Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Barcelona Chair - ...

I'm going to just come out and say it....yes this is a 12" I know...I must be selling out, I'm corrupting everything seven inches dot blogspot has stood for...give me a break...anyone reading with 12" and feels strongly enough to send a copy for review...well then here it goes:

I've been living with this pretty heavily the last few weeks coming up with a few words about this exceptional release from Barcelona Chair.

First of all I have to note this packaging, I think it really says something about whats in the grooves when every inch of this is stunning....the silkscreened insert on green cardstock , the messy typewriter font, and the clear green vinyl with a print on the opposite side of...actually a Barcelona Chair, screams handmade, and I love the idea of DIY projects like this where the band probably was sitting around for days putting these together. You have to appreciate the artifact and give it time to sink in.

The first track, "Destroy this night" starts with possibly a guitar, but heavily effected, really turning into pure sustained notes. It's really split between the channels, with different dissonances panning back and forth, until one side cuts out its hard to distinguish the layers. This is slightly looped and creates that kind of tension right before more guitar samples work their way in just under the drawn out violin notes. The violin addition to this genre is genius, a unique sound to accompany this instrumental post rock, it has everything those high melodic parts explosions in the sky are trying to achieve with guitar. It's a single expressive changing sustained note, it's impossible not to sound beautiful against the increasingly distorted melodic loops underneath. The near drone over modulated guitar chords, left to slowly play out into feedback, echoing what the violin has been doing all along. It's a great sound... that back and forth of sweeping high melody from both sides that continues through this EP entitled "..."

'Sundaycomedown' starts with a little almost uneffected simple guitar melody then electronic drums break in...a lot like some This Will Destroy You tracks and it's just as jarring... unexpected to hear the cold mechanical beat against this emotional human instrumentation. At times the violin and programming here blend together in a single layer of sound, they start to lose their individual voice and become that great wall of shoegaze knob twisting sound.

This barely prepares you for the Young Sheilds Casiotone for the Painfully Alone cover, which is probably as up tempo as Barcelona Chair is going to get but still has to be a quarter of the tempo of the original, the violin takes the rhythm keyboard's place and works to balance the ominous bass synth chords while Mike Woznesnesky sings, completely buried behind more cavernous reverb. It's a great interpretation, faithful to the tone of the original, but definitely filtered through Barcelona's unique layers of instrumentation.

Little Odessa is the most explosive, but you won't see it coming. A heavy drum track, accented by electronics of some kind and the violin sets this slowcore song in almost Rex territory. It's plodding along while the sustained violin melodies are feeding back on themselves, the echo is always in the distance ever building underneath the surface. Then the whole thing speeds up and explodes with the rush of guitars and a frantic violin, but they don't dwell in the chaos and it's immediately over too soon. Easily my favorite track and is worthy competition to Explosions, or Red Sparrowes while at the same time venturing into Tortoise or Sea and Cake territory...

It's just amazing enough to forgive the vinyl sin of a completely blank B-side...

One of the 499 copies left can be had at their myspace. It's fucking beautiful. And if you could love the baby of Explosions in the Sky and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone then by all means paypal them 10$.

Just so I won't let the tiny vinyl feel left out....CFTPA still has a couple of 7" from his collaboration with Laurel Nakadate - Stay the Same Never Change, the Town Topic EP, instrumental tracks from the film and a tour split single....all available for $5 each from his webstore.

There's 3 so that should make up for it.

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