Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cymbal #17:: Big Riffs, HUGE RIFFS

F*** Wolfmother. If you want gigantic old school riffs, like Black Sabbath riffs, like bad-ass Led Zeppelin riffs, with the sound of dirty fuzzy amplifiers channeling real guitarists, who can riff and play licks with hones- to-god imagination, you need Sleep. Apparently, if you read the brochure, Sleep's Holy Mountain (1992) altered the musical landscape, hugely influential, changed things, new things, big things etc etc - all balongesh if you ask me - this is sound of primal rock'n'roll, as good as it's ever been, and that never really went away. At worst, it went to sleep.

Sleep - Aquarian - 1992

But note the little difference. Where Black Sabbath went for jaggedness, Sleep smooth the edges and introduce a little funk and play to the innards of the mechanism. Note the little drum fills and the wash of bass - that's not very orthodox at all. It's far clearer the second time around, when the bloodrush of riffage has subsided.

On Dragonaut, there's a little drone shading in the colour, a baseline hum to clean away the silences. (It's reefer music - of course, in case you need to be let in on a little secret, all classic rock is reefer music- that's the way it is.)

Sleep - Dragonaut - 1992

There's a beautiful moment, at about 4:40, as the guitar solo is proceeding and before the gagging, stalling bass/drum breakdown. The bass stops its marching chop and takes a little detour and suddenly you're walking two paths at once, each ear tracing a separate solo. Trippy, dude.

And I'm feeling it right now; riding that vibe. I want to find my shades, lace up my old blue Chucks, put on a sleeveless t-shirt and drive out into the afternoon sun with Sleep playing nice and loud, drive as far in one direction as I can before I'm tired and have to stop.

Of course, with Kyuss on the flip, because Kyuss made the best driving music ever. If I had my little way, every car sold would have a complimentary copy of Blues for the Red Sun in it. 

Kyuss - 50 Million Year Trip - 1992

I hate the fact that this song ever has to end; by the same token, that thirty seconds of reprise makes me incredibly happy.

Since circles end in only one way:

Kyuss - Into the Void 

Isn't that just a fabulous cover? Sabbath, by virtue of being so influential, guaranteed that every one of their great songs would yield at least one cover better than the original.

This Cymbal goes out to all those up late tonight, finding it hard to get through all they have to. May guitars help you defy sleep.

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