X: THC: X: The Human Condition

RIYL: early Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Portishead

This is one branch in the music tree that we didn’t see coming: adult contemporary trip-hop. X: The Human Condition, the brainchild of Michael Nova, is a giant multimedia experience. There is a film, which tells the story of two people driven to change the world through art. The soundtrack of that film sounds like the kind of thing Trent Reznor might assemble if he were feeling vulnerable. The songs slink, bloop and bleep along like the soundtrack for an alt-spa (we’re not sure if alt-spas actually exist, but they should), and possess an ache that Massive Attack’s last album lacked. It doesn’t always work: “Mr. Happy” with its falsetto chorus is more corny than heartfelt, and anyone willing to name a song “The Creature from the Blackened Room” better prepare for some sniggers, even if the music for the track isn’t half bad. When the album’s on, though, it’s on; “The Human Flood” is just begging to be used in a movie trailer, and “Tag You’re It” explores funkier territory. Nova’s not the best singer in the world, and X: The Human Condition will not rewrite the music history books, but for anyone looking to come down from an already chill party, this will do the trick. (Hypnotical Entertainment 2010)

X: The Human Condition MySpace page
Click to buy X: The Human Condition from Amazon


Nine Inch Nails: Another Version of the Truth

RIYL: Ministry, Gary Numan, free stuff you can watch on YouTube

If you want some good weed and some killer tie-dye shirts, you talk to Grateful Dead fans, but if you want state of the art A/V work (and maybe some anti-depressants), you go to Nine Inch Nails fans. Last year Trent Reznor let over 400 GB of HD footage from his Lights in the Sky tour “leak” onto torrent sites, apparently after he was unable to release an official DVD with the footage. Over the past year, various NIN fans around the world have been working on the footage, editing, color-correcting and even subtitling it for an “unofficial” release over the internet. That release, dubbed “Another Version of the Truth” finally made its way online, and it was definitely worth the wait.

The Lights in the Sky tour was Nine Inch Nails’ most ambitious yet, a choreographed spectacle that lived up to its name, thanks to multiple LED screens and some of the brightest flood lights you’ll ever be blinded by. Matching the brilliant visuals was the one of Nine Inch Nails most varied set lists to date, incorporating everything from Pretty Hate Machine to The Slip, even including a surprising amount of material from the instrumental Ghosts I-IV. It was a great show – you had to be there. But if you weren’t, this DVD comes damn close to recreating the experience. The footage is edited together great, the cuts are fast when they need to be, but more often than not the edits are lax, letting us take in the performance without added distractions. Which is good, because Trent and company were on fire for this tour. For both the quiet numbers, like the material from Ghosts, or for loud boisterous explosions of noise like “Wish,” the group is tighter than ever, and their performance are made all the more impressive by the revolutionary A/V spectacle that surrounds them (literally, they had a lot of LCD screens out there). Highlights of this include “Closer,” where Trent sings directly into a camera that projects his face across the screen behind them, distorted by the soundwaves of the music, and “The Warning,” where bright displays turn the band into silhouettes.

“Another Version of the Truth” is available online for free here in a multitude of formats, including one that you can burn to a Dual Layer DVD. A Blu-Ray is apparently coming soon. No matter what format you choose however, this is a must-own for NIN fans, and the price sure as hell is right.


Your favorite band sucks: bands and artists the Bullz-Eye music writers just “don’t get”

Every music lover has been there – in front of the television or a set of speakers, listening for the first time to the work of a critically revered artist whose songs are supposed to change the way you look at the world…only to come away wondering what all the hype was about. For the iconoclastic among us, these moments are opportunities to prove what independent thinkers we are; for everyone else – a group that often appears to include virtually every name-brand music critic on the planet – they’re opportunities to turn off your ears, nod your head, and smile. What kind of self-respecting music writer doesn’t love the music of Bruce Springsteen? U2? Elvis Costello? A total hack, right?

Your favorite band sucks Maybe. Or maybe we tend to forget that one of the most wonderful things about art is the utterly objective way we respond to it. One establishment’s treasure can be one lonely listener’s source of constant befuddlement, consternation or outright rage – and with that in mind, your Bullz-Eye Music staff put its heads together and drew up a list of all the bands and artists we’re supposed to love…but don’t. Each of the writers who contributed to this piece is speaking solely for himself, and you’re sure to disagree with some of the names mentioned here – and, of course, that’s sort of the point. But enough of our introductory babble – let’s break down some critical idols!

The Doors
“…don’t even think about describing their sound as “timeless”; you’ll be hard pressed to find music as trapped in time as these peyote-fueled dirges, and no one summed up the life and legacy of Jim Morrison – whose death was as brilliant a career move as you’ll ever see – better than Denis Leary: ‘I’m drunk, I’m nobody. I’m drunk, I’m famous. I’m drunk, I’m fucking dead.'”

Bruce Springsteen
“Perhaps Jello Biafra put it best when he referred to Bruce Springsteen as ‘Bob Dylan for jocks.’ But I can sum up what I dislike about the majority of the Boss in one word: Glockenspiel.”

Pink Floyd
“If you’re 14 and discovering pot, Pink Floyd’s a must. Hell, Dark Side of the Moon is practically a gateway drug in and of itself. If you’re out of high school and still into ’em, you’ve got a problem.”

Conor Oberst
“…his songs are duller than a steak knife in a prison cafeteria. I’ve tried repeatedly to ‘get’ Oberst’s work, but each time, I come away further convinced that his music is an elaborate prank hatched by the editors of Pitchfork.”

To read the rest of the bands Bullz-Eye doesn’t get, click here.


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