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Ahleuchatistas - The Same and the Other CD (album) cover





3.35 | 13 ratings

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4 stars Rating: B+

Recently, avant-garde music has seen an influence of bands playing uber-technical math/noise rock, and it's been absolutely thrilling. Hella is the biggest name in this vein by far (thanks to their masterpiece Hold Your Horse Is), but also noteworthy are Ahleuchatistas and Upsilon Acrux. In the case of Ahleuchatistas, The Same and the Other is their Hold Your Horse Is, a tremendous example of technical playing used to convey emotion (or, more accurately, the band's anger at the current political situation). Graced with a gorgeous cover showing crying Arab women (in traditional Islamic garb) with a fighter plane dropping bombs in the background, The Same and the Other is a scathing, wordless outcry against the war in Iraq.

Thankfully, the music is good enough that one need not agree with their cause in order to enjoy the music. Right from the opener, "Cracked Teeth" (a very apt, even literal, title), The Same and the Other is a no-holds-barred assault. Cascading drums, piercing, dissonant guitar, and off-kilter bass scamper from theme to theme, often running through ten or more each (two minute) song, never sticking to a groove longer than strictly necessary. The best example of this is "Imperceptibility", which is a three-minute barrage of seemingly every trick in Ahleuchatistas' repetoire. But there are twenty-five other minutes on The Same and the Other, and each one is equally as stunning as the three of "Imperceptibility", not to mention equally as harsh. And just when you've had enough.

.it's over. At a mere twenty-eight minutes, The Same and the Other is the perfect embodiment of concision. What other bands tell us in eighty minutes, Ahleuchatistas condense to thirty. It's a testament to how good they are that not only is no detail lost in shortening the length, but the clarity of their messages (both political and musical) overwhelmingly increases. This is one of the most essential modern avant-garde CDs, and Ahleuchatistas' crowning achievement so far. Of course it's not for everyone, but there's an easy test to see whether it's for you. When I listen to this CD on a good pair of headphones, it literally feels as if my skull is contracting beneath the weight and assault of the music. if that sounds appealing to you, what're you waiting for; get this immediately. If it doesn't, stay far, far away. For the masochistic, The Same and the other comes exuberantly recommended.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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