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Modulate CD

2 customer reviews

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Bob Mould
Beauty & Ruin

“It’s a song cycle. A narrative. It’s nobody’s story but my own… I ran so fast from my past that I caught up with myself. This album is acknowledging that and dealing with every year getting a little tougher.”

Bob Mould’s new album Beauty & Ruin may very well be the most epic emotional roller coaster ever ... Read more in Amazon's Bob Mould Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Cooking Vinyl
  • ASIN: B0000658QI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,544 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. 180 Rain
2. Sunset Safety Glass
3. Semper Fi
4. Homecoming Parade
5. Lost Zoloft
6. Without
7. Slay/Sway
8. Receipt
9. Quasar
10. Soundonsound
11. Homery
12. Comeonstrong
13. Trade
14. Author's Lament
15. Slay/Sway
16. Comeonstrong
17. Sunset Safety Glass

Product Description

Product Description

Modulate

Amazon.co.uk

Distancing himself from both the lacerating punk tunesmithery of his legendary hardcore trio Hüsker Dü and all the elements of his subsequent acoustic/power-pop toggling solo career, Modulate is the result of Bob Mould throwing out his notebooks and starting his diary clean.

By adapting loops, grooves, samplers, vocoders; varying tape speeds and other silicon-chip-driven gadgetry and restructuring his songwriting process, he’s doing what’s known in the trade as a Kid A. In other words, he’s gone weird.

Whether it's a genuine volte-face or a plain old faux-pas, it’s a brave man who can switch artistic allegiance from guitar-rock to the likes of synth-washed impressionism and electronica while ignoring the shrieks of "treason" and "witchcraft" from his core supporters. By venturing this far, Mould has bravely ignored all the warnings, principally the rotting corpse of Neil Young's Trans album, which still dangles from a gibbet out on the moors as an example to other rockers who should care to dabble with the black arts of electronic experimentation.

Despite the sheen of innovation, Mould has had his moments of sonic esotericism before (even Zen Arcade wasn’t exactly wall-to-wall speedball punk angst) in light of which, such moments as the violin-squawking sonic contortion of "Homecoming Parade" and the random piano plinking of "Without " are less revolutionary than might be anticipated.

Despite the new awkwardness there are enough tunes (the drivetime quasi-dance of "Sunset Safety Glass"; the mumbled vocals and martial-rhythm of "Semper Fi" and even "Trade", a song which dates from the Warehouse Songs and Stories sessions) for this to pass as a decent Bob Mould album. --Kevin Maidment

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 May 2002
Format: Audio CD
Don't be put off by reviews you might have seen from the states where Modulate has been out for a month or so. Yes - this is a shift in direction for Bob, fusing his trade mark wall of sound guitar riffs with electro music, but it is still Bob. SoundonSound, Comeonstrong and Slay/Sway (which has the great lines - "And then I'm stuck in a room/The Sex Pistols began to play/It was lame in predictable way") will sound immediately familiar: menacing chords clashing with great melodies. Other tracks like 180 Rain and Quasar are more straight forward electro. On the whole this works great. If punk was reinvented afresh today this is what it would sound like. Buy it
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 May 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is Bob Mould's 'electronic' album, and to me it sounds like he hasn't got a clue what he's doing. The impression I get whenever I listen to 'Modulate' is one of someone dabbling with the technology, not really sure of themselves. The songs are buried under layers of clumsy, tuneless electronic meanderings. That said, there are one or two moments where the old Bob shines through, such as 'The Receipt', and 'Trade' is a fine pop song. Perhaps if Bob had collaborated with someone or had some of this remixed, it could have sounded good. I respect Bob's decision to try new ways of presenting his songs, but this is a big let down. A shame.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 61 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Career of modulation 19 Mar. 2002
By Paul Mcdonough - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
For those who have written off this album (the 18th of Bob's career), it is important to remember that Husker Du was written off after Zen Arcade by the hardcore kids and after they jumped to Warner Bros by many "purists." Bob was then written off himself by most "punks" after Workbook. The post Black Sheets of Rain Mould (particularly in Sugar) was much more like New Day rising and Flip your wig Husker Du and as such brought many of the "alternative music" crowd into the fold. However, one group has always welcomed the change and the freshness Bob brings to each project and those are music fans. While I was weaned on punk and guitar-driven rock, this album still contains all of the elements of a Bob Mould record. Great songwriting, lyrics about betrayal, confusion and ascendance and tremendous melodies. This is epitomized in the track Slay/Sway, a classic piece of Mould songwriting. Admittedly, it took me more than a few listens to get into this record, but to those who also take the time, you will be rewarded.
Paul M
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Suprisingly great... 16 Mar. 2002
By Justin Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
...or not so suprisingly if you have followed Bob's work of the last decade. I'm a big Husker Du/Sugar/solo Bob Mould fan, and I have to say that Modulate far exceeded any expectations I had. On first listen I thought the album was okay, but repeated listens has brought out a lot more subtle details that really make the album better; this is an album that needs to be consistently listened to to fully appreciate it. Song highlights for me- Trade, semper fi, quasar, and slay/sway. The part that surprised me the most is how melodic his voice sounds throughout the disc, the catchy vocal lines will stick in your head for days.
Now a word about the negative comments that will (and have) inevitably spring up regarding such a big departure for a well-liked artist. It almost makes me laugh to read the reviews that not only don't give the album a chance, but are obviously written from a close-minded perspective. Listen to the radio if you want Husker Du and Sugar-like material. There's plenty of people making that kind of music derivitive of what Bob made eons ago. Don't expect Bob to join them.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Same old Bob with a new flavor 13 Mar. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I approached the new Bob Mould record with a little uneasiness. I mean, how could the genius who gave us such rocking classics like "Celebrated Summer","Makes No Sense At All","Helpless" and "Moving Trucks" go electronic? Long time fans.....don't worry. Bob has changed his sound a bit, but it's still Bob. The first couple of tracks might shock a few people, but in a good way. The trance/dance track "Sunset Safety Glass" is amazing and Bob still has that familiar yearning in his voice. "Lost Zolofit" almost sounds like a My Bloody Valentine song from Isnt Anything. Excellent track! Think Bob left out his trademark electric guitar? Don't worry, tracks like "Sound On Sound" and "Come on Strong" have that buzzsaw guitar intact, with Bobs awesome lyrics and pop sensibilites shining through. But the hands down best track on the record is "Trade". This song sounds like it was lifted from 1989's workbook except it has a danceable beat. Have no fear Bob Mould fans, "Modulate" is still Bob...but with different sounds to entrance us. Buy it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Guitar challenges his fans with an album from left field 14 Aug. 2007
By Sal Nudo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Departure" is a common word to use when describing an artist who severely strays from his or her normal sound. It's also a somewhat overused term. In the case of Bob Mould's "Modulate" CD, however, the word departure is almost an understatement. This CD is nearly as different from 1992's Copper Blue as Kylie Minogue is to Guns n' Roses. (OK, perhaps that's an exaggeration; still, it is quite different from Mould's normal fare.)

