Los Angeles Electric 8 - Plays Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, Braddock, Siegel, and Kohl
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Los Angeles Electric 8
Plays Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, Braddock, Siegel, and Kohl
(Self Released)

Over the course of the past ten years or so, the idea of a string quartet tribute to a modern music group has gone from a novelty to a joke. Doing a simple search for "string quartet tribute" at your online music store will give you a mind-boggling selection that includes everyone from Moby to laughers like Linkin Park and Fall Out Boy. On the flip side, there have also been groups that have re-interpreted classical music using new technologies (William Orbit's Pieces In A Modern Style comes to mind), but the market fortunately hasn't been quite as flooded (likely because it's possibly a bit harder).

The Los Angeles Electric 8 are a group of artists who re-interpret classical works on electric guitars, and don't sound quite like what you might expect. They certainly don't back away from challenging works, and the end result is music that obviously has classical roots, but will easily appeal to fans of both post rock and probably even progressive rock.

It may just be a coincidence, but their pieces by more modern composers play out more interestingly. "Ill Tempered Lancaran" by Nathaniel Braddock kicks off the release and is absolutely stunning as intertwining higher melodies play off one another as sparse low notes ring out and fret noise adds texture. It's delicate and a bit haunting, and sounds something like what one might hear if Explosions In The Sky added a few more guitars and lost their drummer. Likewise, the more recent "Balinesa" by Randall Kohl finds the group refracting multiple melodic passages off one another while gaining a feverish, almost phased effect that touches on sweet minimalism.

More difficult, but a little more technical and cold feeling are the prelude and scherzo sections of "Octet Op. 11" by Dmitri Shostakovich, and it's here where the group really locks into a proggy feel at times as they move through the rapid, winding piece. Mendelssohn's "Organ Sonata In F Minor" suffers from some of the same issues, but fortunately the group closes the release with the stunning twenty-one minutes of "Domino Figures" by Wayne Siegel, which again finds the eight locking into a hypnotic minimal piece that progresses in absolutely beautiful ways. Fans of guitar-based post rock music will definitely want to look into this. It's unique, and far away from the stuffy release one might expect.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2008-06-12 21:18:40