Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Skinny Puppy "Brap: Back & Forth Series 3 & 4"

Skinny Puppy “Brap: Back & Forth Series 3 & 4” has to be my favorite release from Skinny Puppy ever! There’s a lot of albums out there that they’ve done (with some of these songs in their original forms), but this particular release is my absolute favorite of theirs! It’s not even an album per se… it’s more a collection of instrumental demos (disc one) (1983/84) as well as some outtakes and live songs (disc 2) (1990/91)! This particular release came out in 1996, it featured an Enhanced CD component, where if you slipped either of the discs into a CD reader on your computer, a bunch of cool digital content would show up on your computer desktop! There was a 3D style VR interface based on the “Too Dark Park” album and a virtual walk through of the “Spasmolytic” single! I’m not gonna get into that part too much but, I kinda want to get into the sound of the release! This particular release was my very first Skinny Puppy release, oddly enough, I picked up a rare misprint of the CD artwork… I guess apparently the version I got had the “3” logo imprinted on both discs, when it should have a “3” on one and a “4” on the other… I realized a while after when I had talked to a friend at the time they were supposed to be labels “3” and “4” (I still have this copy). I had actually heard this album somewhere in my young adult years (19 or 20 years old) at a friend’s place, and I remember popping it into their CD player and listening to “Love In Vein” (disc 2), it was the first time I had heard Skinny Puppy, I loved it! Course I couldn’t really decipher the lyrics to their songs, at least back then, they seemed very abstract (nowadays is a little different). You could definitely tell that they were on some form of drug while recording these (some of my friends say the only way to truly figure out what their lyrics are about, is to drop acid and listen, although my drug days are long over, even before I purchased this release I had stopped [that might be a story for another time though]) Eventually, I purchased this CD, and after going through the first listen through… it was soo good! Just the quality of the audio, and the heavy sound it had. Even now when I listen to it, there is this sound quality to it. It’s not too processed, it sounds very heavy compared to their other releases with the same songs. It also, seems to be very bleak sounding… I am definitely curious where their headspace was when they were creating these songs! It’s amazing the quality of the audio too! The majority of the songs on disc 1 were originally recording on a 4-track portastudio… I am quite curious how they ended up with such high quality sound from a 4-track portastudio (you can tell there is a tiny bit of tape saturation on the recordings, but it is so subtle I don’t think an individual who isn’t already a musician/producer would notice)! After initially purchasing this double disc release, one of the first songs that was on repeat a lot was “Grave Wisdom” (disc 2)! I love the intro of the song… the weird dissonant bassline paired with the kick… something about the way it sounds. One of the songs off disc 1 also became a favorite of mine “Double Cross”, just soo bleak… “YoYo Scrape” was also another favorite! I loved playing it when friends were over, I love the intro to it as well! “Spasmolytic” (disc 2) was also another favorite, just for the sheer heavy electronics and drumming! I wish I could articulate exactly what this record, or rather how this record and the songs make me feel, but to be honest, I don’t think there are words that can articulate what I feel… The overall sense of the album is bleak… it actually kinda reminds me of Ministry “The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste” album, maybe not so much of the guitar based industrial stuff, but just the kind of sound it puts forward… just this bleak, bleak sound… maybe angst… where Ministry did that with guitars, Skinny Puppy did it with synths… I can only imagine what they were going through at that point in time, and what was going on around them! I was quite young when they started up, and their reality is/was quite different than mine, when they were playing out and making a name for themselves (their first release was in 1984), I was still in elementary school (6 years of age).At that time, they were trying to bring awareness to animal cruelty in lab testing… and I was trying to survive grade 1 here in Canada, lol! All I have to say is, if you haven’t checked out Skinny Puppy’s “Brap: Back & Forth Series 3+4”, go give it a listen (and listen to it multiple times)! It is truly worth it! It made me a fan for life! Maybe you’ll hear what I hear… the bleak, angst, the dissonance… Or, maybe you won’t... Or, if you have already, what do you think about this particular double disc release?

(Misprinted discs)

1 comment:

  1. I love this!!! I can't even begin to describe what Skinny Puppy means to me too! This is really fucking excellent and I will definitely check out the whole thing! I'm glad you posted this!!!