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2 Am Wake Up Call

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x937a3abc) out of 5 stars 25 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x928d7948) out of 5 stars powerful stuff - my favorite release of 2004 26 Feb. 2006
By Rich Latta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
. . . and the best album I've heard in a long while.

"ruby" - sounds like an uncertain netherworld that lies between consciousness and sleep. Employs a style similar to my still favorite tweaker track ("linoleum") which involves punctuating a gorgeous song with roaring guitars. This one's a killer, and Will Oldham has such a haunting voice. ***** INCREDIBLE

"cauterized" - an ominous instrumental. Creating palpable atmospheres you can virtually slide into doesn't get any better than this album . . . *****

"worse than yesterday" - Chris Vrenna is so much more than a mere percussionist, but the electronic rhythms he creates are in a class of their own. This particular song is a real downer, but a beautiful one. ****1/2

"truth is" - this slinky track features Robert Smith in a somewhat tragicomic serial-seducer mode, like a misogynist buttering up his prey. Unlike some other reviewers here, I'm a HUGE Cure fan. Obviously Chris Vrenna is as well, and many of the excellent electronic sounds used here were pioneered by the Cure. I'll concede that The Cure's latest self-titled release was a disappointment (and the singing was harder than ever for Cure detractors to take), but Smith pulls off a luscious lower key register on "truth is." The track is loaded with dripping electronics and pounding drum muscle at the chorus - it's one of the coolest tracks I've heard Smith on in a while. ****1/2

"remorseless" - a jarring, infectious techno track. ****1/2

"pure genius" - is a further exploration of what is probably a diabolically psychotic mind. Or maybe it's about a master card shark . . . gotta say, I really love Vrenna's taste in music and/or guest singers - David Sylvian's discography is another one of my obsessions. "pure genius" has a really sexy lounge-jazz feel to it, but it's also kinda creepy . . . *****

"it's still happening" - this song is HIGH: it's my favorite track on 2 A.M. WAKEUP CALL. Worth the price of admission alone . . . the singer has an otherworldly, almost Middle-Eastern voice and the vibe is ecstatic. ***** TIPS THE GOD SCALE

"2 a.m." - what will really blow you away is the incredible musicianship all over the album. This particular track has tuneful, twinkling guitar and out-of-this-world orchestration. Peaceful and uplifting. *****

"movement of fear" - written in part by Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets - yet more artists I love). This song comes from the days they were together in Tones On Tail. The singer sounds like Daniel Ash, but he isn't credited (- who's singing?). Thundering atmosphere with synths that drip like hot glue, an excellent Spanish-tinged trumpet - this song is yet another highlight in an album of highlights. *****

"sleepwalking away" - sounds like it could've been a great Siouxsie B-side (some of her best songs are "downside up") - polyrhythms abound and the chorus is fantastically punky. But the singer is actually Nick Young - clearly a new voice to listen for. *****

"the house I grew up in" - we're getting deep into the night as indicated by some random network on T.V. signing off into the wires with "America the Beautiful," followed by static and Johnny Marr's expertly strummed acoustic guitar. Marr certainly proves he is still in the upper echelon of guitarists on this track. It's an extremely moving instrumental. *****

"crude sunlight" - a record needle repeating the rhythm of a run-out groove gets transformed into a sensuous snare drum, then guest singer Jennifer Charles uses her oh-so-sexy voice to slice open her heart for us and pour out her darkest recesses. This cut squeezes my soul - it's also the best track on the album. ***** TRIP-HOP IN SEVENTH HEAVEN ECSTASY

. . . destined to be an all-time favorite.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x928d3804) out of 5 stars A huge step forward. 3 Aug. 2005
By Michael Stack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Chris Vrenna's Tweaker project has grown. Whereas "The Attraction to All Things Uncertain" was a decent album that showed a lot of good ideas but sometimes felt a bit too much like Vrenna's old employer, "2 a.m. Wakeup Call" is a step in the right direction. Inspired largely by his wife's insomnia, and joined this time by songwriting/construction partner Clint Walsh, vrenna delivers a much more varied and satisfying listen.

