layers and dynamics

two of my favourite things in music.

i love it when i’m listening to a song for the 400th time and i can still pick out something new in the background that i hadn’t noticed before. an album that is so interesting you can get lost in it, forgetting what you were doing or where you were going. that doesn’t mean needlessly throwing in 5 more guitars, it still has to add something. there are songs where a standard 4/5 piece turns into an orchestra, and others where those same instruments can put you to sleep. even a 3 piece can surprise you. of course, it can be a balancing act because it still needs to work live. some artists can pull it off in the studio, but on stage it becomes a hollow shell.

the cure – from the edge of the deep green sea. this is definitely one that makes me turn up the headphones and just listen. bob’s solo in this one is insane, swirling around your head and fading in and out. unfortunately, i find it only really holds up live if bob+porl play the solo – and even then it’s never quite like on the album.

almost anything from skinny puppy can qualify here, but one of my favourites is “testure”. yeah, i don’t think i need to say more.

bob mould – black sheets of rain. i think i love sugar-era bob the best, but the layers of guitar on this track are great.

dynamics kick ass too. i love a song that is a bit of a roller-coaster. maybe it starts slow and builds into something amazing, or the middle falls out before coming back together for an amazing finish. dynamic vocalists seem to help here – from a whisper to a scream and everything in between.

matthew good – house of smoke and mirrors. some might see this song as flawed – the squeaking of the strings on the acoustic guitar as it starts, the minimalistic piano, the crackle of the amp as the song builds – but that’s part of what makes it so brilliant to me. absolutely one of my top 10 songs of all time, from one of my favourite albums. the title track is amazing too, especially live. actually, i think most of my favourites from matt fit into this category. the duality of “born to kill” / “running for home” is amazing too. i almost never listen to RFH on its own, and whenever i hear BTK i just NEED to hear RFH.

skinny puppy – cult. funny that i seriously dislike pretty much everything else on this album, but this song is incredible. it starts quiet, with that soothing violin, but then that guitar tears through. startling at first, but it just works. then things mellow out again.

foo fighters. dave loves to scream, but some tracks stand out more than others. “the pretender” is pretty great. i’m also a big fan of “all my life”. they get bonus points for putting on some of the best rock shows i’ve seen and still being able to pull it off acoustic too.

i suppose that’s all just a metaphor for life. i think everyone wants a little depth, to be surprised and excited, to have highs and lows and everything in between. how boring would life be if it were all just a pop song?

edit: youtube linkage for most of the songs i mentioned, in case you’re unfamiliar but are interested in checking them out: from the edge of the deep green sea, testure, house of smoke and mirrors, avalanche, born to kill, running for home, cult, the pretender, all my life. most of them aren’t “official” videos, but the music is there. too bad i couldn’t find black sheets of rain…