background story more interesting than the state it seeks to communicate bloom in. Luckily, after an efficiently and smartly presented transition, the piece arrives to a demented-ass anti-drum and bass sequence in its later part. This is a nice sequence with experimental drone elements worshiping the twisted chaos they are children of, yet, the 4/4 reek-of-sweat drum and bass drum loop does not do all that much to them, in my opinion. The point arrives when Devin Townsend realizes this, too, and gives you house music with the same idea in mind, and a female sci-fi vocalist joins in, too. Though I have nothing against the drum and bass sequence, this house sequence feels more focused and successful for what it wants to accomplish. Yet, keep in mind : the experience you will be subjected to is very akin to what you would experience in a dance club. Devin Townsend is your DJ, "only", he isn't just the mixer, but the creator of the music, too.

Spin-wrapper "Sticks and Stones" sounds like a nice song to drive a car to when you have a corpse or two in the trunk.

The second CD of the affair shows a more restrained pacing and a calmer initial sound, a percept that is about to be shattered then reaffirmed again and again as the opening tracks exhibit playful irregularities in their temper and mood. The initial strategy noticeably is to offer tracks that go easier on the ears than the character of the first CD treats them as. A narrative, lush-, but plastic direction - think of Squarepusher - is omnipresent that is colored and supported time to time by an almost Black Sabbathian comedy-sludge, so to speak, but you WILL take this parody-sludge serious, and this is why it works.

With track called "Addicted", all hell breaks loose and decides to stick around. I dig this song steadily, and here is why : in character, this is a simple, elegant Boney-M disco track, but it intentionally is presented with tormented, miserable sounds. How can you not love THAT.

"Numbered" sounds to me like a legit grunge classic with strong set of melodies and a very interesting sonic structure. I mean : it sounds terrible, and sounds so sexy while doing that. That was the intent, no doubt. This is very bravely constructed music, that dares to assume that it will be listened by someone who has the awareness to "get" what it wants. But, it does not give a shit if one does not. This is a very ripe behavior. In the midsection, the song goes black metal for a grim minute with some odd creative choices - like pumping the volume of the rhythm guitar up and down, did it give you an extra layer of hair on the chest, Devin? When measured to the deceitful black metal that interrupts the flow for a moment, the comeback of the central quasy-grunge melancholy is of exceptional efficiency.

Next track, "Timmy", sports the exact same "who tortures that fucking guitar" rhythm guitar the previous song utilized, and the main attraction the piece starts out with is some power metal man - who is this, The Devin Townsend??? - who sings about in not too convincing fashion. Luckily, it all is but a trick, because the chorus of the song is extremely powerful, and, knowing that you will be given it again, the - in my opinion intentionally - shit verse comes back with a relentless agenda to demand respect from you before giving you its proceedings once more.

"Stand" is a superb instrume(n)tal piece in which Devin Townsend lets you know that he knows how to sculpt legit riffs out of emotion, which is kind of what a massive part of metal is all about. A heavy, elegant mid-tempo instrumental with a particularly funny - albeit short - interlude that seems to summon the retro sci-fi vibes of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Naaah, you are not exactly sure you want to type "plan 9 from outer space" into Google.

"Juular" sounds to have the Bertolt Brecht going on, and, though I love that vibe as much as I fear it, I find this song to be pretty "meh". It sounds to me as a song Devin Townsend could not do anything with, and eventually he convinced himself that it kicks ass. Tip : nope, it just sucks it.

With the track "Brown Man", Devin Townsend gives out his spiritual rant about Devin Townsend's fear of heavy music, amen to that. You can hear him talk about closely related matters in the interview I have linked in the intro section of this review. This sounds to me like deeply disorganized, - tautology? - unfocused and masturbatory, moreover : this sounds to me like the shit you could expect if the creator would have zero inspiration and desire to deliver music, yet possesses all the tools at his disposal to attempt to hide-, to challenge this fact. Some gaps are not meant to be hidden, and especially not meant to be revealed.

"Madd at My Dadd" is pretty similar. I imagine these are the tracks from Deconstruction. Wow. It indeed is pretty uhuh.

"Flies" is the 3 minutes safety zone song to show you a momentary relapse of the schizoid tendencies the previous two tracks have been propagating. Yes, it is a nice song, - it is from Ghost, I imagine - but not exceptional at all. It could be on any pop artist's any pop album, and every bush hides a pop artist, you just have to look for the thing. This : not sufficient.

Neither is next one, "Call Management", which at least packs the admirable quality of coming across as a country song performed by a retired spaghetti western actor in a retirement home, and boy, it packs that genuine MIDI factor, too. What. Evvver.

Now is the time to rebel, because I refuse to offer an opinion on the last two tracks of this Devin Townsend Deluxe Box Set. In conclusion, know this : I have enjoyed this monstrous double full length compilation very much, and I do think that the best aspects of it are of truly top of the heat qualities. The only blemishes I think it is exhibiting are the annoying-ass schizo metal pieces on CD2, and I'm not entirely convinced by the "Ghost" contributions, either. Though, must admit that hearing Devin singing with a reverb preset applied on his vocals almost makes me shed a tear.


Rating : 9.1 / 10

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