Chimp Spanner - All Roads Lead Here (Basick Records)

Chimp Spanner; a musical evolution.
Release Date: 
24 Jan 2012 - 12:30am

Leave your prejudice and pre-conceived ideas at the door if you want to really appreciate this weird (and wonderful) piece of work because this EP will may well challenge your ideas about genre, music and style. Chimp Spanner is the solo project of Paul Ortiz (though he does work with other musicians on the live shows) and it’s a mixed bag of musical stylings, to say the least...

The opener A Dark Age of Technology has guts and it’s heavy yet the keyboards and soaring lead guitars that give it an almost ‘easy listening’ kind of feel. It reminds me of a lot of stuff from the 70’s and 80’s but heavier. A Dark Age leads effortlessly into Engrams, which at just under two minutes in length, slips by ever so gently. The ethereal guitars are like the caress of an angel’s wing on your face and the entire track is gone before you know it.

Mobius Part 1 is ambience personified. It’s like a huge hit of valium chased down with a cheap bourbon; the mellowness is joined at the hip with djent influences (I’d go as far as to say it’s ‘djazz’...) and it’s the sort of instrumental sound that you either love or hate. It’s technical and there are strings upon strings of notes, blurring the boundaries between genres – the djent guitar married to the synth of (forgive me!) Toto or some such AOR?!

Mobius Part 2 could have been added to Parts 1 & 3 to make one epic 15 minute track, though admittedly Part 2 takes us in a different musical direction. It gets a touch more ‘punchy’ and makes you realise that it’s all a state of mind, man - the juxtaposition of heavy, technical guitar against a backdrop of really mellow keyboard challenges the ear. Do I like it? Yes, indeed...

Mobius Part 3 really drives home the point that each part is distinct yet it’s obvious they’re all different parts of the same beast. It gets a bit ‘cock-rock’ at times with widdly guitars but you can’t dislike it for that. This kind of music really is ambiguous, and is completely dependent upon the listener’s attitude towards it. You think it’s shit? Then it is. You think it’s fantastic? Then it is. Yes, I know that all art is a subjective experience but some is more subjective than others. Ruminate on that for a while, hippy.

The final track is Cloud City and it really is prog rock for a new generation. I can’t explain this very weird phenomena. This track is almost lounge or elevator music?! And I’m loving that fat twanging bass...

Without wishing to appear all art wanky; I like this kind of stuff because, being an ancient beast, I have musical context (see my review of Comm by The Tangent) and, for me, All Roads can stand on it’s own merits - but will a lot of the youngtard crew have the context to appreciate All Roads Lead Here? Maybe, like me, they'll appreciate it for what it is; a snapshot of musical evolution. I fucking hope so...

Just as a side note, there's also an EP floating about with four remixes of Supererogation; it's totally fucking awesome if you like something a bit more fruity than your usual dose of metal. Go sniff it out.