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Rate Binaural
5 Stars: A top tier album 50%  50%  [ 67 ]
4 Stars: A very good album 36%  36%  [ 48 ]
3 Stars: Average 11%  11%  [ 15 ]
2: Stars: I expect more 3%  3%  [ 4 ]
1 Star: Embarrassing 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 134
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 Post subject: Re: Binaural: Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Wed June 13, 2018 1:41 am 
likes rhythmic things that butt up against each other

Joined: Thu January 03, 2013 7:55 pm
Posts: 636
--- wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
I really like a lot of the material here, and I love the fact that they were willing to try and redefine their sound. My problem is that the way the album was actually put together not only serves to disguise the degree to which the band was stepping outside their boundaries, but it also softens the album's personality.

First of all, you have two types of songs going on here. On one hand, you have the atmospheric pieces that maintain a strong binaural-recording presence. On the other, you have the more traditionally mixed pieces which favor close mic support. This might seem like a production-based assessment, but when you split the two types of songs into their respective camps the unique personalities of both stylistic approaches starts to come more to the forefront, and they start to feel like stronger collections because of it:

Song Set One
1. Of the Girl
2. Nothing As it Seems
3. Thin Air
4. Rival
5. Sleight of Hand
6. Soon Forget
7. Parting Ways

Song Set Two
1. Breakerfall
2. God's Dice
3. Evacuation
4. Light Years
5. Insignificance
6. Grievance

Now, I really really really cannot stand albums that have a 'fast' side and a 'slow' side....that's called two EPs pretending to be an adult, like midgets with a trench coat. And I normally feel the same about double albums that have a slow disc/fast disc setup. However, while separating these two sets does start to reveal the differences that give them each personality and allow them to invite curiosity. They also continue to share enough of an aesthetic bond, even divided up this way, to remain part of a single release. You could take either one of those sets all by itself, package it with that exact album artwork, and nobody would go " about the cover not fitting the content." They just need to not give up their individuality in the act of getting married.

Binaural, in short, needs to be a double album.

It wouldn't be that hard, really. I maintain, at all times, a fresh mucusy spitwad that I can hurl at anyone who opposes the idea of Of the Girl as an album opener. But I go further than that. That song as such's like a wide open sky. And the hypnotic acoustic is a great backdrop....Mike should be Change Your Minding the shit out of that track. Don't be in any hurry, you know. Don't get "look at all these notes" crazy. Just...decorate. Echo. Sustain. Crackle a little. Stretch the fuck out. Add a little vibraphone/soft keyboard in the back a'la Strangest Tribe, perhaps. Of the Girl song could be seven to eight minutes of slow burn orgasm and never get old. Done well, it would be the most amazing opening salvo/statement this band has ever made on a record. It would redefine, in a single track, who this band was and what they were going to be in the coming decade.

I'd do a few other things here and there...change the lyrics on Soon Forget, put something else into Thin Air so it feels more finished (gentle handed pipe organ? I dunno), but those are personal choices. The one thing I would insist on doing is investing another two minutes or more of blissful stretched out, distorted wave crash and moody string slide to the outtro of Parting well as a minute or more of atmospheric dancing to either the middle or the end of Sleight of Hand (or both). Give people another 30 seconds of the end of Rival, too. Let that disc be the "put on your headphones and vanish into the music" disc. It's still got that "I'm Captain Rockhole from Space, and this is my GEEETAAAAAAAAR" badassery, so it feels like it has a connection to what's to come. It's just sort of like the far wall to the room.

Disc two, fleshed out by some of the pieces left off (the band might have to hang out long enough to come up with one or two other tracks for each disc), is the punkier, no-wasted-breath side of that equation. It's not all rockers (Light Years gives it a pretty good nod to what you just experienced on disc one), but it's aggressive and a little more outwardly focused....even Breakerfall and Sad come across like two sides of the same coin, combining to make a statement about valuing love rather than just serving as character studies.

So now the album as a whole has its personality, the two discs establish the different extremes of that personality, and you don't get those little two or three songs stints where you START to get a sense of cohesion, only to have it snapped away from you. Plus you get more Binaural. So it looks something like....

Disc One (currently at 35 or so minutes):
1. Of the Girl (8:00)
2. Rival (4:00)
3. Nothing As it Seems (5:30)
4. Thin Air (3:30)
5. Sleight of Hand (6:30)
6. Soon Forget (1:30)
7. Parting Ways (6:30)

Disc Two (currently at about 25 minutes):
1. Sad (3:30)
2. Breakerfall (2:00)
3. God's Dice (2:30)
4. Evacuation (3:00)
5. Insignificance (4:30)
6. Grievance (3:00)
7. Education (3:30)
8. In the Moonlight (3:00)
9. Fatal (3:30)

So, assuming you don't use Hitchhiker (your call), you might need to add one song to the first disc and three or four to the second. Honestly, I wouldn't have been sad if Strangest Tribe had been stretched and included, or an all acoustic guitar track (just don't make it a rip off of Going to California cos, you know, been there done that). There are also some instrumental ideas already sitting around, if you're feeling lazy.

I think it would have been more defined, more cohesive, and better received, thus better embraced by the band in the long run. That might be a sad way to get that to happen, but that's just who they are. It still wouldn't have been a radio smash, but with Sad on there to serve as single fodder I think they would have been alright. Critical love would have been more pronounced...and thus they would have been a little more confident going into Riot Act, which would then have allowed that record to more confidently step out into its own rather than being a little too sheepish about where mommy's skirts were. Finally, maybe we wouldn't have had a band that by mid-decade was desperate to show everybody they could still be those guys you remember from when you were 15.

Oh, and yes, I do realize that Light Years could go on disc one, but because it is as tightly woven structurally as it is I like it better this way.

as i listen to binaural for the first time in over a year, this post came to the front of mind

This but I would also like them to stretch out Nothinf As It Seems even more. One of my favorites from them, though I felt that the spacey Mike solos could have used more time and space even.

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