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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Kinski
Alpine Static
Sub Pop Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


July 12, 2005
Be they ostentatiously loud, intricately natural or keenly experimental, the quality that marks success for any instrumental band is its ability to capture the collective imagination of its audience; knowing full well they are working without vocals, they have to take you somewhere words need not go. It is, very surely, an adventurous and pure spirit to harness, and Kinski realizes the need for such intrepidness from the very instant Alpine Static clears its course.

Recalling the undying chic of 70s pop culture - from the decade's volumes of thrill-seeking popcorn flicks to its badass classic rock - Alpine Static is larger than life in a way we can all aspire to imitate in our everyday lives. While it is a soundtrack to grisly affairs - harrowing death marches, intense battles, high speed chases and narrow escapes - each of its characterizations seem endlessly cool in light of Kinski's raucous noise.

Here, Krautrock idols fight Sabbath to the death, though neither faction shows signs of tiring; exploding with intensity, round after round, the battle is bloody, gruesome and ultimately exhilarating as the audience clings to their seats in anticipation of every blow. Both influences are played skillfully - with great finesse on Kinski's part - and are never so far over the top that we stop believing in them. Alpine Static, while inherently visceral, is also emotionally gripping; this is another good quality for instrumental rock to possess, as the audience is thoroughly invested in each impending strike for good or evil.

The clash begins loudly with the overtly masculine, pounding riffs of "Hot Stenographer," the devil-may-care, fanned flames of "The Wives of Artie Shaw" and the majestic, riveting layers of the standout, "Hiding Drugs in the Temple (Part 2)". From here, however, matters grow more serious; note that the combat does not subside, but does allow for hushed exposition with "The Party Which You Know Will Be Heavy." This track may seem like a lull after such brutal fighting, but despite such appearances, it only allows you to regain composure before getting thoroughly pummeled by "Passed Out on Your Lawn." This cut, symbolizing a too-realistic alien encounter, resounds with chilling non-volume, exposing a frighteningly hollow soul.

As the sweet, somewhat holy flute sounds of "All Your Kids Have Turned to Static" provide hope of deliverance, we are again floored by surprising violence, hurrying our children off to safety to avoid certain torture. These somewhat muted tracks account for a much more terrifying fear than the opening onslaught; we can predict bloodshed in those first obvious shades of black and blue, but Alpine Static's eerily silent center snatches its victims mercilessly, letting no one escape unharmed.

Fortunately for our very eternal fate, we are allowed to pass through the lean, coarse offerings of "The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia" and the stilled static death knell of "Edge Set" to arrive at a peaceful, satisfying ending. "Waka Nusa" shows that, despite the horrible persecution we've witnessed throughout Alpine Static, the spirit of good has prevailed, badly bruised but firmly standing. At the album's conclusion, we ultimately realize we have been watching a battle where - while the heroes are sharp and imitable - the villains have triumphed at every stage until the end. Alpine Static, is a tale of valiant underdogs who have their day and, popcorn or no, shows that Kinski can craft a compelling saga without even a trace of dialog.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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