Top positive review
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Another trip for mind and heart
on 28 January 2008
TMV's music is always going to be a trip for mind and heart. "The bedlam in Goliath" is no different. As I write this I am listening to TMV's latest offering for the third straight time through. A musical maelstrom, going for a few rounds with your favorite merciless boxer, come up with your own adjectives and superlatives ... but nothing can deny that TMV still have it and are in fact continuing to explore and develop it with their 4th studio release.
The music is violently articulate: all instruments scream at the listener, grabs her attention and shake her head clear of whatever activity she might be wanting to engage in. TMV will not be background music, nor rest easy playing little ditties in the background. They demand, and deserve it is true, to be listened to at centre stage.
Drawing from a rich well-spring of free-jazz, improvisation and heavy prog (think King Crimson's break outs in "21st century", for example, or Van der Graaf Generator's chaos during "Lighthouse Keeper's" or PH's own "Black Room") TMV flaunt their amazing musical prowess, even turning a Syd Barrett song into something from out of his most ambitious punk-psychedelia dream-states.
Listening to this aural banquet I can see closer links emerging between "The bedlam in Goliath" and the raw, uncompromising exploitation of instrumentation, soundscapes, and time signatures one would expect to hear from the 5uu's or even the Thinking Plague and some of their RIO peers, such as Etron Fou Leloublan or even a more manic NeBelNest. These share the same kind of willingness to throw musical forms out of the window in favor of pursuing musical functionality - saying what they want to first and foremost and then allowing the musical forms to blossom around that expressive function. As a hard-core fan of RIO I just really find myself grooving to "The bedlam in Goliath", and as with previous TMV releases, one finds greater levels of intensity nestled within the musical syntax itself ... peel back the layers and discover a universe waiting within. One can select a strand and follow it through the intricate progressions. For example, at first the horns aren't as in your face as in "Amputechture", but that doesn't mean that they are not there - they are, though this time one must peel back the layers of guitar or vox to create the space within which the saxophone becomes more of a lead instrument. And that is the key I think to a lot of RIO and TMV music: each instrument is playing a lead relative to the musical expression, and it is by wrapping itself in the formality of musical expression in a western "rock" idiom that these different leads are gathered together, forming a musically dense and very rich sound-scape.
Many won't like it I am sure. But I am also sure that TMV would probably retort that it wasn't for them anyway. Blow your mind, clean out the cobwebs, buy/borrow/download/rip the album, put on decent headphones on a decent sound system, clear your calendar for 90 minutes, grab a beverage and anything else you might want, turn the lights down and the volume up and let TMV take you on a syncopated trip as only they and very few others can.