It is time for Pneuma, a song that might just be the best individual piece of the album. At first it sounded very contradictory and really did not fit pleasantly to every situation (and it still doesn’t), but it has a load of substance: the instrumental performance is done spot on and Maynard does a heck of a job on the vocals; one might even claim this could be the best vocal performance he has ever done on album. I decided to divide the texts in two parts to make them more easily readable. This first part is focused more to the technical side of the tune while the second will be a text describing “a trip of psyche” inspired by the musical story and the landscape it paints into my mind.
Lingering overture gives a promise to expect growth, slow and unhurried. It even gives a hint of a possible climax. A bursting release of tension that will build during the consciously prolonged pleasure of the following nearly twelve minutes of sounds.
When the piece really begins, it sounds very familiar: instruments playing with their individual rhythms make the metronome inside my head stumble and fall for a few moments. Deep vocals bouncing here and there, virtually erratic, raise fond and familiar memories from the past albums. Guitars and their intonations remind of the melodies from Schism, buried deep in the unconscious parts of the brain. The instrumental performance and convincingly breaking vocals do not care about the illogical sensation of the listener. They swirl and dance gracefully through the verse, but the steps are hard to follow for a regular consumer of music like me. That is what I love though, hard and compelling. Because then I’ll be granted an opportunity to learn something new. Is there a different substance to be found in all this? Some mathematical or numerological meaning? I wouldn’t know. I’ll let someone wiser to ponder on that, maybe a mathematician. I won’t walk that path, not yet.
After the verse has offered a wonderfully rhythmic stumbling sensation, my mind has time to rest for a bit during the straightforward interlude. The riff could be from my guitar. I don’t own one, but anyway: the interlude sounds surprisingly basic after the kinky circus of cadence during the verse. While the surprise is great and it got me thinking: what just happened? Did they throw the younger generation on stage instead of the proge veterans I was listening to? The interlude still sits pleasantly between the bumpy verses.
The interlude which gave a random first impression now shows it’s true purpose after another round of pleasurable bumpiness: it’s a seedbed, slow, delicate but steady base to build the climax upon. The prolonged growing march of sounds that begins marks the most controversial moment in this tune for me: when the instruments and general soundscape grow to remind me of a rhythmic palpitating sound of a loosely running motorbike and to a bulldozing wall of sounds… It begins to irritate. Some times. And sometimes it doesn’t irritate. Other times it sounds very good. What is this? This might be the first sign that the album needs a particular moment and mindset, a certain company and environment to be fully enjoyed. The first track of the album didn’t give out this sign and was almost practically fitting for any situation A piece that you’d listen to fairly easily and with what to softly promote the upcoming album release. In that regard it was a splendid choice to be the first single!
The pleasure is more easily obtained after the erratic rhythm makes it’s return. It’s played louder and felt deeper. One more time! But where is the climax? Where is the eruption of pleasure? Did this end prematurely? Yes, it really did, but there is yet time. There is no hurry and the journey has just begun. Does the tension that you’ve built with such patience always have to be discharged in a violent and liberating way? Or could you just enjoy the growing tension for what it is without an expectancy of fulfillment? Could the Journey you took together be more important than the goal?
I think it could. And should.
Becky Smith – Guardian of Grammar
Laura Collins (http://instagram.com/ljcshutter/) – Inciting Inspiration