rodrigo y gabriela - CD
Sony Music Japan - Out now
I can play a bit of guitar myself. I have studied the development of the instrument in popular music, admire the Rock pioneers and love the Jazz greats, enjoy the nimbleness of the Classical guitarists as well as the dexterity of the shredders and I have to admit that before this, I had never heard of rodrigo y gabriela (they usually use lower case letters for their names) but after pressing play was immediately entranced by this frankly, beyond compare duo. I jumped on my computer, discovered that their fourth album, Mettavolution, released last year won the ‘Best Contemporary Instrumental Album’ at the Grammy’s this year and that they were influenced by Black Sabbath and Metallica in their native country Mexico before moving to Ireland to discover a new style; this was something different – and brilliant.
So, first impressions of this live recording are ‘wow!’ at the performance but then it turned to how could two guitar players create such an aural assault on my ears? I watched a few videos and listened again and I have no answer; so I just accepted it. I listened to it a dozen times over the next week and then bought a copy of Metttavolution for comparison and was astonished to discover that the live versions far surpass the studio ones which by the way, are an experience in themselves. Back to the live album though and the dynamics between the two on a stage are as wonderful – in fact better - better than the studio recordings; this is where they really shine.
Mettavolution Live is the complete Mettavolution live albeit with the songs in a different order and augmented with six more compositions, five from previous albums and a gabriela solo. The centerpiece of Mettavolution, a cover of Pink Floyd’s Echoes, is longer here whilst Tamacun is played at breakneck speed; other tracks have similar tweaks that add to the overall enjoyment. The sound is warm and sonorous with every tap, thump, strum and note captured in their real performance; this as live as an album gets. The two discs come housed in a triple-fold limited digipack with eight page booklets in Japanese and English at a very nice price of ¥3,000. All in all, an excellent release that is suitable for playing any time of the day at any event. For those of you like me who never seem to find the time to have a strum, buy some new guitar strings at the same time as you buy this as well because you’ll be inspired to play again.
ERKONAUTS - RECORD
I WANT IT TO END
The Erkonauts describe themselves as a Metal-Prog-Punk band which is as close as you can get to a genre description for them but it doesn’t do them justice as they are a superb collective of musicians who are just as adept at bashing out a very original Punk song as they are at constructing an epic and this album, their third, demonstrates every aspect of their music ability and throws in a some brilliant ideas as well.
My first love is vinyl and this simple but lovingly put together record is a delight. Intriguing artwork coupled with the title will have the Prog fans debating it’s meaning for years to come but slip the album out of the sleeve and you have a matching colour record that may make your neighbours think that some kind if mini-nuclear explosion just happened in your house; either that or you have somehow got a sample of the lava from Mt Fuji.
Side A is great. Opening with the frantic and bouncy pogo-til-you-puke War Flamingoes, we go through a variety of tempos, textures and canvases which leave you wondering what side B will have in store. Well, it’s not often you can say this of a record, but side B is better than side A. The first track, Losing Is The First Step, could grace a Motorhead album and The Sun is far better than at least half the Prog-Metal albums I’ve heard in 2020 but then we are handed Carvaggio which is a monster of a track! It starts soft and mellow, gradually building into a brooding, doomy, ominous conclusion, running the gauntlet of another dozen similar adjectives along the way. For sheer dynamics, this production – and the production is superb throughout - is a wonder to behold. Then comes the moment of pure genius. As Carvaggio is so epic, it would seem natural and logical to end the album with it and indeed, I actually got up to change the record once it had finished, assuming that was the end but no, The Erkonauts hit us with one more song, a blistering burst of energy that says ‘Don’t forget the start’. It’s inspired; it’s as if they had just played Carvaggio as the final song of their set at a festival and had been called back for an encore and it makes you want to flip the album back over to Side A and listen to it all again. Which of course, is what I did.
Brilliant lads…absolutely brilliant!
The Future Ends With You
Five Orange Seeds
The Cult Of The Burning Star
It Could Be Over Soon
Losing Is The First Step
The Curse Of Scotland