12 November 2006

Octochordal Electro-lutes

Speaking of double-quaternary catgut hypermandolins, last weekend I picked up the reissue version of Meshuggah's album Nothing. It's mostly the same as the original, except that the guitars were re-recorded with 8-string guitars instead of down-tuned 7-strings. The songs were written for the 8-string tuning (F B♭ E♭ A♭ D♭ G♭ B♭ E♭), but in order to finish the album in time for the Ozzfest tour, they recorded it with the 7-strings they had, because the custom 8-strings were not done yet.

Overall the album sounds much better with the improved clarity and responsiveness of the 8-string guitars. Because they have the longer scale lengths required for such low pitches (these are bass guitars with some bonus treble strings), they sound much more natural and clear. The difference makes a musical difference; for example, "Glints Collide" sounds much funkier and crisper since the strings aren't so flabby and unresponsive. Similarly, the annoying "flam-like" effect between the guitars, bass, and kick drum (most obvious in the original on "Rational Gaze") is gone. That's good, although you now sort of miss the audibility of the bass and kick drum.

The Nothing reissue comes as a set with the CD and a DVD of some videos (the "New Millennium Cyanide Christ" video is the same as the one on Rare Trax) and live clips. The live clips are good, but overall the DVD feels like an add-on thrown in to entice chumps like me into buying another copy of an album they already had.

Only rabid fans like me really need both versions; normal people only need the reissue. The reissue also has lyrics printed in the CD insert, for the people that care about that sort of thing...

(If the flat signs show up as question marks or squares and you are using Firefox on Windows, set the page character encoding to Windows Western. View -> Character Encoding -> Western (Windows-1252).)

Currently listening to: A discussion of how Richard Dawkins and the extropians are religious zealots

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