Jonathan Hill Dot EU

A Soapbox for Uninformed Opinions

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Peeping Tom Peeping Tom Review

Peeping Tom Peeping Tom Review

Artist: Peeping Tom
Album: Peeping Tom
Genre(s): Rap, Rock
Subgenres(s): Rap Rock, Trip Hop, Trip Rock
Released: 2006
Length: 44 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Ipecac Recordings

Track List:

01. Five Seconds
02. Mojo
03. Don’t Even Trip
04. Getaway
05. Your Neighborhood Spaceman
06. Kill the DJ
07. Caipirinha
08. Celebrity Death Match
09. How U Feelin?
10. Sucker
11. We’re Not Alone (Remix)

Peeping Tom Peeping Tom Cover

Peeping Tom is the debut album of Mike Patton’s rap rock music project of the same name. Put into motion in 2000, the album was recorded from then to 2006 and subsequently released that year. A wealth of guest performers and producers including Dan the Automator, Massive Attack, Kool Keith, Norah Jones and Rahzel amongst others are enlisted to bring a different sound to each song.

As this is a pop album of sorts, Mike Patton and his collaborators embracing rap, rock and downtempo music that is then blended into a broad set of rap rock and trip hop/trip rock songs with mostly conventional song structures and fewer of the eccentricities associated with many of his other bands (namely Fantomas, Mr. Bungle and his collaborations with John Zorn).

Some songs (Five Seconds, Mojo and We’re Not Alone) draw back to the rap rock sound of the late 1990s by alternating between rapping and singing to the well-established loud/quiet song structure dynamics. Thankfully the overblown angst ridden lyrics are out of the equation and this prevents it from becoming a pale imitation of the scene it draws inspiration from.

Mike Patton is a flexible vocalist as his long, meandering career has proven time and time again. He puts on a strong performance for the rock-centric parts of the album and while he can rap and beat box, it’s evident that it is not his forte and the guest vocalists often outshine him in this element.

Getaway, Your Neighborhood Spaceman, Celebrity Death Match and How U Feelin? favour a heavy helping of hip hop influences to balance out Peeping Tom’s sound while We’re Not Alone (Remix) is a brilliant summary of what Peeping Tom offers: hard guitar sounds, relaxed trip hop beats, diverse vocal performances and enough song progression to feed Mike Patton’s eccentric tendencies without alienating the listener.

Mike Patton never loses track of what he set out to accomplish with Peeping Tom and while it is certainly not a jarring effort, the breadth of styles used do give the album plenty momentum and a real sense of unpredictability.

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The Gathering The West Pole Review

The Gathering The West Pole Review

Artist: The Gathering
Album: The West Pole
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Post Rock, Trip Rock
Released: 2009
Length: 54 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Psychonaut

Track List:

01. When Trust Becomes Sound
02. Treasure
03. All You Are
04. The West Pole
05. No Bird Call
06. Capital of Nowhere
07. You Promised Me a Symphony
08. Pale Traces
09. No One Spoke
10. A Constant Run

The Gathering The West Pole Cover

The West Pole is the first Gathering album since the departure of singer Anneke Van Giersbergen in 2007. She has since been replaced by Silje Wergeland (Octavia Sperati) and The Gathering deceptively approached The West Pole with the mentality of “new singer, new sound” with the misleading mammoth opener When Trust Becomes Sound.

The song is an unexpected post rock number that continuously builds on itself before a questionable background megaphone ramble comes out of nowhere courtesy of guest singer Anne van den Hoogen. Thankfully the guitar buries the megaphone in a fashion most favourable and lets you enjoy the rest of the sterling craftsmanship that has gone into writing and performing it.

After The Gathering waste time not introducing Silje Wergeland she makes a powerful introduction for herself on the even-tempered Treasure. Her performance should remove any doubt from long time Gathering fans that are sceptical of her being able to replace Anneke Van Giersbergen. She easily proves to be a suitable replacement while there are some noticeable similarities between them.

The overly noisy side of The Gathering is short-lived and the mid-paced songs become the theme before they manage to take it down a few more notches beginning with the quelled No Bird Call up to and including Pale Traces, which throw back to the sombre ambience of their 2006 album Home.

Unlike their previous trip rock albums, the distortion drenched guitar has been integrated into their sound to give them a new edge to work with, just not in the way you would expect from the opener. It has definitely push them forward and kept them from rehashing their existing sound and while it would have been exciting to hear The Gathering take on the post rock genre and weave their unique vision around it, The West Pole ends on a well-deserved high note.

