Sunday, November 05, 2006

Shorthand Phonetics - There Is Only So Much Opera One Can Take At a Time

Hear The Track Here

Aha, the return of the sons of the east! Well, actually no because the entity we know and love as Shorthand Phonetics, has become even more condensed. Hey from five guys to one is about as drastic a reshuffle as you can get isn't it? However before you all start bellowing about babies and bathwater, let me tell the story. My primary contact with SP has always been through Ababil Ashari ever since I first came across this distinct Indonesian band a couple of years ago. Regular readers will know full well the roller coaster we went on through several memorable, and several other not so memorable tracks over that time period. Dogged by audio problems, but with a livewire 'we can do this anyway' attitude that probably won them more fans than their musical appreciation did. The closest comparison I've ever been able to make with this band has always focused around punk rock...

Although I'm sure Ababil will disagree with that one.

So the only question that remains is which brand of Shorthand Phonetics is this going to be? The brash, confident, digustingly muddy sounds of Green Apple Garden, All Too Platonic etc or the mushy, angst ridden gloop of - well you know the ones I mean. The truth is, as you will rapidly find, There Is Only So Much Opera One Can Take At a Time takes its roots in both camps which kinda confirms my suspicion that the real mover and shaker behind the Shorthand Phonetics band was and as always been the aforementioned M. Ashari. So it follows that if you liked what that band to offer, this isn't that far removed from the sound and fury that typifies their tracks.

Musically, Ababil seems to have moved away from punk (although there are still huge influences happening in the track) a lot of the style of the peice is quasi-progressive rock in sound and delivery. A bit puzzling that. Not that it doesn't work, it does - if judged from a Shorthand Phonetics perspective. Where it doesn't work IMO is that it all tends to feel a bit rushed, awkward, as if the peices are right but just don't fit together smoothly enough. From a lo-fi 'made in the garage' angle, this is about as grungy as they come both structurally and musically but - as usual with this outfit - it has a certain something, and that is often the saving grace of their tracks. For sure it isn't one of the tracks that have knocked us on our butts in the past but probably the dust needs to settle a bit. Interesting if you know/like the band, but you may not like its casual approach to sound quality - although it is surprisingly clearer than earlier tracks.

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