Group Therapy cu Above & Beyond


7 march 2012

Glisati pentru varianta in limba romana

A meditation and astral turbo-digital explosion combination, to me Above & Beyond is the essence of trance. As both fragile-melancholic and hard-technlogica music, it totally defines my emotional background.

It seems that Jono, Tony and Paavo were willing for a certain change in their music once with „Group Therapy” . The most visible (or rather, audible) change seemes to me the metal hard bass dropping that was very used in short and frequent notes on most songs of "Tri-State Era" and "Sirens of the sea". In contrast, „Group Therapy” shows a more detailed processing, a greater depth and a more sensitive pads spaciousness. It is clear that the two elements do not really get along each other because they risk crowding the sound nuances, and the older "Home" experiment shows this. In my own musical experiments sometimes I had to choose between a certain rhythmical bass (or drum) electronic power and the pads twilight spatiality. "Home" is a happy case, this is my favorite song from the whole spectrum of trance. But some people did not like it. However, Above & Beyond bet on the pads once with "„Group Therapy” ". The rythm of songs starts as progressive house tracks that quickly turn into trance at the pads enter. As a gain compared to the previous two albums, seem the breaks sometimes applied to the pads through the stuttering effects with low values. Threre is a certain getting close to dubstep by the rhythmic variations drums but to other instruments

In addition to this, compared to the previous two albums, the classical piano is very rare useed in this last one (a bit unfortunately, I would say) . The classical piano was part of a very special mixture with the specific electronic trance sound. I found this mixture of old (piano) and new (electronic productions of the devices) as a very inspiring experiment of previous albums. The only moment where the old piano is heard now more clearly seemed the "Sun and Moon", one of the few pieces that rise up to „Tri-State Era” level:

Although there was not a very happy acoustics, the show was delightful and the audience was delirious. "„Group Therapy” " seems a new experience, but I believe that TATW songs are better. I wanted more of these in the Bucharest set. Anyway, the crowd seemed a bit unfamiliar with the older ones. The set started with "Breaking Ties" live version, but too few in the audience sang this absolutely gorgeous song. Instead, here is the public reaction to the latest "Thing Called Love":

And, as it came to successful songs, the most successful one of them seem to me "Alchemy", maybe the nearest song to those from TATW.

In the end I want to mention one objection about the Above & Beyond show in particular, and about the whole club live trance phenomenon, namely that sometimes the sound takes apocalyptic nuances, which seems to me not be specific to trance spirit. I have noticed this at both Tiesto and Armin. I do not know, maybe here in Romania we don’t have good enough sound amplification equipment, but the volume seemed too high, proportionly inverse with the sound quality. Besides sound nuances are lost every time you go to a show so remain for two days with the feeling that I have some beans in your ears. I think music should be filtered before reaching mentally throughout the body and spirit and not to enter directly through internal organs. I know that trance music is not listening at low volumes, but if I welds having my eardrums escape her originality.

7 march 2012

Amestec de meditatie astrala si explozie turbo-digitala, pentru mine Above & Beyond este esenta muzicii trance. O muzica fragil-melancolica si dur-technlogica in acelasi timp, ea imi defineste pe de-a'ntregul fondul emotional.

Se pare insa ca Jono, Tony and Paavo au fost dispusi la o anumita schimbare in muzica lor odata cu Group Therapy. Cel mai vizibil (sau , mai bine zis, auzibil) mi s-a parut disparitia hardbasului metalic ce se desfasura in note scurte si frecvente pe cea mai mare parte a pieselor marca „ Tri-State Era” si „Sirens of the sea”. In schimb, Group Therapy atesta o mai detaliata prelucrare, o mai mare profunzime si o mai sensibila spatialitate a padurilor. Este clar ca cele doua elemente nu prea se impaca deoarece risca aglomerarea nuantelor sonore iar experimentul din mai vechiul „Home” arata acest lucru. In propriile mele experimente muzicale a trebuit uneori sa aleg intre forta ritmica a unui bas electronic (sau tobe) si spatialitatea crepusculara a unor paduri. In „Home” s-a intamplat un caz fericit, piesa asta fiind preferata mea din tot spectrul muzicii trance. Dar unora nu le-a placut. In orice caz Above & Beyond a pariat pe paduri odata cu „Group Therapy”. Ritmul pieselor are alura de progressive house care se transforma rapid in trance la intrarea padurilor. Ca un castig fata de precedentele 2 albume mi se par pauzele aplicate uneori si la paduri prin efecte de sacadare cu valori scazute. Se simte si o oarecare apropiere de dubstep prin variatiile ritmice ale tobelor dar si a altor instrumente

In plus de asta, pot remarca fata de precedentele 2 albume, folosirea mai rara (un pic regretabila as zice) a pianului clasic care dadea o nota cu totul speciala prin alaturarea la soundul electronic specific trance-ului. Mi s-a parut foarte inspirat experimentul din albumele anterioare cu amestecul de vechi (al pianului) si nou (al device-urilor productiilor electronice). Singurul moment unde vechiul pian se aude mai clar mi s-a parut „Sun and moon” , una dintre cateva piese care se ridica la valoarea Tri-State Era:

Desi n-au avut o acustica prea fericita, spectacolul a fost incantator iar publicul in delir. „Group Therapy” mi se pare o experienta inedita insa consider ca piesele marca TATW sunt mai reusite. As fi vrut mai multe in setul de la Bucuresti. Publicul insa parea un pic nefamiliarizat cu precedentele. Setul a inceput cu „Breaking ties” in varianta live, insa prea putini din audienta au cantat aceasta piesa absolut superba. In schimb se poate vedea reactia publicului la mai noua „Thing called love” :

Si pentru ca a venit vorba despre piese reusite, cea mai reusita dintre ele mi se pare deocamdata „Alchemy” care poate ca e cea mai apropiata de TATW dintre toate cele noi.

O singura obiectie am fata de showul Above & Beyond in particular si fata de intregul fenomen trance, manifestat live in cluburi, si anume ca, uneori, sunetul ia nuante apocaliptice care nu mi se pare ca e specific spiritului trance. Am observat asta si la Tiesto si la Armin. Nu imi dau seama, poate nu avem echipamente de amplificare suficient de bune in Romania, insa volumul mi s-a parut mult prea ridicat, invers proportional cu calitatea sunetului. Pe langa faptul ca se pierd nuantele sonore, de fiecare data cand merg la un astfel de spectacol raman pentru 2 zile cu senzatia ca am niste boabe de fasole in urechi. Cred ca muzica ar trebui sa fie filtrata mental inainte de a ajunge in tot corpul sau spiritul si nu sa intre direct prin organele interne. Stiu ca trance nu e o muzica ce se asculta la volum mic, insa daca imi sudeaza timpanele risc sa imi scape ineditul ei.

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