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The Gathering Home Review

The Gathering Home Review

Artist: The Gathering
Album: Home
Genre(s): Rock, Ambient
Subgenres(s): Trip Rock
Released: 2006
Length: 60 minutes
Language(s): English, Spanish
Label(s): Noise Records, Sanctuary Records (excluding North America), The End Records (North America)

Track List:

01. Shortest Day
02. In Between
03. Alone
04. Waking Hour
05. Fatigue
06. A Noise Severe
07. Forgotten
08. Solace
09. Your Troubles Are Over
10. Box
11. The Quiet One
12. Home
13. Forgotten (Reprise)

Gathering Home Cover

Home shows yet another face of Dutch band The Gathering as their sound moves in a new but familiar direction where they have changed enough to keep long-time fans interested but not enough to alienate them either. The Gathering relied primarily on the use of textural keyboard playing and low key guitar lines to create a series of introverted songs that are kept grounded by simplistic percussion that works together to create some particularly subdued music.

With the exception of the Spanish spoken word verses on Solace, all of the songs are sung in English by Anneke Van Giersbergen whose dulcet voice is a more than suitable accompaniment for their reserved sound. Sadly, Home is the last album to feature her before she left The Gathering to pursue her solo career.

The songs are often bridged together by subtle interludes that begin at the end of 1 song and run through the start of the next to keep Home flowing while managing to be distinct enough from either song and stops them from blurring together. Unfortunately the flow of Home is shaken up as it draws near to its conclusion. The title track ends with 2 minutes of silence and Forgotten (Reprise) follows on with an unnecessarily dragged out finale that lasts for over half of its 8 minute duration due to an incredibly slow fade out.

The long silence and fade out could only have been included so as to push the album needlessly passed the 60 minute marker. The Gathering doesn’t do themselves any favours by doing this but it definitely isn’t something that should ruin the experience either.

Home isn’t the kind of album that will leap out and captivate most listeners immediately. Instead it will turn into a rewarding experience as it grows on you over the course of a few listens while being the perfect soundtrack for rainy days and quiet nights.

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Team Sleep Team Sleep Review

Team Sleep Team Sleep Review

Artist: Team Sleep
Album: Team Sleep
Genre(s): Electronic, Rock
Subgenres(s): Trip Hop, Trip Rock
Released: 2005
Length: 54 minutes
Language(s): English, French
Label(s): Maverick Records

Track List:

01. Ataraxia
02. Ever (Foreign Flag)
03. Your Skull is Red
04. Princeton Review
05. Blvd. Nights
06. Delorian
07. Our Ride to the Rectory
08. Tomb of Liegia
09. Elizabeth
10. Staring at the Queen
11. Ever Since WWI
12. King Diamond
13. Live from the Stage
14. Paris Arm
15. 11/11

Team Sleep Team Sleep Cover

Team Sleep is the self-titled debut album and end result of an extensive collaborative project that manages to pull together a myriad of influences ranging from shoegaze, post rock, dream pop, instrumental hip hop and glitch music. When combined, these influences are used to create a low key trip hop/trip rock album that focuses on ambience and textures with an experimental edge rather than big choruses or flashy instrumental leads.

The trip hop/trip rock songs that make up about 2/3 of the album are abruptly broken up by the more experimental and challenging songs littered through the track listing. The post rock/shoegaze styling of Your Skull is Red and Blvd. Nights will make you feel like you’re being swept under by a tidal wave of noise.

In contrast, the hip hop and glitch inspired song Staring at the Queen features programmed percussion that clangs around like a lumbering machine and is rounded off with skipping and looping effects in an effort to make it sound as dysfunctional as possible. King Diamond on the other hand uses samples of Chino Moreno and Mary Timony to create an odd spoken word collage with a similar musical style. While arguably not the highlights of Team Sleep, they are certainly memorable.

Paris Arm is a straightforward love song that is unexpectedly sung entirely in French by Sandy Lakdar, who is not credited in the album booklet but does get mentioned on the Team Sleep homepage. It is also one of the shortest songs on the album, only outstretching the interlude Delorian by 9 seconds.

While the brooding ambiance makes Team Sleep a suitable soundtrack for the small hours, the noisy post-rock/shoegaze and glitchy hip hop inspired songs will provide enough variation to stop the songs from running together.