Known Johnson

February 20, 2007

Overlooked Alternatives: Explosions In The Sky, Jesu, Viktor Krauss

Filed under: Music,News,Overlooked Alternatives — Tom @ 10:21 pm

Explosions In The Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone: For those that follow the instrumental post-rock likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor (I’ll let you decide where to put the “!”) and Mogwai it’s unlikely that they’re unfamiliar with Explosions In The Sky, and those who saw Friday Night Lights are more familiar with them than they probably realize since they provided the score for the film. Whatever similarities they may share with Godspeed and Mogwai, I’ve still managed to find EitS to be just a bit more interesting – they follow a similar formula of expansive tracks that build and build over time with lots of repetitive motion, often exploding with vibrant, violent crescendos, but Explosions In The Sky have just a tinge of metal to their sound that interests me more than the other bands.

Also available is a limited-edition import with a second disc of remixes which sounds to be intriguing.

Jesu – Conqueror: This second full-length release from the remnant of heavyweight Godflesh has a lot riding on it. Where the self-titled debut album merely established Jesu as a branch off of Godflesh, it was clear that much growth was needed before the band could really stand on its own. Last year’s Silver EP showed some promised that Justin Broadrick was following through on what Jesu could accomplish, but something still felt tied to the past. Well, a year later I’m putting it down now: Jesu has done it. The links to Godflesh are there, but this one stands on its own. It’s dark, brooding, and heavy, but there’s something optimistic going on in the mix – not to mention the vocal direction that Broadrick has chosen to take, going for clear, smooth sung vocals instead of the distant yelled vocals that were typically buried in the mix in Godflesh. This is the metal album to beat right now, and this is the one that really establishes them as a monster in the genre – but it may also be the one that sheds them of fans hanging on from the Godflesh days, hoping for more of the same. They’re going to be missing out. Dare I say that this is Jesu’s Pure?

As with Explosions In The Sky, there’s a limited-edition import available with two very very exclusive and lengthy tracks that were previously only available on vinyl. To get this, read closely: http://inoxia-rec.com/, choose the Daymare link, then pick Conqueror from the list and you’ll get the limited Japanese version. Do it before it’s too late – these things are a hot commodity and they probably won’t be around long.

Viktor Krauss – II: And now for something completely different . . . Bassist Viktor Krauss has backed a ton of greats (Bill Frisell, Lyle Lovett, a ton more I can’t even begin to think of) and returns with his second solo album that, if it’s anything like his first (Far From Enough), will quickly find itself in heavy rotation on my Ipod. What I read is that it’s inspired by film scores this time around, but still follows a similar style as the first disc, so that leaves me very curious and intrigued. Guests this time around include Shawn Colvin (who sings on a cover of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,”) Bill Frisell, Shweta Jhaveri, Lyle Lovett, and Ben Taylor, while Krauss handles bass, guitars, and keyboards with Dean Parks on guitar and Matt Chamberlain on drums.

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