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avestin View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Shining - Grindstone
    Posted: November 18 2007 at 11:52
To continue the series of focuses on the albums I liked most this year, here is the second installment.
 
Here are some reviews (one is mine)
 
 
SHINING — Grindstone
Review by avestin (Assaf Vestin)
Special Collaborator Zeuhl/RIO/Avant Team

4%20stars Layers, so many layers…

I had the pleasure to add Shining to Prog Archives and in the process I got to know the band and its history better. The band also helped with the addition, sending me information needed for it, and for that I thank them (not to mention my enthusiasm with their music). This album belongs to the band’s “second period” where they stray away from their “first period” where they released two albums and played acoustic jazz with improvisation and with a hardcore feel due to the recording manner. As they felt they no longer want to play within the constraints they set upon themselves, they moved on to their next stage in which Grindstone belongs. (Read the bio in their page to know more, and use the links there to visit their website and Myspace and listen to their music).

This is the story of a certain person listening for the first time to Shining and he chose Grindstone to begin with: “It starts with a bang.

I was struck straight in my brain auditory center.

Dazed, my brain recuperated, still dizzy and shaking from the wall of sound, unable to discern the notes apart, as they came on ceaselessly, mercilessly, attacking and charging over and over.

I then re-assembled my listening sense, told it to be courageous, raise its shields and try and absorb the audio assault.

Now, when I was all prepared and knowing my enemy I started again. And low and behold, the experience was amazing! With more and more listens, I came to realize the beauty behind the beast; the delicacy behind the “savagery”; the sophistication of the arrangements, the instrumentation, and the compositions all of which are built into layers. Their quirkiness and oddity and the beauty of those.”


Well I am over-dramatizing it, obviously, as I got into their music from first listen actually, but it is true that their music is a sort of “attack” on your senses and if unprepared or unaware, a track like “Winterrise” might repel you or simply stun you.

Variety, aggressiveness and quirkiness - The album’s nature is one of very high energy and even aggressiveness. While there are some intervals to breath somewhere in the middle (track 5 for instance “Moonchild Mindgames”), it is most of the time relentless. It is also “weird” or experimental as I prefer to see it. They opt for trying to create new sounds, new ways of creating melodies. They sure not like to conform and play it safe. Their varied sounds, are not made up of taking others music or style and re-hash it, but rather take from several sources to blend it, “bake” it, add their own ingredients and prepare a “musical cake” of their own. They can be weird like in “1:4:9” and yet this is to me at least (and I realize I am into these kind of things) a well thought-out experiment in constructing a melody from ingredients and an approach which would usually not be used to do so. This track is a dark passage into the final installment in this album, “Fight Dusk With Dawn”.

Layers - Shining’s music is built layers upon layers. At first it might seem like some cacophony, but you must concentrate and focus on it, identifying the main thread of the music, follow it and then will hear the other layers which can confuse and give the illusion or the appearance of chaos (maybe controlled chaos would be a good description). Take the two first tracks, where there are many instruments involved; improvised ones along with the usual rock instruments with their hard and rough edge and then others like the flute bringing in a softer side and then keyboards adding a majestic sound to top all of it. While listening, try to follow each instrument, one at a time (obviously you’ll need repeated listens) and see if you get what I mean.

Instrumentation - What is great with Shining, apart from the sound that captures you in the middle of a ring of sound, is the instrumentation. I hear so many different sounding instruments there; some sound like some improvised Their cleverness is to me, expressed in the way the build their layers using their various instruments, combining subtlety with aggressiveness (for instance the flute vs. the bass and guitar in the first track); in the fact that they build their music however they like without confining themselves to one confined style or genre. In their music they mix their experimentalism with rock, electronics, jazz, metal but I can’t say that I heard anything quite like this. Not only they have their own particular sound(s), they have a varied one at that, not restricted to one path.

Melody - Now, you’d think that with all this that I talked about, there is no music actually being played, only gimmicks. Well, that is not the case at all. Take the first track, which is named like their previous album “In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster”; it has a very melodic line, a fantastic and catchy musical phrase. “Psalm” has a beautiful female vocals backed by backing vocals, along with the guitar and keyboards which start playing quietly behind, increasing in volume slowly, then suddenly all gives way to some experimentation with the sound, and then comes back at full volume of all participants – vocals and band, giving a captivating melodic line. The combination of the female powerful chanting vocals and the guitar riffs, the contrast of roughness and delicacy is a characteristic of their music I admire. They can also be quite amusing or entertaining, like in the two short tracks “The Red Room” with some jazz put in there and “Asa Nisi Masa” with its voice alteration.

Final words - While I don’t find all of the songs being of the same entertaining factor or of equal level, the end result is that I’ve been through a musical experience like which I am not experiencing frequently. And this is one of the things I am looking for when listening to music.

