Ultrashiver - Review
The project known as The Secret Meeting is a new collaboration formed of member kaRIN and Statik of Collide and Dean Garcia from Curve. As this collaboration spans the globe with Garcia in the UK and the other two in Los Angeles, CA, it is quite a domentration of how great minds and talents can take music at any odds and put it together into something really great. The CD comes packaged in a jewel case with a large booklet with lyrics and full of what I would call some strange, but very intresting and cool psychadelic artwork (and for more, be sure to check out the website, very cool indeed).
I'm sure there was a lot of speculation from critics and fans of Curve and Collide about what the final result would be from this collaboration. Since both bands build on a similar background of a mix of grunge, shoegazer, goth, industrial, pop and psychadelic music, it's no surprise that we end up with something that one would really expect from this group. Over the course of the ten tracks on the album we are really presented with some great material, an unusual mix (as can be expected from the likes of Collide) of great music and vocals.
"Touch" slowly kicks off the album and sets the stage for the rest of the disc. As it slowly builds we're introduced to the airy electronics, somber bass and kaRIN's undulating, smooth vocals. We get a taste of some moving beats and the overall psychadelia that's created through the subtle mix of electronics and guitars. Leaving behind this somewhat somber and dreamy mood that permeates not only "Touch" but starts off "Am I Here?" as well, we're launched into the guitar crunching and industrial riffs about midway through "Every Little Thing" and then it all sort of comes out in full force again about halfway through the appropriately named "Beautiful Noise Machine". These crashing noisy riffs in the middle of these otherwise somber, dreamy tracks are what takes this music style and turns it all upside down and inside out and often leaves the listener feeling the same way. The side-effect is that you may have to be in a certain place or a certain mood to really let the music take over and do it's thing, otherwise these moments could be seen more as "interruptions" than the driving, grinding, fun pieces of music that they are.
As we make it to "Blacker Than Blue" we reach in my mind the apex of the album and what is the best "description" of what this collaboration have become. As you listen and take this piece apart you hear the main attributes of kaRIN's silky smooth vocals and the crushing guitars over the layers of electronics. The beat is nothing that you would find on a discoteque dance floor, but though it's somber it remains moving and interesting. All of the layers come together from the laid back, dreamy elements to the flip-side and the industrial noise. We continue to move on through these heavy textures on "SoulCreeper" though definitely more moving with a solid beat that forms a distinct backbone on this track. And how could you go wrong with a track named "Shooting Laser Beams"? If ever there were a psychadelic hint on this album, this is definitely it.
The final trio of tracks maintain that same hypnotic element with an even broader range of musical styles. From the goth/industrial genre perspective, the excellent bass and percussion on "Forwards and Sideways" are stellar as they move along with a solid groove, building, adding layers of guitar and more body. "Shiver X" dives into the shoegazer pattern of starting somber and gradually building with layer upon layer of crunching guitars to a climax then dropping off and starting all over again. This brings us to the final piece "Imaginate" which wraps up the album with style. What more can be said? kaRIN's vocals carry the piece along gracefully over the grinding music, which is amazing how it all fits together, though it's all so different.
Label: Noiseplus Music