Tuesday, 22 November 2005
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since I was a kid, only one band really cut through all the bullshit and said "you know what? fuck your standards of truth and beauty. Let me show you reality's true face..." and that band, of course, would be Skinny Puppy. Even when the audio or the tunes become grating, grinding, or monotonous, it's still stuff totally unlike anything else in music. While plotting my own writing, I've modeled my conceptions of music in the future from extrapolating from the work being produced by Skinny Puppy and the various side projects that have arisen, like The Tear Garden, Download, Key's solo work, and Ohgr. This is what I imagine mainstream music will become infused with over the next decade or more. These guys are always so far ahead of their time that in retrospect only can their genius trully be comprehended.
Looking at the video from an objective position is therefore impossible for me, since I'm the kind of person who'd buy a ticket for a skinny puppy concert the day they went on sale. I've purchased my share of Skinny Puppy schwag from Wax Tracks in Denver. Maybe I was predisposed to enjoy extreme noise, growing up on airports, listening to jets, the whine of overpowering engines, table saws.. who gives a fuck. Something happened, and the only satisfactory answer to the universe became, for me, the album Last Rights. I carried it and the resultant musicological excavation with me like a goddamned beacon, a compass that lit up music as something other than tune. Music could be a landscape constructed, with behomoths lurking behind memories, where texture was as important and complex as lyrical structure.
And it was music that seemed to say, "You're not going to like this so just shove off - what we have do show you is something you may deeply wish to forget." Other pieces, like 'Ode to Groovy' - promised amazing things in the wake of Skinny Puppy's mid-nineties collapse with the loss of the duck. But when the re-animation occured, it was a new dog, one whose bark and bite are honed to a keen edge. Key and Ogre have taken their respective skills not only musically but theatrically as well into a landscape that must be seen by you. It is no longer simply a band of creative geniuses, carving a path for the future of music, but has become a cabbal of fiercely competant wizards, creating a narrative dependant on both stagecraft and sound. The direction of the dvd by W is technically adept, with Worlock and Reclaimation being favvorite moments overall. The audio is superb. Justin Bennett's drumming is profound. William Morrison's performance is stellar, proving he's not just a good director. I really can't get beyond just wanting to show you some of the cuts from this dvd, or just buy everyone copies when I hit the lottery. (I'll let you know if this happens.)
Dvd 2 of the set opens with Attorney General Ramsey Clark as well as a Key family member discussing the Iraq war in a segment entitled Information Warfare. It's a slow but effective presentation on what the government isn't openly admitting about the causes and effects of medical problems of all kinds that originate in the middle east, and about the falsified intelligence that was presented to the U.N. as basis for the Iraq war.
The rest of the Dvd includes the behind the scenes footage from the European tour in spring/summer of 1988 (there's even a shot of CHUD!) Enjoyable, nostalgiac, and a moving rememberance of Dwayne Goettel, after which a video for pro-test is nestled. Live concert video filmed by cult film director Jim Vanbebber follow, collaged from Last Rights and Too Dark Park filling out the dvd. Even if you're not a fan of the new material, a true fan needs this second dvd to make sense of it all.
Honestly, if you really want something extremely intesnse and trully informative, something that doesn't quite fall into the neatly trim categories of country, rap, or pop.. something other than black metal or industrial rock, pick up this fucking dvd and play it on your 5.1 surround sound, thank the surround sound gods for Ken "Hiwatt" Marshall, and play it over and over until you've convinced yourself you enjoy it. It is your true will: buy this dvd.