"180 Rain" leads off "Modulate," a tune sprinkled with what I would label electronic fairy dust. Mould's voice is in good form -- when he's using his natural pipes. Elsewhere, "Sunset Safety Glass" comes across as generic club music, though Mould deserves credit for the solid job he did on the rest of the album's dancelike tracks. "Quasar," for instance, is a hip-sounding dance-club number that surprisingly works, and it boasts a catchy refrain that could get anyone singing.

I usually loathe it when music reviewers use the word "filler" (another overused term) to describe what they hear on CDs. Nonetheless, I can only describe several of the interludes between actual songs on this CD as filler, empty bridges of nothingness that stagnate "Modulate" a tad.

Amid the occasional lightweight noises are several classic Bob Mould moments in updated form. "Semper Fi" contains a cool chunky guitar sound behind high-pitched synth and Mould's equally high-pitched, somewhat strained voice. "Lost Zoloft" is also good stuff, a mellow, dance-worthy tune with relaxed vocals and interesting lyrics. "Slay/Sway" is classic Bob Mould, the third best song on "Modulate," and would have fit right in with the best of Sugar's work. In fact, "Slay/Sway" reminds me of some of the material from File Under: Easy Listening. Besting "Slay/Sway" is "The Receipt," which, to purposely sound like a broken record, is classic Bob Mould/Sugar work. Unfortunately, "The Receipt" is all too short at just over two minutes, before it dissolves into a whirl of synthesizer. The best tune on "Modulate" is "Comeonstrong," which boasts an ultra-catchy riff, smooth-sounding vocals and real rock `n' roll drumming.

After putting it away for months on end and coming back to it, "Modulate" is not nearly as bad (or even as much of a departure) as I initially thought. There are some great rock tracks on this CD; you just have to sift through the more ethereal stuff to get to them. My final analysis: Mould deserves a three-and-a-half star rating for "Modulate," and five solid stars for challenging his fans to the fullest.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Bob goes off on a tangent 6 May 2006
By Kiff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
OK, I admit I was expecting another of Mould's usual incredible outings of bracing, guitar-driven power-pop, and I admit that I miss that traditional post-Husker Du sound on this outing. However, as a longtime fan of everything Bob, "Modulate" (a very apt name, by the way) does have its merits. Miles Davis was equally experimental at many points in his career.

Mould has always been one to try a new sound, a new way of doing things. Whoever would have expected Husker Du to develop into the incredibly tight, melodic, hyperdrive rock unit they eventually became, after listening to "Land Speed Record"?!?

Although I don't like everything on "Modulate" by any means, I am willing to consider it another "Land Speed Record", another beginning, an offshoot in an entirely new direction. Hell, "Workbook" was pretty strange after listening to Husker Du for all those years, but I loved it. This album is not up to the same level as "Workbook", but it certainly isn't terrible, either. It's an experiment with new instruments and production methods, and I doubt very much that it will define a "new Bob Mould" that older fans will reject. I certainly am not expecting him to turn into New Order, Bjork, or Erasure (some of the most prominent influences on this album). Give the man a chance. He's been playing the same kind of guitar rock for decades now. He deserves a chance to try something else for a change. Maybe it didn't work out the way he intended, but it's good for a listen anyhow.
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