Skinny Puppy’s new album is about to be released. Like a lot of old Industrial or EBM bands I lost faith that I would hear much new stuff that I would be interested in. However, when I heard the song 101 (2011) by the SP related Ohgr project I knew somewhere the old fire existed. Well here we have the new album Weapon and Skinny Puppy bought some of their old equipment back, dusted off other toys left in closets and return to their roots. You can hear a full preview of the new album at Revolver Mag (link). Listen to the songs Wornin’, saLvo and the new version of Solvent and you are transported.
A friend told me I had to hear Skinny Puppy’s ohGr’s last album unDeveloped (2011). After the incredible early SP early stuff I lost interest. What I mean is after a string of great stuff I kept buying their music and a zillion side projects but they were mostly eh a waste of money. As per the recent recommendation I just started to listen to the album and the song 101 is well good. It’s also worth noting he’s one artist worth following on Facebook posting some fun and interesting stuff. Call me suprised whenever an artist from the past wakes up again. The song 101 particularly has me because it “seems” highly autobiographical. Yeah I’m a year late on this but good music is good whenever. Add this to the small and definitely separate from European EBM cannon of Industrial Music.
“Every saying has its day. Every plaything goes away” – ohGr
One of the best records in my collection is the Nettwerk Sound Sampler Volume Two. For a long time I was one of the few people I knew who owned the music on it. Today you can find all the tracks on YouTube. While I’m no longer so special it’s good you can all hear the Dog House Mix of Skinny Puppy’s Addiction. Great strings and a wild vocal performance get paired with a clear Roland TR-808 taking what could never be a dance track exactly to the dancefloor. This is one of my favorite pieces of music for many reasons. Desperate, deranged, talking in my sleep again.
“best ever (and.. 808 ridden!) rendition of the track by Skinny Puppy released in 1988 on the second Nettwerk sampler “A Food for Thought”” – states1024
In my own opinion Skinny Puppy’s album Vivisect VI and the tour that went with it was the pinacle of their career. I saw that live show and have a jacked covered in fake blood to prove it. What you see above is a diagram CEvin Key posted on his Facebook page (link). It was used to set up their synths including Akai S900, Ensoniq ESQ-1, Emax, Moog, SPX90, Pro-1, Mirage and a Roland TR-808. What a nice find.
“This is the only Skinny Puppy album on which Dave Ogilvie (credited as “Rave”) is given songwriting credit and listed as an official member of the band. This was also the only album (until 2004′s The Greater Wrong of the Right) to feature a photo of the band.” – Wikipedia
Above is the trailer for the upcoming Morbid Angel remix album. I’m pleased to be on the same release as Laibach, Skinny Puppy and many other great artists. Morbid Angel is causing a lot of controversy within its own fanbase by jumping genres. Usually artists need to change to grow so I respect what they are doing.
“39 artists from the electro / indus / dub scene, each remix a song from Morbid Angel’s latest offering “Illud Divinum Insanus”. Featuring Laibach, Combichrist, The Horrorist, Punish Yourself, Micropoint, Treponem Pal and many others!”
I’ve been wanting to make a post about the Ensoniq ESQ-1 for a while. The only reason I didn’t do it sooner is I wanted to buy one on eBay before I drive the prices up! I can happily report I did just click the Buy Now button and got a mint one for $250. Now I’m going to tell you this synth is the biggest secret in the synth world. Ensoniq was an American company and most of their synths are made of metal. The ESQ-1 also has a LED screen which is still beautiful and much nicer than the green/black LCD screens such as on a Yamaha DX7. The ESQ-1 is a digital synth but has all analog curtis filters (like DSI products). They are 4-pole analog resonant filters with 6-stage envelopes. You get 8 voice polyphony. What’s the price difference between a DSI Prophet 8 and a vintage ESQ? See where I am going here? It has 3 oscillators per voice, 32 waveforms, 3 LFOs per voice (triangle, saw, square, random) and 4 VCA + 4 Envelopes with 7 parameters per voice. There’s MIDI, memory and an on-board sequencer.
When I was in college I was friends with a synth band called Exurbia. The lead keyboardist Juan had an Ensoniq. I was constantly blown away by the sound. Skinny Puppy also used one. Recently I was viewing the awesome synth demos Jexus puts online and came across two he posted for the ESQ-1 (see above). I instantly jumped on eBay. I was shocked to see these consistently sell for under $300. I bought one. Another piece in my musical time machine. Go get one.
“The ESQ-1 is an absolutely fantastic synth with a great sound. In modern language – “It has a DSI filter” – you can hear it when it’s running through those ‘lo-fi digital samples’ with high resonance. It’s a very aggressive, powerful sound with lots of low end and depth. The filter makes all the difference and I would never miss analogue saw waves now that I own it. Roland synths of the era were beautiful and smooth, ESQ-1 was heavier and darker.” – Rib (comment on vintagesynth.com)
Ever wonder how popular a band or artist really is? Head over to http://google.com/insights/search/ and find out. Today I have three popularity wars set up (click to enlarge screenshots). First I go old school EBM (of course) and throw VNV Nation into the mix with Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Skinny Puppy. Surprisingly Nitzer Ebb looses big time. Next up on stage is MGMT vs Willie Nelson vs The Prodigy. The surprise to me here is that the Prodigy manages to stay on the chart at all. The final contest I go for some big bands: NIN vs Depeche Mode vs Kraftwerk. I knew DM would win but if you look carefully there were a few moments in time NIN over took them.
Of course popularity doesn’t always equal great tunes but this is a fun way to see who’s “the biggest”. Do you think any of these results are surprising?
Last week my father called me and said his wife Yoshimi wanted us to all go to see a concert at Irving Plaza (also called the Fillmore). The band was called Vamps and like Yoshimi are from Japan. I had no idea what to expect and was surprised that when we reached the venue the line was around the block reaching Union Square! Most of the people online where Asian or NYU students in their early twenties. The music itself seemed like some sort of very safe rock n roll copy. However, as you can hear by the audio recording these guys have a serious fan following.
I was at Irving Plaza twice before the Vamps concert. The first time was 1988 Halloween night. I went to the West Village Halloween parade with my first girlfriend and after to Irving Plaza to see Skinny Puppy live. There was a cheesy new wave opening band and then Skinny Puppy came on and dissected a fake dog with blood gushing and all. Some of my friends in the front where covered in blood by the time the concert was over. Thinking back it must have been the VIVI Sect VI (iTunes link) tour. Year’s later I looked at my ticket stubs and noticed the name of the opening band: Nine Inch Nails.
The other time I was at Irving Plaza was to see Granddady (iTunes link). I heard them on WFDU 89.1 earlier the same week for the first time and fell in love with the music. I had no idea if they had any fans or not but went by myself to see them play. I was pleasantly surprised to see hundreds of hipsters also knew this band was incredible and it wasn’t too long after that they became very popular. Too bad they broke up because I sure would still be buying their tunes.