Dec 102014
 

 

(For the second year in a row, we asked guitarist and songwriter Jesse Zuretti of The Binary Code — who have a new album of their own headed our way — for thoughts about his favorite albums of 2014, and he provided this list.)

 

1. Animals As LeadersThe Joy of Motion

Stand-out album for me, since I’ve never really been a fan (as much as I appreciated just about everything these guys can do as musicians). This album, to me, defines talent that reaches beyond the confines of the stereotypical “metal” nomenclature. The R&B jams, the unbelievably creative drumming, the song-writing — it’s all just sitting perfectly with me. I really think it’s going to be hard to top this one, should they choose to put out another album. This was my #1 played metal (new) album of 2014, and for good reason. Continue reading »

Dec 182013
 

(We asked guitarist and songwriter Jesse Zuretti of The Binary Code for thoughts about his favorite albums of the year, and he did us one better — providing not only two lists but also a streaming playlist of recommended songs from almost every album. The entire playlist can be found here. The recommended songs are identified in parentheses next to the album titles below, and we’ve included some of the streams and videos in the post as well.)

I decided that I’d do two separate lists: one metal, and one non-metal. I did this because I’ve read so many top 10’s this year on metal websites, and saw only a few folks step outside of the box. For me, these lists aren’t votes, they’re ways of recommending material to people. I want metal people to find something new from the metal list, and maybe even find something outside of that realm in my non-metal list. I feel viewers of No Clean Singing in particular are extremely diverse listeners, and deserve more than a list of albums relevant to the genre in which I spend time dabbling. That being said, if you’ve read anything from me before, know you’re in for some brief (LOL) reading! Hope you enjoy these albums, too!

SONG OF THE YEAR: Steven Wilson – “The Raven That Refused to Sing”

The album as a whole didn’t really captive me enough to make it the #1 spot. However, if a single song can represent a year’s worth of amazing music, I fully stand behind the title track, “The Raven That Refused to Sing”. The music video dictated so many emotions through the form of animated story that I CRIED. I’m a grizzly bear of a man on the outside, but I’m a human bag full of emotions on the inside. This song just ripped right through me. It’s absolutely beautiful in every way. The video not only does the song perfect justice, but in a day of contrived music videos, the video actually elevated the power and significance of the song. I truly hope I’m not alone in feeling so emotional when I saw the video, just so I can avoid being made fun of by my steel-hearted metal peers! Continue reading »

Oct 232013
 

This has been a very full day at the site, but I wanted to add one more post about the last two pieces of music I heard this morning. They pulled me in two very, very different directions, but they each made an emotional connection. And since blogs exist so that extroverted personalities never have to keep anything to themselves, I’m sharing.

LUMBAR

Without ever hearing the music, there have been powerful reasons to believe that Lumbar’s first (and maybe last) album — The First and Last Days of Unwelcome — was going to be very heavy. As you’ll know if you read our interview of the band’s founder and instrumentalist Aaron Edge, the songs were written as he was being afflicted by the pain of what would ultimately be diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, and the lyrics were written after he had spent 40 days bed-ridden with the disease, as he was beginning to come to terms with what had happened to him. I still find his description of the music evocative and gripping:

“Imagine three people, a small band or tribe. A storm is coming and it forces the small party into the ground, into caves. The spaces are small, cramped and dark. As the three huddle together, they hear/feel the approaching roll of nature’s foul breath, as it tears trees up from their roots, pushing huge boulders from their resting spots and dumping rain across the land. The tribe, without light and much hope, shudder. Feet stomp in panic. Teeth chatter. The wind howls, the rain becomes rivers and starts to fill up every hole in the earth. Air is thin. Breathing becomes harder, labored and louder. All these sounds and rhythms, the shared feelings of both paranoia and claustrophobia, the fear smelled in the sweat of these three… that’s what Lumbar sounds like.” Continue reading »

Aug 102013
 

I know you didn’t ask what I’ve been watching and listening to on this gray Pacific Northwest morning, but I’m telling you anyway, because that’s how blogging works.

ARSIS

A new Arsis video premiered yesterday. The song is “Scornstar” from their 2013 album Unwelcome. It was directed by Scott Hansen. It’s footage of the usual kind of thing that happens at an Arsis show. You know, people foaming at the mouth, chicks showing their tits, dudes ripping their hearts out of their chests, people’s guts exploding, bodily fluids and intestines spraying every which way. For people who’ve seen them play live before, it’s kind of old hat. But if you’re new to the band I guess it might be interesting.

I don’t really understand why this kind of regular occurrence was newsworthy. Must have been a slow news night at the TV station that broadcast the report. You can watch it next if you want. Continue reading »

Dec 292011
 

(I got sort of caught up in all the year-end Listmania we’ve been feeding you on this site, and am therefore late in publishing this guest opinion piece by Jesper Zuretti of The Binary Code. Check this out and let us [and Jesper} know what you think.  Are we putting too much emphasis on recording quality?)