All in all, the album holds together nicely, with a dark and subdued tone, hinting at frustration, tension and impatience. It works significantly better as a statement, with the vocalist feeling additive rather than opposing as they often felt on the previous album. The music ranges from goofy and bouncey to subdued and minimalist to explosive, loud and aggressive. And while gues Robert Smith probably steals the show with his almost lazy sounding vocal on the constantly shifting "Truth Is", the whole record has got its moments, from the nearly Jane's Addiction energy of "It's Still Happening" to the delicate and plodding "Crude Sunlight" to the unnervingly haunting and brilliant Tones on Tail cover, "Movement of Fear".

It's not quite the masterpiece you'd like it to be, but its a rather good record, and its well worth the investment for fans of unique music. Recommended.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9321b264) out of 5 stars dreams, nightmares and insomnia... 5 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Former Nine Inch Nails collaborator/drummer Chris Vrenna is mostly known for production and remix work with an impressive array of artists including U2, David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Lords of Acid, VAST, and Rob Zombie. Vrenna calls Tweaker his "quasi-solo project." 2 a.m. wakeup call is the follow-up to his 2001 debut the attraction of all things uncertain.
2 a.m is a concept album based on dreams, nightmares and insomnia-anything and everything that keeps us up at night. Vrenna, and co-conspirator Clint Walsh (formerly of Jack Off Jill) drew inspiration for the project from the time when the world is fast asleep-a time when Vrenna's wife suffers insomnia, bolting awake every night at the same time-2 a.m.
I was prepared for the same programmed noises that characterized Tweaker's debut, but then, Vrenna pulled the rug out from under my ears. In these songs, he reveals a more skillful arrangement that exploits the best of his collaborations with varied guest performers Robert Smith (The Cure), Johnny Marr (The Smiths), wunderkind Jonathan Bates (aka Mellowdrone), musician/actor Will Oldham, Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen), Nick Young (1/2 of the Young brothers who form 2/3 of the group A.I. that also happens to feature Pablo Manzarek, son of The Doors' Ray Manzarek), David Sylvian (Japan) and Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields). Each collaborator was asked "What keeps you up at night? What do you dream about?" The result was each singer's interpretation of their answers in lyrical form. Vrenna took great pains to include live drums, acoustic guitar, piano, and glockenspiel, capturing an emotional, organic performance.
2 a.m. is a masterful work, an incredible array of layers and textures that takes a third, a fifth and a twentieth listen to catch. But the listen is well worth it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93819348) out of 5 stars A review of tweaker's "2 a.m. Wakeup Call" 17 Oct. 2012
By Paul M. Guyet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While Chris Vrenna has said the concept of 2 a.m. Wakeup Call was birthed from his wife's battle with insomnia, I think it comes from falling asleep under a broken, malfunctioning clock, as there seems to be a massive one lurking just behind and underneath and, sometimes, intertwined with each and every song on the album.

The album starts brilliantly with Will Oldham's quavering, almost childlike voice reflecting on the subjects of dreams and sickness and how "the color of his dreams, if he had dreams, would be you, ruby" over a simple guitar that explodes at the chorus, only to retreat momentarily before once again exploding, this time accompanied by Oldham screaming at the top of his lungs.
This first track, "Ruby", sets the tone perfectly for the journey into dreams and nightmares the listener is about to embark upon.

All right. From the first time I heard this track, I wanted it to be the theme to a new, darker animated Batman series. The series from the mid to late 90's is timeless and works perfectly with its full orchestral score, but "Cauterized" would be perfect for a less stylized, more realistic Batman cartoon.
All right, I just "said" the words "a more realistic Batman cartoon".
Okay, forget everything I've said about this track thus far and just picture Batman kicking some dudes asses when it plays. There. Leave me alone.

Worse Than Yesterday
Depression = sleep
This seems to be about that. Maybe it was raining when the sleeper fell asleep. Everything feels slowed, gelled. Etc.

Truth Is
Easily the biggest name associated with tweaker, Robert Smith, was made for this track...or, much more likely, this track was made for him. His overly dramatic delivery fits so well with the hyperbole and pathological lies that make up the lyrics. And that bass? Feel it in your chest...damn! So slinky and durty...just right for the tone of this track. And the nonchalance and glee with which Smith confesses at the end of the song? Brilliant.

