Friday, October 9, 2009

EPs Are Music Too

It's a habit that I'm very guilty of. I find myself interested in a band and am looking through their discography trying to find what release of theirs I want to get. LPs, live albums, collaborations, I consider these all fair game and try to pick out which one appeals to me the most. What I don't consider, however, is a band's extended play, or EP, releases.

For the very minute few of you who don't know what EPs are, EPs are music releases that are usually much shorter in nature than standard full length releases, with most hovering around the 20-30 minute mark. Unfortunately, I've developed a nasty habit of simply ignoring these shorter releases, wanting to dive head-first into a full-length record. "Fool!" I hear you say, "Have you forgotten about Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada? It contained some of the band's best and most concise work." I know, I know; it's easy to forget that sometimes an EP can be just as good if not better than a full length. Thus, in order to try and rectify my abuse of the EP format, I intend to review 3 EPs of which I have recently aquired and, in all cases, have been quite impressed with.

Meshuggah - I

Meshuggah are a band that are very much suited to the shorter, punchier nature of EPs (many people seem to find that they get a bit repetitive if you listen to them for too long). Consisting of a single 21 minute track (though it can be broken into 3 sections), I is a showcase of progressive and technical metal. What I found appealing about it was the solid percussion that, essentially, drives the entire song through. There's also a great variety of cool sounding riffs and guitar prowess that will keep you interested. I'm looking forward to seeing them at Soundwave next year.

Torche/Boris - Chapter Ahead Being Fake (Split)

For those of you who know me, you'd know that I'm pretty obsessive over the Japanese power trio Boris. After their apparently disappointing last major release, Smile (which I don't currently have), it's good to see that the band still has it. The first track is 'King Beef' by sludge/stoner metal band Torche; it's nice and heavy with some cool effects going on in the background. This was my first experience with Torche and I must say that it's left quite an impression on me, definitely recommended for fans of Baroness or Mastodon. The other track, 'Luna' by Boris does a great job at keeping your attention for its 12 minute length. The track starts off as a sort of psychedelic piece, slightly reminiscent of their collaboration, 'Rainbow', with Michio Kurihara, but running at something like an unheard of 300+ beats per minute, Atsuo does a great job just to pull it off. Eventually the style changes to a doom/sludge sound, which is a very cool way to round out the album. This split really showcases both bands ability and works as a great introduction to either of the two. Highly recommended.

Mouse on the Keys - Sezession

Jazz and post rock. Sounds like a winning combination, but apart from the occasional excursion down this lane by World's End Girlfriend, something that I've yet to find a band that does this really well. Thankfully, I've now found such a band. Mouse on the Keys keep things fairly simple, with drums and piano making up the band's core (though do use saxophones and the like sometimes). It's hard for me to describe what I like about this EP, suffice to say that I absolutely adore it though. The drums are fantastic, the piano smooth and the other instruments masterfully used to make this record 22 minutes of bliss; it's great to see that a band is able to live up to the amazingly awesome fusion that jazz and post rock entails in my head. I give this EP 10/10, which I don't do very often at all so, for the love of god, check out this album. I can't recommend this band enough.

So as you can see, don't glance past EPs like they're Diet LPs or something, the shorter time length makes them a great way to check out a band you've never heard before and can sometimes be the band's best work. Something that I most of all need to continually remind myself...

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