We Are the 3%: Recording Quality v. Song Quality
a novice attempt at history, psychology, and temptation

Many people hearing music in this day and age tend to put the quality of the recording in the forefront, even ahead of the quality of the composition and music. But how much does the music-hearing individual really understand about the quality of the recording they’re listening to? Should they need to understand anything at all? Should music be over-scrutinized and classified into the depths of genre segregation, with fine-tuning into multiple combinations of classification?

The best part about music, in my opinion, is the freedom you have with it, and yet people are probably pickier about music than they are the food they eat. The history of music proves to us that recording (although it’s the conduit to our musical stream) is but a small aspect of music’s place in the entirety of human existence. I’m no certified musicologist (although I’d like to think I am), but maybe we’ll open some minds – just bear in mind that I’m a long-winded typist! Stay with me:

Human beings have been making music as long as the species has existed. The human voice is considered one of the first instruments we ever used to make music. And beyond that, Humpback whales also spend a great deal of time creating music (and by “great deal of time,” we’re talking Frank Zappa amounts of time). So it’s very safe to assume that music was being created even before mankind came into existence. On that assumption, if you subtract the amount of time during which humans have actually captured music on recordings from the length of time whales have been on this planet (speculated to be 54 million years), you end up with less than 3% of music’s supposed development time dedicated to recording. Continue reading »

Dec 132011
 

(As part of our series of posts on the Year in Metal, we invited musicians from some of our favorite bands to tell us what 2011 albums made an impression on them. Today, we hear from Jesse Zuretti, the talented guitarist and song-writer from The Binary Code.)

Although I’ve assembled a top 15 list, I highly encourage you to check out my honorable mentions down below. There were too many good releases this year.

1. Talib KweliGutter Rainbows

This album, albeit non-metal, is packed with nostalgia for me. Hearing Ed Lover’s voice on this album was icing on the cake. Talib Kweli is one of the most well-versed rhymers of all time. His music is passionate, original, powerful, and adventurous. Listening to his lyrics is like hearing someone you look up to tell a story about something you relate to, and just exceeding your expectations with the outcome.

Why is this album number one for me? Because this is the first album of the entire year that made me say, “HOLY SHIT!” out loud. I’m not a man of uncontrollable, Tourette Syndrome-esque outbursts at the drop of a note from an artist – be it metal, hip hop, jazz, etc. Those “HOLY SHIT!” moments are generally found when something along the lines of a Pat Metheny solo rips into gear, or when Dennis Chambers flails into a comet trail of fills and ghost notes over a Victor Wooten tune. Talib Kweli handcrafted sound, lyrics, and power into a unique and TOLERABLE hip-hop album in the grand year of 2011. Fuck-all rare if you ask me, considering the amount of cocky-yarble these pretend gangster womanizer rappers have been pooping out into our wretched youths’ ears. Take a minute, pop on this disc (or WINRAR your Mediafire link) and let it roll. Continue reading »

Aug 032011
 

This post is devoted to the third of the songs I heard this morning that caused me to shout “FUCKING GOOD PANCAKE!!”, which caused my cat to spontaneously evacuate his bowels, undoubtedly because he is not conversant in Google Translate renditions of Finnish idiom into English. The fact that he is almost 20 years old and now seems prone to spontaneous evacuation may also have something to do with it. However, just to be safe, the next time I hear a song as hot as these three, I plan to whisper fucking good pancake.

This last, but not least, part of my morning discoveries is the latest pre-production track to be posted for listening by The Binary Code.  My admiration for this band goes back to a time when both NCS and the band were in their infancy, so to speak — though The Binary Code never seemed to take baby steps. In their music, they were fully mature from the outset, whereas I’m still breast-feeding.

Although we have written about The Binary Code frequently, reviewing all of their musical output to date, it’s been a while since we checked in with them. They haven’t exactly been sitting still since the release of their Priest EP last summer (reviewed here). Yesterday, they added to their Facebook band page the third of three new pre-production tracks. The latest song is called “Dark Meditations”, and it is indeed a dark, heavy, atmospheric instrumental. Part ambient cloudscape, part jolting, pneumatic riff-fest, part progressive guitar exploration, it’s just fucking good pancake from beginning to end. Cool bass line in this song, too.

