TMX: Music Is Math v. Starship Trooper

Tomorrow sometimes seems like a week away. Anyway, this time Rich and I are exchanging “Ready Lets Go/Music Is Math,” by the Boards of Canada, and “Starship Trooper,” by Yes. Rich offered this bit for me before I listened to BoC:

Artist: Boards of Canada Album: Geogaddi Tracks: Ready Lets Go / Music Is Math Label: Warp Records Released: 2002

Within the first few minutes of listening to this album, Boards of Canada had established themselves, without question, as one of my top 5 favorite bands.

Quite simply, the music is audio psychedelia–rich in sonic depth and texture, and emotionally evocative. It is completely electronic, and yet altogether human.

I don’t want to spoil the experience with too much hype, so relax, sit back, close your eyes and take the ride. And this is how I introduced “Starship Trooper”: Okay, rich(e)rich, my next song is “Starship Trooper,” by Yes. This came out in 1970 off The Yes Album, which contains the wildly overplayed “I’ve Seen All Good People.” If I had to choose a favorite Yes album, it would tough to decide between this one and Close to the Edge.

I like prog rock. What can I say? Yes is one of those divisive bands–most of my friends really don’t like them, or, worse, confuse them with Rush. My parents, who, in all honesty, shaped my musical tastes from an early age, don’t like Yes, since bands like them and ELP represent the downfall of album format rock-and-roll. I dug Yes before Pink Floyd, before Led Zeppelin. It’s just one of those things that appealed to me as a kid, and still does.

Now, why “Starship Trooper”? Well, your first song was 8 minutes long, so I figured that all time restraints were off. ;) Next, this song has what I consider to be a perfect build. Starting at about 5:36, there’s just a guitar playing a lick, it’s subtly joined in by organ and drum, then bass, and it just builds from this one riff. It grips me every time I hear it. It goes on forevah!, but it holds me for every second. There’s a false crescendo two minutes in, and it still goes on. There’s this wall of sound that just grows and grows. When it finally does peak, at about 8:25, I get all wobbly. Seriously. That’s what music does to me. If I’m listening through headphones, I’ll tear up when that peak hits from the release of the tension.

I’m not expecting the same visceral reaction from you, of course. After we listen to the tracks, I’ll post our reactions and set up next week’s exchange.