Monday, November 9, 2015

Artificial Light

Song: Artifical Light
Album: A Better Version of Me
Artist: Rainer Maria
Genre: Indie Rock, Emo Rock
Released: 2001
Youtubeable ?: Not really. When you check the YouTubes, you get a bunch of poor quality, live recordings. But, here's the official audio:

Karaoke Difficulty: Easy. Just sing loud.
Listenable ?: Depends on your mood and tolerance for harmonic dissonance
Popularity: Considering that the band broke up 9 years ago? Still not popular. But, they did release 5 studio albums.
Notable Song(s) by Artist: Ummm... this one.

This song came to me as a recommendation from a friend and it's one of those songs that comes out from the months or years of forgetting and fits again like welcome friend. It's frenetic and disjointed from beginning to end, while also being mellow. I know the relating of seemingly mutually exclusive attributes sounds like the hollow wordplay of a blogger with sparse readership, but I'll ask you to put that aside and read what comes because I hope to show you with this song always has a place in my playlist. And, my thanks to Mr. P. Teall for introducing me to this music, despite it happening so long ago.

Frenetic and Disjointed...

I think you'll notice, almost immediately that the performance of the song and the production value is loose and borders on sloppy. The musicians do keep the beat, but they don't all hit the beat at the same time - especially the singers. The effect comes across as rough hewn, unrefined and intentionally so, similar to the White Stripes in this manner.
Additionally, the singer's voices don't fix well together (0:34 when the two voices lay over each other). There is no smooth-as-molasses harmonizing. Their timbres get close to pouting. You can hear it at 2:34 when the lead sings "Always." The quality carries through the rest of the song. It's effect, while disjointed, works and I think that's because of the rhythm section, specifically the ride cymbal and guitar.


This is a slow song and somewhat lazy, despite the clear emotional outpouring. Listen to the transition in volume and mood from 0:45 to 1:20. Right around 01:00, it gets mellow and slow. Before this, the song was filled with a guitar repeating a chord progression strummed out over bars and bars of sixteenth notes. The important thing about the guitar, and one reason the song sounds mellow and lazy, is the quality of each note. These are not a series of staccato attacks. Nope. These notes bleed into each other almost slurring from one note to the next, with just enough differentiation to make separate notes semi-intelligible and enough mixing to make the guitar line float away on a cloud, like a smear of time where details gel together. That ride cymbal, supporting the mellow and enchanted feel of the guitar, just glues it all together for me.

A Warm Friend of Dissimilar Temperament...

When the song, and its parts, are all accounted for, this song just comes back to me like a warm friend, someone I'm always happy to reacquaint myself with. This song has such passion even though it feels lazy. The singer clearly has a point to make and a conviction. It's a unique song, with a very strong female lead. It would never occur to me to create this song but I'm so happy someone else has. It's a part of the world that I can appreciate without having to create.

Final Thought...

That drummer is the backbone of this song. You can see him, or her,  jam out in the live performances while keeping tempo and not playing a tired rhythm.

Highly recommended.