Check it out after the jump, and we’ll throw in the first two pre-production tracks for your listening pleasure, too. Both of them are tremendously good. By the way, these may be pre-production tracks, but they sound pretty fucking finished to me. In fact, they sound like The Binary Code’s best work to date. Continue reading »

Sep 162010
 

A few years ago my day job took me to Spokane pretty regularly. It’s in far eastern Washington, near the Idaho border. Culturally and politically, it’s a world apart from Seattle. The town itself is not much to look at, but you drive 20 minutes in just about any direction, and you’re surrounded by physical beauty. I also liked every person I met there — every one.

There’s metal in and around Spokane. Every now and then a group of us will make the drive east to catch a tour that inexplicably hits Spokane but bypasses Seattle, and there’s usually a good turnout of headbangers. But for new bands, it’s probably not an ideal place to launch a career. Not that we really know what we’re talking about — it’s just a guess.

So our dog-like ears perked up when we saw a Facebook post from the always-interesting Jesse Zuretti (The Binary Code) recommending that his friends check out a 3-piece Spokane band called Odyssey. Not something we could resist, (a) because of the source of the recommendation, and (b) because of the band’s location.

Odyssey has just released a new 4-song EP called Schematics, which follows on the heels of their September ’09 hour-long debut album, Objects in Space. It’s the EP that we’ve now heard, and it’s very strong. No clean singing on that EP, or any other kind of singing. It’s an instrumental brain scrambler that’s completely engrossing. We’ll try to explain why . . . after the jump. Continue reading »

Jul 272010
 

The subject of today’s post is an interview of Jesse Zuretti, the guitarist and co-creator of the musical juggernaut that is The Binary Code (whose new EP we reviewed here).

If you’re like me, when you see the word “interview” on a metal site, you sub-vocalize the words “Fuck that shit” and click away as fast as your fast-twitch muscle fibers will allow your finger to work. Why is that? If you’re like me, there are two reasons:

First, most interview questions are stupifyingly inane. Even when the interviewer actually has a functioning brain, many of them are just fucking lazy. So they ask questions that involve no thought or effort, and they get repaid in kind with the answers.

Seriously, if I were a musician and had to answer one thoughtless, cliched, repetitive, dull-as-dishwater question after another, year after year, I’d be sorely tempted to pull an Ernest Hemingway and put a 12-gauge Boss shotgun in my mouth.

Second, a person can be an extraordinarily talented artist but still be inarticulate or simply uninteresting as a conversationalist — even when the questions are halfway decent. Being really good at one thing doesn’t mean you’re really good at everything else.  To step outside the realm of music, when’s the last time you read an interview of a pro athlete or a movie star that you actually found interesting, that made you think, that opened your eyes to a new idea?

That’s not intended as a put-down. It’s just a fact. Being a talented artist doesn’t automatically make you an innovative thinker or a fascinating raconteur, just as being a diehard metal fan doesn’t make you an adept interviewer. Many people who train and work hard as professional reporters still don’t make the grade as good interviewers, so why should we expect that just being a devoted fan is enough?

Why, then, should you read this interview? Is it because I’m an extraordinarily good interviewer? Well, fuck no. All I can tell you is that I tried to think of questions that weren’t the usual dreck. Whether or not I succeeded is something you should judge for yourselves.

No, the main reason you should read this interview is because of Jesse Zuretti. He’s one of those rare people in the metal scene (a) who is a naturally gifted musician and songwriter, (b) who listens to lots of music and thinks seriously about it , (c) who thinks a lot about things other than music, (d) whose opinions and ideas are unorthodox for this scene, and (d) who can express what he thinks in words that are worth reading — and that make you think. Also, even when my questions were retarded, he was patient and serious in his answers.

Well, at least that’s my opinion.  You can judge all that for yourselves too — but you really shouldn’t miss this. Naturally, we start by talking about the new EP, but things go off in other directions after that.   (after the jump. . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 232010
 

We’ve made no secret about our admiration for The Binary Code. We thought their 2009 debut album, Suspension of Disbelief, was a remarkably accomplished work, both in conception and in execution (our review of that album can be found here).

In an interview that accompanied our album review, we found the band’s guitarist and co-songwriter Jesse Zuretti to be an unusually thoughtful and engaging dude. And when we finally got to see The Binary Code play live, as part of the METAL AS ART tour in January, we were blown away by the band’s maturity on stage and the intensity of their performance (as we said here).

So with all that, it should come as no surprise that we’ve been eagerly awaiting the band’s new EP, Priest, which is scheduled for official release on August 10. We’ve now been lucky enough to get an advance listen to the three songs on the EP (and a bonus “alternate” version of one of those songs that’s also included).

Our confidence in this band’s future was not misplaced. Priest represents another step forward for a band that was already bursting with talent and exceptional creativity. The more we’ve listen to Priest, the more we’ve found in it, and the more impressed we’ve become. This is the kind of music that engages on both a visceral and a cerebral level — it kicks like a pissed-off mule and makes you think at the same time.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »