48. Heavy music

Posted on 04/05/2017

48. Heavy music

This post is devoted to heavy music without words, by two bands/artists: Amon Tobin and Quantic. They have different but overlapping characteristics.

Tobin goes in for massive soundscapes, and most of his videos go on for an hour. Luckily I found  a few of his best tracks simply as tracks. Aside from the massive rhythm section there’s a bass clarinet or something playing a melody on ‘Slowly’. Also various singers humming along.

I find it very charming and hope you do too. The next track is ‘At the end of the day’. To judge by some of the noises, its at the end of a day cutting up meat or possibly fencing, as there is a lot of clashing of blades going on. I have not tried to find out what it was about for fear of being disillusioned: I like it as a mystery.

Tobin seems to share that view: vast mysterious soundscapes are his thing. The name of the following track, El Wraith, is very much in the spirit of his work:

Its possible to have too much spacey mystery and vastness. So if you’ve had enough of that, try Quantic. They are much more down to earth than Tobin. Again, they tend to go in for album length grooves, and they feature a lot of percussion in everything. Some of their stuff features a few words. ‘Life in the rain’ contains little clips of recitative saying things like ‘I’m getting closer’ but without any context or plot. So the words are much the same as music: convey a feel rather than a story.

‘Time is the enemy’ is one of their best tracks. It is in the Tobin mould in that its spacey and atmospheric, but where Tobin gives the impression of huge vastness, Quantic are a lot cosier. You don’t feel that space is the enemy, even if time is.

This track has more of a tune than most of Tobin or Quantic, thouh its chopped up to mean that the rhythm is the main aspect that strikes you. Plus the weird noises which are in common between these two otherwise distinctly different artists.

Both of them are ‘heavy’ in the sense that they go for a beat laden sound which does not have any great lyrical content, and can therefore go on for ages without overstaying its welcome. No boring repetitive choruses here. If you find spaciness boring, then of course it could seem differntly boring as compared with a vocal track.

‘Not so blue’ is a little video animation mainly about the adventures of a duck, which ends up being served to the main protagonists when the go to a restaurant. But if you simply listen to the track it stands on its own as a cheerful piece of music.

To end on a more cheerful note: Quantic with  Flowering inferno have produced a charming latin track called Cumbia Sobre el Mar. Aside from it containing ‘sea’ I am not very clear what its about, but that’s not the point. Indeed that’s not the point of any of the tracks here. All except this one are quite heavy on the rhythm, but extremely light on the message.

There is no need to bother with what they are about. They are ends in themselves, and very pleasant ones too, in my opinion.




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