Tuesday, April 2, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 121


 
 









 

Secret Machines tries to match sounds of the past

In the summer of 2000, Benjamin Curtis, Josh Garza and Brandon Curtis joined forces to combine a wide array of sounds into the
band Secret Machines.

Brandon and Ben are brothers who used to play early '90s rock together. Josh was in a band called Comet, which he left after
becoming discontented with his situation.


Photo courtesy of Ace Fu Records

Secret Machines attempts to duplicate the sounds of Pink Floyd ... but fails.

The trio took several chances in a short period of time, beginning with its recording process done in September, just a few months
after beginning the band together. Then, two months later, Secret Machines moved to New York.

The album the band recorded in September is named September 000, probably for lack of better influence or motivation.

September 000 is comprised of music from another era, and while the music of the past is established and admirable, it remains to
be seen whether Secret Machines utilizes the tools of the past successfully.

There are some bands that can pull off certain oddities in their music beautifully. For example, the crazy chaotic ringing of seemingly
never-ending bells on the album The Wall that surprises every Pink Floyd listener is a very strange addition to the music, but it
serves its purpose perfectly.

Secret Machines, with a sound similar to that of Floyd and other bands of that era (such as the Velvet Underground) attempts to
achieve the combination of free-form noise in its music. However, the group falls short of its goal and instead produces something
that is, at times, just annoying.

The very first track of the album begins with a bell-like sound ringing at a slow pace. I could actually produce something more
interesting to listen to with three half-filled glasses of water and a spoon.

After five minutes of this annoying ringing, a new sound occurs. When the vocalist sings, with his whispery voice, it is a
much-appreciated change of pace. However, the song ends less than three minutes later, leaving the majority of the first track to the
irritating repetitive ringing noise.

Thankfully, September 000 is only six tracks long. "What Used to Be French" and "Breathe" are both noteworthy songs. The vocals
and music on these songs blend nicely and produce a very mellow yet appealing piece of music.

For what Secret Machines is attempting to do, it is respectable. After all, Floyd's mellow, mood-seducing and sometimes (well,
maybe always ... we are talking about the '60s) drug-induced euphoric music is quite good.

It just seems that Secret Machines cannot really pull the sound together completely.

Track five, once again, begins with ringing, only this time it sounds like church bells. Two minutes later, the raspy vocals and more
upbeat drumming turn the song into something worth listening to.

The last track on the album, unfortunately, is almost entirely terrible. There is clapping that fills some of the sound-space throughout
the song. However, there is one offbeat clapper that strays on the beats.

The only decent part is when the clapping they use in the song turns into applause at the end of the song, which also ends the
album. I was clapping too when this album finally ended.

It's difficult to "feel" what Secret Machines has done musically. Maybe it is meant to be experienced on drugs... after all, we are talking
about a type of music similar to that once listened to by tripped-out acid heads.

Perhaps Secret Machines will work on more songs like the second and third tracks on the album and eventually get a patterned, yet
non-uniform sound that works better than that of September 000.

Secret Machines

September 000

Ace Fu Records

1.5 stars

Shiley Carter

Daily Cougar Staff

Columbia Records has just released a live concert recording of The Pledge of Allegiance Tour. The acts featured on the bill are
Slipknot, System of a Down, Rammstein, Mudvayne, No One and American Head Charge.

The CD was recorded, except for the Mudvayne tracks, in Rosemont, Ill., in October. Mudvayne's tracks are taken from its DVD L(ive)
D(osage), which was recorded in June in Peoria, Ill.

System of a Down gets the first three tracks: "Chop Suey," "Bounce" and "Toxicity." Each of these songs is from its new album
Toxicity. Following System is Slipknot with tracks from Iowa, the band's newest CD. The tracks are "People=S***," "The Heretic
Anthem" and "New Abortion."

The usual Slipknot characteristics can be found throughout the tracks: the "F-word," anti-Christianity and a sound of raging energy
that gets adrenaline pumping.

Next on the album line up is Mudvayne, which dropped out of the tour early due to management problems. Tracks from its debut
album L.D. 50, "Under My Skin" and "Pharmaecopia," continue the mayhem on the album.

The recording differences are noticeable. Songs that were recorded from the tour involve more of the crowd, and from the two
Mudvayne tracks, you get more of a studio sound from them. American Head Charge got a one-track privilege with "Seemless." The
album's final track is "My Release" from No One.

All in all, the Pledge of Allegiance tour album was not bad, but it could have been way better. We'll start with the fact that Rammstein
didn't have any recordings on the album. The German rock band is just as popular as Slipknot, the headliner of the tour. Hits such
as "Du Hast" would have definitely been a plus.

Also, having more tracks from the other bands on tour would have been a plus. System of a Down's "Pluck," "Suit Pee" and "Sugar"
were left out, along with Slipknot's "Wait and Bleed" and "Spit it Out." These additions would have helped the album.

It seems apparent, due to the lack of tracks, that this CD was a last- minute idea. 

Next time, instead of buying the CD, I'll save the $10 and shell out $17 extra to go see the actual show.

Various Artists

The Pledge of Allegiance Tour: Live Recording

Sony Music

2 stars

Mauro Alvarez

Daily Cougar Staff
 
 
 
 
 

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