Sunday, 8 January 2012

Videosforpictures - 10 Minutes With...EP

V4P are a sound similar to that of a musician trying to grind a chainsaw into a piano. But then all of a sudden, finding a place of harmony and smoothly retiring to the piano stool and indulging into a bittersweet session of piano playing. Jay Lancaster (the one man band that is Videosforpictures) has a very unique and experimental quality to his music. Never lacking a second and neither underestimating the beauty of a held note, I'm not sure what you could call his sound specifically. Some may bandy 'Piano Rock', but I don't think that would do it justice in any way. There is too much of a delicate nature and thirst for experimentation for it to be considered anything too genre specific. In fact, there isn't an artist quite like Videosforpictures.
Opening with a clatter on '0VERTURE', it feels more like a transition than a song as such. Embracing dissonant and noise led influences here; the song tests the audience as the piano keys clatter and splatter, like the footfalls of a herd of wild animals in an echo chamber. Also played backwards, the song sets a very specific and uncertain mood for the EP, which is only distorted by the following track 'BUTCHERBIRD'. The first true song on the album, it introduces a lot of what Videosforpictures is. It is no one thing; in fact, it is very much anything it wants to be.

Said second track finds its way through the song quite neatly, and then builds to a climactic chorus and finds its end, quietly settling down after quite an abrasive conclusion. The torn and beautiful vocal stems of Jay himself are always gut wrenching and speak more than is quite describable. This follows into the third track, 'ISOLATION ANTHEMS'. This track is quite an interesting one, and not like one I've heard from V4P before. Although usually a piano and vocal led sound, this song is complimented by a very rusty, mildly lax and lo-fi drum beat that almost sounds sampled in the way it is spliced, adding to the track’s rawness. Both the beat and the melodies play off each other quite beautifully, beginning subtly. Neither seem to compete with each other beat-wise, but they quietly dance stunningly still. The ranging and passionate melody and dusty sound add a lot to the atmosphere, and although it only lasts just over two minutes, it progresses until the flow is punched out at the end, as if the temper in the song had peaked and the song needed to be struck dead with hard blows.

'PEREPELKA' is an interlude, showing off Jay's thirst for experimenting with shrill sounds and percussion. Sounding like a beat played on a set of tight unheld strings, there is a slight oriental feeling to the sound, with occasional cacophonous notes flying here and there, filled out by echoed muffled moans in the background. As I alluded to briefly before, there is a definite double-sided nature to V4P, flicking for strikingly majestic piano chords to loud and abrasive sounds, sometimes per track, other times the songs will just take a route down that way, seeming to shape Jay as a very complicated and tortured character.

The final track of the EP 'OPTIC FLOW' is an unusual one, more so than most of the others. Where the two main tracks of the EP 'BUTCHERBIRD' and 'ISOLATION ANTHEMS' had dark, and melancholy elements, neither appear as lost this track does. For the first half of the songs, there is a steady atmosphere to the track, with quiet whispers and dank, yet pretty piano. However, as the track finds its final isle, it is beautifully complimented by bell-like notes, shimmering all around, as if a character is surrounded by beautiful lights and hopes for tomorrow. This is until the joy is sucked out, as the song starts to fade into a pitch bended whirl, climaxing in distorted hits, ending it all.

Videosforpictures is a very distinctive artist, flying the flag for solo pianists (with a bit of a rough edge). This EP is in fact up for free download on his bandcamp, along with the rest of his work. Which is also free, because it's totally rad. 

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