Wednesday, March 3, 2010
[spinner.com] One of the most integral parts of any Minus the Bear jam is a twisty, complex Dave Knudson guitar line. But on 'My Time,' the first track from the Seattle, Wash. band's 'Omni,' due May 4, you won't hear one. In fact, you won't hear his guitar at all because Knudson's got a brand new toy.
"I got this weird Japanese Omnichord synthesizer, and we wrote a song around it. It's got drumbeats and different instrument sounds. It's got this weird Nintendo-y sound," Knudson tells Spinner. "Odd little piece of gear, but it's cool to be able to write a Minus the Bear song without me playing guitar."
The Omnichord -- manufactured in 1981 -- gives 'My Time' a shiny, vintage dance-pop sound, and it's not the only new trick up the Bear's sleeve. Produced by Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, My Morning Jacket) over a four-month period last year, Omni finds the band exploring its style like no album prior; it's Minus the Bear's most accessible and experimental effort yet.
"We all love 'Planet of Ice' in all of it's awesome prog-wankery," says Knudson of the band's 2007 LP. "But this record's got more of a groove to it. The tempos are frantic and locked in solid, with more of an R&B feel."
But Minus the Bear haven't quite gone Marvin Gaye; the band is still as effects-happy as ever, and each tune on 'Omni,' though tighter and more focused, will still spin heads and warp minds.
The album ranges from the hard-bounce of 'Secret Country,' which Knudson calls "the heaviest thing we've ever recorded," to the swooning neon sprawl of 'Dayglow Vista Rd.' with its chorus of "Everybody's gotta shine on." The album's veritable rainbow of sounds and styles is described best, Knudson says, by its title.
"The name of the record is what it is -- it's everything and nothing, our feeling like we captured a different side of us," he says. "We weren't trying to limit ourselves by any specific style or genre."
Nowhere does Minus the Bear shed any shell of a genre more than on the consecutive tracks 'Into the Mirror' and 'Animal Backwards.' Like a carnival mirror, the latter is a twisted, remixed and chopped up reflection of the former.
"There are three different guitar samples on 'Into the Mirror.' Those three samples are just played backwards in 'Animal Backwards,'" Knudson says. "If you listen to 'Animal' backwards, you'll hear the guitar of 'Mirror' forwards."
While the Omnichord occupied Knudson on 'My Time,' his guitar trickery remains at the core of the album; having collected more and more effects pedals as Minus the Bear's career trucks along, Knudson says he's "learned how to integrate myself with the pedals. I know how to manipulate the pedal, because sometimes the way you're not supposed to use it is the coolest way to use it."
Still, keeping track of his cache of guitar pedals onstage when the band tours behind 'Omni' may prove difficult.
"It'll be like playing 'Dance Dance Revolution' up there," Knudson says.
Check out 'My Time' HERE.
The track listing for “Omni” runs as follows:
01 – “My Time”
02 – “Summer Angel”
03 – “Secret Country”
04 – “Hold Me Down”
05 – “Excuses”
06 – “The Thief”
07 – “Into The Mirror”
08 – “Animal Backwards”
09 – “Dayglow Vista Road”
10 – “Fooled By The Night”
An additional bonus track by the name of “Broken China” will also be included with the album to those who pre-order the effort through iTunes.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 7:57 PM