"Remorseless" sounds like the EKG for some dark, slumbering disco robot monster...or perhaps an alarm alerting us that said dark, slumbering disco robot monster has broken loose from its restraints and has started dancemurdering again. Either way, they had me at dark, slumbering disco robot monster.

Pure Genius
I'd like to base a dramatic television show about a private detective on "Pure Genius". It would be on Fox and only last one season...but it would have a small yet loyal following. The song would also be perfect for a dark and cerebral remake of Ocean's Eleven, maybe directed by Chris Nolan.

It's Still Happening
While Hamilton Leithauser's voice works great with "It's Still Happening" and there's a lot of interesting stuff going on sonically, the track tends to get a bit repetitive. Maybe some more lyrics or another bridge or something would have brought it all the way home, but, what can you do?

2 a.m.
"2 a.m." has some nice ambiance and textures hiding behind, and occasionally getting swallowed up by, the lovely, unassuming acoustic guitar. Perhaps this track is meant for Vrenna's wife, who inadvertently originated the concept for this album. A really excellent aural representation of a dreamscape...and there's that broken clock again.

Movement Of Fear
Ugh. If every masterpiece needs a wet fart, then I suppose that this is it. This sounds less like a "Movement Of Fear" and more like a "Movement of A Gritty, Sad, Scummy, Sticky Strip Bar On The Outskirts of Las Vegas".
It's just so over the top...
Ugh again.
Too much cheese for this to move anywhere.

Sleepwalking Away
After the bowel movement of fear, we have another weak link in the otherwise solid tweaker album, "Sleepwalking Away". Nick Young howling the words "Sleepwalking away! Sleepwalking awaaaaaay!!!" is neither what I expected nor what I wanted from this song. It's especially jarring after (most) everything else on this has been right on the nose. It's incongruous to the point of curiosity. In a nutshell, I think this album, as a whole would have been better without this.

The House I Grew Up In
Things start to get better with the penultimate track, "The House I Grew Up In".

Crude Sunlight
As "Ruby" is the perfect opener, "Crude Sunlight" is the perfect closer. Jennifer Charles' vocals flawlessly capture that languid, syrupy quality of existence on the infinitesimal, vast continent between asleep and awake while the music, led tenuously forward by a searching, watery piano, sounds just like something one might hear at the tail end of a dream. At times, she chooses veracity over clarity and almost slurs her words, as if you're hearing someone talk in their sleep, and, although you can't always make out exactly what she's saying, the sense of struggling to remember something from a dream, maybe important, maybe not, is always crystal clear.

And then, after a final swelling of sadness: you're awake. Just like that.
The dream is over.
The nightmare is over.
The night is over.

The third and final* tweaker album, call the time eternity, is coming out in exactly one week. I've seen nothing but favorable reviews and, while my hopes are high, Vrenna is really going to have to outdo himself to even come close to knocking 2 a.m. Wakeup Call from its pedestal.

But I'm excited to hear him try.

* Just Tweeted by @tweakermusic: "to clarify 'call the time eternity' may or may not be the last tweaker album. sometimes the end is only the beginning. " A ray of hope..?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92e1de70) out of 5 stars Better than the first album 10 Aug. 2006
By Bunji Kugashira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
2 A.M. Wakeup Call is the second album from producer, remixer, ex former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna under the name Tweaker. Continuing his fondness for conceptual works, 2 A.M. is a journey through a variety of nocturnal disturbances. Warm tones of piano and acoustic guitar moderate the electronic flourishes, taking the chill off songs exploring insomnia-inducing subjects like deep depression ("Worse Than Yesterday"), the manic mind ("Pure Genius") and somnambulism ("Sleepwalking Away"). 2 A.M. also finds the composer crafting tunes for interpretation by other voices, though Vrenna had guest vocalists (including David Sylvian, Robert Smith and Will Oldham) write their unique lyrical visions for his mini-soundtracks.I was disappointed with the first album but 2 A.M Wakeup Call is a brillant work from Chris Vrenna.
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