February 17, 2010
It’s a brave new music world that we live in…just ask folks like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead who’ve eschewed the stale concept of record label management in favor of the freedom of control. Do it yourself (DITY), boys and girls, and what will be will be. Scratching that creative itch and effectively thrusting a lone digit in the direction of the man trying to hold you down, at its best, the artist inside is seeking a level of self-gratification.
On October 28th, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club released a memo of the impending:
“At exactly 3:33am visit this site for the exclusive access to the digital download of “The Effects Of 333”. A new album by BRMC featuring ten new instrumental/ambient tracks.
Released independently of any record company, it will be available as a digital download only through our new music store.
We are proud to announce our first release independent of any record company. As our first release through our Abstract Dragon label, this record is exactly that – no lyrics, no apologies, no regrets, just abstract. This has been in the works for the last 3 years at least, on and off the road, in hotel rooms, bus bunks, and back stage.
This will be available as a digital download only through our new music store. The banners will take you there at 3:33 am Pacific Time on November 1st.”
This cryptic memo had everyone who digs this band mentally, and I’m sure even physically, scratching their heads with “WTF?” wonder. Wonder about everything from the relevance of the numbers 333 (there’s been speculation…Google “333” and alcohol abuse if you care to) to why only a digital release to are these guys on crack to bring it on because any new BRMC music is good music. At the determined witching hour of 3:33 AM I just happened to be wide awake as I’d only gotten home from the Roky Erickson/Black Angels gig at The El Rey less than an hour prior. All went like clockwork; the download downloaded and for the nominal fee of $6, an abstract dragon made itself comfortable in my home and between my ears and, for some reason, I had to work at banishing the image of Sean Connery’s brogue-infected fire-breathing reptile with a heart. Ten tracks of unknown were cued and ready to play. I put the headphones on and this is what came:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “The Effects of 333”
“Instrumental/Ambient“…translation: free-form and obscure experimental shades of darkness and light. “And With This Comes” (which sounds like an alt-take on “20 Hours” from the American X-Baby 81 Sessions EP and stretches the richness of their signature sound distortion), “A Twisted State” (where very gentle acoustic guitar play overrides the background pickups) and “Or Needed” are the only tracks with a semblance of construct and, I assume, the tracks that most people will be able to dig into with any depth and with little effort, inflecting their own personal head-trips and mental pictures upon these “spaces”. But for the lack of patience in how long the other seven anti-music tracks drone on (and their time spans from 3:33-7:00 minutes), it’s easy for the conveyance to get lost on the listener. Still, those other seven pieces are also “head spaces” and moody, metal-on-metal (perhaps so similar that you can’t tell one from the other let alone assign the correct title to them), whether you call them a “pile of steaming poo” (as one BRMC forum member did), traffic noise, sonic accidents resulting from too much drug use or what lies beneath the surface of these men/musicians coming to light. Even a reading of the song titles in order (or hell, scramble them for maximum confusion or an epiphany) elucidates a train of thought, also abstract, but nonetheless BRMC. If their 2005 left turn release “Howl” left even their most devoted fans shaking their heads, visualize a few of them now going cross-eyed trying to embrace these industrial echoes of nightmares, daydreams, unresolved love/anger or bad Chinese food. Nothing here has any traction outside of the value placed on it by its creator and its listener; and my, but isn’t that the pure definition of independent music? Yes, I think so.
So in that respect, as no other really matters (“no lyrics, no apologies, no regrets, just abstract.”), “The Effects Of 333” is Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s success and, as a non-artist of any kind, I can only assume to know or appreciate the level of satisfaction that comes with. Now whether you like it, love it or loathe it, you’re certainly in no way wrong since our headspaces all get tuned and turned on as specifically as our bodies do. Now I was listening to “Sedated With Sterilized Tongues” when I wrote those words and my head was very turned on.
So this is what they’ve been keeping in the pockets of their leather jackets. You can feel “The Effects of 333” for yourself by heading over to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s digital store at: http://www.brmcdigitaldownloads.com
1. The Effects of 333
2. Still No Answer
3. I Know You’re In There
4. And With This Comes
5. A Sad State
6. A Twisted State
7. Sedated With Sterilized Tongues
8. We’re Not Welcome Alone
9. Or Needed
10. And When Was Better