A Mind Lost

Anything and everything.

DTP – Deconstruction & Ghost

I’ve now had a week and a half with the Devin Townsend Project’s “Deconstruction” and “Ghost” albums.  I’ve been a fan of Devin’s since I first heard his vocal work in 1994 on Steve Vai’s “Sex & Religion”.  While I’m a fan of guitar “wanking”, it was Dev’s singing that really stood out on that album.  I had no idea who he was at the time, and it wasn’t until 1999 that I heard him again when my (long since ex-) wife bought me a heavy metal magazine that included a CD with “All Hail the New Flesh” off of “No Sleep ‘Til Bedtime – Live in Australia”.  I didn’t put 2 + 2 together at the time, and it would be a few more years before I came across a couple Strapping Young Lad albums and it finally clicked that the vocal style was very similar to the singer I’d enjoyed so much on Vai’s album almost 10 years before.

As far as metal goes, SYL quickly tied with Megadeth as my favourite band (I’ve been a fan of theirs since 1992 when I was gifted a copy of “Rust in Peace”, and later “Countdown to Extinction”).  At the time the only metal band I was familiar with was Metallica, with  “… And Justice for All” being the last album of theirs that I enjoyed (everything after that, including the much lauded “Black” album was just crap).

But I digress.  I had downloaded (yes, tsk tsk shame on me) SYL’s “City”, and loved it so much I bought it.  Take that RIAA!  In fact I prefer being able to listen to an album before I decide to purchase it.  In the general case, it’s a group or musician I enjoy and will buy it anyway at the first opportunity.  Some of the stuff I enjoy is pretty out there, making legal acquisition of their works difficult, if not impossible.  In fact, on one occasion, the law has worked against my buying an album – Freekbass’s “The Air is Fresher Underground”.  I only wanted one track, “Minute to Forever”, but was willing to buy the album anyway.  Amazon refused to sell me a digital copy as I’m Canadian, and the Canuck Amazon doesn’t have an MP3 option.  While the CD was (and still is) listed as out of stock, a used copy was going to cost me $32!  I’m not paying that for a used CD, sorry.

Anyway, I digress again.  I do that a lot.

Fortunately, ordering Dev’s stuff has been a pretty painless experience.  When “Addicted” and “Ki” came out, I bought them in addition to “Ocean Machine Biomech”, “Accelerated Evolution”, “Ziltoid the Omniscient” and “Alien”.  More recently I also purchased his newest two (“Deconstruction” and “Ghost”) as well as “Synchestra” (the special edition of course, I wanted the DVD).  I also ordered, via e-Bay, an Ocean Machine Biomech long sleeve shirt.

I’m a little miffed because the CDs and the shirt were ordered through independent channels, and shipping was paid individually for both orders, but the items were all shipped together in one package.  The shipping on the shirt was the more expensive of the two, but it looks like the lesser of the two amounts ($13 for the CD’s) was what was actually paid to get the items to me.

Not that I mind too much.  While the cheap part of me balks at having had to pay an extra $20 or so, the money has gone to a musician (yes, I prefer to call him a musician rather than the more pretentious artist most of them call themselves these days) whose work I thoroughly enjoy.  Besides, I’ve still got a few digital copies of his albums I haven’t got around to purchasing yet.  It’s easier if I think of that 20 bucks as a rental fee for items as yet unbought.  Of course, we in Canada already pay a tax on media, supposedly to offset “illegal” copying of copyrighted works; the Private copying levy, which is bullshit in my opinion, but it does grant us one important privilege – “Some argue that CRIA wanted to limit the scope of the private copying levy, given that it legalizes copying for the private use of the person making the copy, possibly regardless of whether the source is non-infringing or not.”

Unfortunately, due to the way the funds collected by the PCL are distributed, Devin likely wouldn’t receive a cent of it.  The proceeds are distributed based on commercial radio airplay and sales samples.  Devin, in spite of his large fanbase, is a fringe musician.  I’ve never heard one of his songs on the radio, and would be surprised if anything he’s done has received any airplay at all.  Anyway, I don’t mind Dev getting that extra whopping 20 bucks at all in the end.  I just wish he’d be bothered to come out and perform in Toronto so I could see that bald bastard live.  C’MON DEV, MAKE IT HAPPEN YOU YELLOW TOOTHED, SAGGY FACED JOWL MAN!

Wow, I’ve blabbed this much and haven’t actually said anything about the albums this post is supposed to be about.

Ghost is the mellow album of the pair.  Lots of soft guitar work, a flute motif that runs throughout the entire album, and very subdued vocals (especially in Devin’s case).  It’s a pleasant listening experience from start to finish, the kind of album that one puts on and just floats along with it.  A few songs really caught my ear – “Fly”, “Feather”, “Ghost”, “Blackberry” and “Texada” are my favourites, but the songs all blend together so well that each track flows into the next.

Deconstruction is Strapping Young Lad on LSD with a bit of crack-cocaine thrown into the mix.  It starts soft, gets heavy quick, and doesn’t let up until the disc stops spinning.  Much as I enjoy Ghost, Deconstruction is my clear favourite of the pair.  Many of the riffs are just so awesome sounding, heavy Devy at his finest.  My fave tracks include “Juular”, “Planet of the Apes”, “The Mighty Masturbator”, and the title track “Deconstruction”.  The orchestral work, performed by Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is wonderful as well.

What began as a post about these two wonderful albums turned into a long blurb and two scant paragraphs actually about the albums.  How disappointing.  Really, beyond saying they’re great listening, I can’t really think of anything else.  So instead I’ll leave a pair of YouTube links to one song from each album.

First, a live recording of “Feather”, from Ghost.

And second,  “The Mighty Masturbator”, from Deconstruction.

Oh and one more, “Ocean Machines”, from Ass-Sordid Demos.  Love this track.



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