This is highly recommended if you’re looking for a special experience, a non-ordinary form of progressive music, an original take on creating sounds and melodies. Give this proper several listens before judging, though. Play it at times when you’re feeling adventurous and ready to be bombarded, caressed and intrigued.

Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007, 12:52 EST
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SHINING — Grindstone
Review by chamberry (Ruben Dario)
Special Collaborator Psychedelic Prog & Post RockTeams

4%20stars Shining isn't a new band (they've been doing music since 1999), but this album in particular got more attention than their last releases and it's no surprise considering the great music this album has inside. A bit aggressive at times, but it all comes out not as hard to swallow as it may appear.

These guys are playing progressive rock in a very daring and fun way mixing a wide array of instruments and sounds to create one of this year's high points in prog rock. The band I can think of that has a related sound is Jaga Jazzist with their "A Livingroom Hush" album and it's no surprise given that Jørgen Munkeby is also a member of Jaga Jazzist. Take the spirit of "A Livingroom Hush" and add even more instruments to the mix and put some mean guitars instead of jazz horns (although the horns are still present in many of the songs) and there you have it. It's Quirky, complex, bombastic, fun and accessible (by prog standards).

The songs on the album sound varied between one another, but they don't wander off to a sense of not having any relations with the rest of the album. The album can be seen as a book. The first group of songs and the last group of songs sound more accessible and heavier than the adventurous middle part of the album. The middle part is my personal favorite because it's more childish and playful than the rest of the album. This part also has a more varied instrumentation, but these divisions are only my view on how I see the album although I think they're helpful when describing the album.

This album is a real treat. It's well rounded and complex enough to keep you on the edge of your sit yet accessible enough to be played by many prog fans with a bit more adventurous taste. If you're a fan of the more adventurous side of Art Rock like King Crimson or even The Mars Volta and the easier listening avant-prog bands like Taal then Grindstone is one of the albums missing in your collection.

Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2007, 21:48 EST
Review Permanent link | Submit a review for this album

 
 
 
 
 
More reviews can be found here:
http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/41234-grindstone
http://www.stylusmagazine.com/reviews/shining/grindstone.htm
http://www.progreviews.com/reviews/display.php?rev=shin-grind
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/music/reviews/32060/shining-grindstone/
 
 
 
 
You can listen to them here:
http://www.shining.no/v1/news.php
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 11:54
Ordered it two times, never arrived. It f**king pisses me off because It looks really interesting!
RIO/AVANT/ZEUHL - The best thing you can get with yer pants on!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 12:00
Originally posted by Bj-1

Ordered it two times, never arrived. It f**king pisses me off because It looks really interesting!
 
Hope you get it.
Where did you order it from?
 
If still no luck, let me know and I'll help you.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 12:01
Listening to a vid now, wow! Great job on adding them, Avestin!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 18 2007 at 12:11
Great band! Great album!

Recommended for fans of aggressive prog rock like The Mars Volta and Upsilon Acrux. They're more accessible than one would think.

Its been a while since I last listened to Grindstone. I think I'll whip it out later today.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2007 at 02:18
Love it.
 
The Red Room became an instant favorite and is climbing my most listened to song list in a hurry.
 
The rest is great too. I'll listen to it again soon.
Dig me...But don't...Bury me
I'm running still, I shall until, one day, I hope that I'll arrive
Warning: Listening to jazz excessively can cause a laxative effect.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2007 at 15:19
Originally posted by Bj-1

Ordered it two times, never arrived. It f**king pisses me off because It looks really interesting!


Why not order it directly, from http://www.runegrammofon.com ?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2007 at 22:06
Listening to it right now for thee second time, very nice album, though my love for it is not exactly whay you probably expect, anyway its a worth listening, maybe i need more listens Big%20smile

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2007 at 04:01
I love both their albums and actually think Grindstone is the more 'accessible' of the 2 due to its more kickass metal vibes.  Extreme, convoluted yet somehow never overdone!!!!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2007 at 23:01
Why not revive this thread in honour of James who has just been blown away by the album?
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2007 at 23:03
Originally posted by avestin

Originally posted by Bj-1

Ordered it two times, never arrived. It f**king pisses me off because It looks really interesting!
 
Hope you get it.
Where did you order it from?
 
If still no luck, let me know and I'll help you.
 
 
 
 
I picked it up here the other day instead. Had my first listen tonight and got blown awayBig%20smile
 
 
RIO/AVANT/ZEUHL - The best thing you can get with yer pants on!
EXERIOR Experimental tech/death/progmetal from Norway!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2007 at 23:07
Indeed, why not?

Well Grindstone certainly is 21st Century Schizoid Jazz, or, if you prefer Heavy Avant-jazz tech math metal. LOL

This has to be played LOUD!  Perforated eardrums may occur, but who cares?

Thanks Assaf!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2007 at 23:50
I just so happened to have listened to Grindstone yesterday. Pretty damn cool.
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