Review: Moldover!

I know I already posted about this article, but I think it bears mentioning again in that I bought some stuff from reading it.

Namely, Moldover’s CD. If you check out his site, you’ll see why. It’s not rocket science. My copy came in the mail yesterday.

So, for now, we’re going to set aside the fact that the music will make you get up and shake your rump like you are the dance club. Let’s focus on the CD case.

In 2006, the legendary Tool released 10,000 Days with one of the most innovative jewel cases ever conceived. Built into the case was a set of lenses that allowed the user to view the images within the book in stereoscopic 3D. Pictures specifically designed for the CD case, members of the band … insane Alex Gray artwork.

Moldover is no Alex Gray, but he is, if nothing else, at least as innovative and creative. See … his CD case is a printed circuit board. On the board is a button that activates a little piezo speaker and blue LED. Also on the board are two photo diodes that cause the speaker and the LED to react–either by lowering the pitch or by dimming the LED. In essence, the board is its own musical instrument. How cool is that?! It’s battery-operated, so if the board starts acting funky, you can replace the battery for cheap, and you’re back to making music. Or at least squawky light-up music.

There’s a headphone jack to soothe your narcissism and allow others some peace and quiet. Or, if you feel so ambitious

Also etched on the board are the song titles, in typical PCB line fashion. On the inside cover, where the CD sits, there is a maze of lines running all over the board. At least, Ithink it’s a maze. On the left side of the board are two holes. One says “In” while the other one says “Out.” I emailed Moldover to see if my guess is correct, but I haven’t heard back yet. He’s probably off making amazing music or something.

So if you watch that video on his site about how the CD case is a musical instrument unto itself, you automatically assume that all of his music is going to be this trippy squawk stuff. Your assumption would be so far left of right that you couldn’t even prop yourself up on the edge … you would end up tumbling into the other dimension that he specifically created for his music. But when you land, you’d be so happy that you got there, that you wouldn’t care that you were just that wrong.

There’s a diversity to this CD that you can’t really justify expecting if all you based this purchase on was the “buy this CD” video, which is precisely what I did. I fully expected to get this and file it under “Aphex Twin.” Ha ha ha ha ha!

I’m assuming that he plays all his own instruments. I have yet to confirm that. But there’s a lot going on here. Drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, synth … I’m also assuming a lot of it is processed through his home-made device.

There are dance tracks. There are rock tracks. There are melodic, pensive tracks. There are discordant, loud tracks. This has something for practically everyone.

Stand-out tracks:

“Say It.” The Speak’n’Spell track. Using his custom-made sequenceer, he integrated the iconic 80s toy and created a completely melancholy track. Every word he’s asked to spell is filled with hope, dreams and life … of which the machine tells him is wrong. I cannot express how cool this track is. Seriously. This alone should make you buy the CD.

“Slipping In.” The aforementioned rock track. A very Anthrax or RatM-style rap overlaying a metal guitar track. I’m a HUGE fan of the lyrics … in all honesty, he’s no Zach de la Rocha, but he can definitely hold his own. Very cool song.

“Reflex.” A very moody, atmospheric, kind of dark track. I was talking to my 6 year old girl about how she shouldn’t be playing “Nazi Zombies” (Seriously?! Her friend at school asked her if she likes playing that game. WHY would a 6-year old even know that game exists?! It’s not even a game unto itself … it’s a Call of Duty add-on. Just … wow.), and she asked, “Is this the music from that?”

“From … what? The game?”

“Yah.”

“Ha ha. No, honey. This is daddy’s new CD.” Pretty funny. but yah–there’s that dark element to it. I think it has to do with the Hammond organ sound that pervades the whole track, mixed with the bass and freaky noises.

I am so much more than just pleased with this CD on multiple levels. The music itself is amazing. The jewel case is seriously a collector’s item. It’s too cool NOT to own! However, it is $40, so if that’s out of your budget, I would recommend the iTunes version at $9.90. However you manged to obtain this CD, I would suggest you do it as soon as possible.

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