...then God created post-rock…and Mogwai to boot. He created the original and now allows for the evolution of His creation. Mutation in the form of Blue Velvet, who creates choppy instrumentals with an original idea in mind…Blue Velvet has written a new chapter in the musical book. Never have I felt so tense while listening to music, but my feeling tense is just an affirmation that Blue Velvet has achieved their experimental goal. It is always nice to hear a band that is ready to go against the grain and experiment with textures and rhythms without so much as a glance back into the expected attributes of a post-rock group.
Four Songs is a very short, but very cool recording from the instrumental sextet Blue Velvet. The soundinstantly compellingis controlled and angular, compositional and organic. The first two tracks, “Docile 1” and “Docile 2”, flow together as movements of jagged, post-punk chamber music. Track three, “Blue Cannon”, features a simple, solo guitar blues riff, with cello, drums, and second guitar adding counterpoint. The final track, “Untitled (Two)”, begins with piano and guitar, dissolves into a cacophany of horns, only to reemerge with four blissful closing tones.
TONE & GROOVE
With their unconventional book of un-Rock regulations (no distortion, no vocals, no drum kit, no sampling, etc.), Blue Velvet’s recorded forays have teetered between challenging and hypnotic, but have always been refreshing. So in all my excitement, I threw their latest EPtheir first in conjunction with locally-based imprint, Phratryin the disc player without bothering to look for running times (although the title Four Songs should have been a clue to the brevity). After several shining examples of their attention-grabbing mix of real-time percussion and guitar layers, it was, “I really like where they’re going with this ... uh, it’s over?” At 10 minutes, the disc is more like a “teaser trailer” for their forthcoming LP than a stand-alone work, or maybe it’s just the next logical step for a band that avoids expectations like the plague. Despite this, the content is still fertile, compelling and full of tension. Pieces that could be used as layers of a song by a melodic Post Rock band or add depth to an Indie Pop album are laid bare by BV and, as is their MO, tinkered with for as long as they are inspired to do so, then abandoned. On their last disc, Obsessive-Compulsive/Opening Music, the songs flowed together after a few listens to form 35-plus minutes of continuous entertainment. I suppose it’s time to set disappointment aside, stick these songs in the iPod after their other work and get ready for their next live appearance.
[Blue Velvet’s Four Songs] is noisy, strange, interesting and distortion-free. [It] challenges the boundaries of conventionall the more reason to give this post-rock band a chance.
There are a number of comparisons to be made between Blue Velvet and the Velvet Underground, in that the interesting compositions are fairly cold while still being very interesting. The drums are bold and brash, and while they may sound a little too assertive in their context, they work well. Blue Velvet always comes up with interesting arrangements to string their listeners along with. Most bands need a set of vocals to provide the extra spark needed to keep listeners listening, but Blue Velvet makes individuals think with each arrangement…