Sunday, March 05, 2006

Steve Gilmore Reviews: MSL - The Thread Of Life

Artist: MSL
Title: The Thread Of Life

A track from the already bulging (20+ and counting) Mary Gottschalk Tribute Page over at MP3 Unsigned, although MSL are certainly not new to me. This is, I think, the fourth track I have heard from them and I have to say that generally - given the genre, Electronica:Techno - is not bad going. The reason I like them, despite some flaws in their tracks is their drive, energy and production nous. If I had to single them out for praise on an overall basis, I'd have to go for the production side. Yeah, to be sure there is generally a thinness of sound that is apparent in all their tracks but it IS slight and probably an old curmudgeon like yours truly would ever notice it.

Along with my best friend, Mr Nit Pick.

So, although this is a track put up in memory of Mary, it still comes under the heading of 'issued' material and - in my books - fair game for a good mauling. :D Although it's billed as World music, it's actually more classically inclined than that laden down, as it were, but pianos, strings and other dead white dudes music attire. It's best to point out here that this is MSL's first stab at this kind of structure approach and big ups to them to step from their regular oeuvre (God, I am showing off tonight) into this most difficult of areas - much more have it work out. Work out it does though, even though - as usual - I have a few gripes and grumbles about things. Not however, with the musical content and/or it's structure because - given their inexperience with the genre - MSL makes a very decent job of it. This is especially true when you talk about the choice of musical instrumentation to perform this peice, an essential duty if you want it to sound right.

Where I do have difficulty with this is - again - the overall thinness of the sound, I'm sure that if they spent a little more time shaping and working on individual sounds BEFORE the mix process, it would help them enormously to provide as convincing in sound as their music is in performance. The overall sound isn't bad although it's rough around the edges; however the music more than makes up for any shortfall anyone sensible would notice. The change of pace when the oboe's/clarinets join in the action is quite beautiful. I believe that Mary would have liked this track and made suitable comments about it and that - after all - the reason why this track is available, so no worries on that score. However, it does show that this is an area where MSL might do well and I'd certainly be interested in their next outing in this field.

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