ItsTeeth – In The Year of Your Lord
Record Label: None
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Instrumental music can be incredibly relaxing and therapeutic. The intricate piano pieces, mesmerizing guitars, and rhythmic drums all create rare relaxations from the standard artists of today. When using their musical skills to their best advantages, instrumental artists, such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, are often revered by many, as their music can be a unique breath of fresh air and an escape into calming relaxation.
ItsTeeth, comprised solely of Drop Dead, Gorgeous’ Jacob Belcher, proved his ability to craft memorable instrumental tunes with his introductory EP, Piano Hands, last year. Belcher’s official debut record, In The Year of Your Lord, takes each aspect used throughout the EP and raises the bar, crafting a record even more creative this time around, with each track differing from the previous one.
“Deception Through Imagery” features varying piano pieces comprised into a unique composition of music, resulting in a beautiful must-have for those interested in piano music. On the other hand, guitars drive “Sing Sing Sing (I Cannot Hear Your Voice)” as a drum beat fluctuates throughout the background. Encompassing each of these elements, “Repeater Repeating” proves to be one of the most memorable musical songs throughout the record.
Although of course fully instrumental, that is not to say that this record doesn’t hold haunting pieces of music. Most notably, the dark “Zeus & Ari” is utterly chilling as a soft piano isolates the track from all else. Likewise, Belcher conveys deep experimentation throughout the 11-minute “Pulses, Revision pt. i,” conveying his genuine skill, while what follows, “Seeing Shapes,” is an utterly captivating piece of music, again emphasizing his indisputable talent. “7 lbs -- The Heart of the Ghost” is guitar-driven, with only a soft drum tapping otherwise prevalent, before the closing “Dakotah & Adam” starts soft and builds up into the most climatic point on In The Year of Your Lord, proving the best was undoubtedly saved for last here.
As the record closes, the true pulchritude of ItsTeeth’s instrumentation and experimentation stays with the listener, for this record is simply one of stunning composition. For instrumental music fans, In The Year of Your Lord is without a doubt a must have for 2011, as Belcher has truly excelled from his EP to this official debut record.
i'm not feeling this. It doesn't really have any substance. Bands like Mogwai sometimes decide to make a song grow as it progresses, or go from stadium to atmospheric. This doesn't stick to anything, and thus sounds like sounds thrown together. I think in time he'll be really good, but he's not yet a master at this craft.
but then again, like most instrumentals, it depends when and where you are when you're listening to it. I'll play these in my car on a long drive and see how I view these again.
I have to agree with JamesBond; I'm missing the "wow factor" in In The Year of Your Lord. It's obvious to me that Belcher is an adept multi-instrumentalist, however, I wonder if the trajectory of the album was lost in the parade of instruments. There were a few moments where I found myself intrigued, but overall I wouldn't necessarily write home about this one.
I think instrumentalists have it tough as there are no varying lyrics and vocal melodies to compensate for repetition. I agree with JamesBond in that the songs should grow (or otherwise change) as they progress, but I don't know what the formula is for this. I think the growth that a listener experiences is expressed more in the passion/heart behind what's being played than in the technicality of an arrangement (though both should go hand-in-hand). I think this is where Explosions in the Sky has been able to capitalize...you can feel them "getting into it" on their recordings and you get lost basking in the refreshing waves of sound (they're incredible musicians to boot). When listening to In The Year of Your Lord, I found myself wanting in this regard. I have extreme respect for Belcher's musicianship, but I'd like to get more in touch with Belcher as an artist. I want to experience the music with him rather than get lost paying attention to his technical proficiency (as impressive as it is).
All told, as JamesBond said, I think I should definitely give this another listen through a medium other than these crappy computer speakers.
i wanted to say thank you for the honest opinions, its rare to hear constructive criticisms other than just "this shit sucks" or just questions concerning my other projects. reading your comments, ive really taken in the consideration for the next releases and i really appreciate the time you took just to listen to the album... i really did put everything into this album, but like you both mentioned, it will get better over time... this is only my 3rd release, and it being my 2nd full length. but, i really appreciate the time you took to just listen. ive finished an EP that ill be releasing soon and i hope it comes across a little better than the last.
i wanted to say thank you for the honest opinions, its rare to hear constructive criticisms other than just "this shit sucks" or just questions concerning my other projects. reading your comments, ive really taken in the consideration for the next releases and i really appreciate the time you took just to listen to the album...
Jacob, your tasteful response and sincere thanks says a lot about you as a person. Arrogance irritates the crap outta me (though I find that I'm constantly flirting with it myself...we all have something to work on). Anywho, I wanted to let you know that I've listened to the album a couple more times and thought it important to highlight a few things that stood out to me.
Your musicianship is incredible. You say that you really put everything into this project and I don't think one can argue with that. The sound on this album is full and well polished and doesn't let on that it's a solo project. Kudos.
I have a great appreciation for subtleties and find albums more enjoyable when, on a second or third listen, I pick up on elements (or even instruments) that I didn't previously pick up on. I think this record definitely has its fair share of subtleties and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering them.
While I had an issue with overall direction, I have to say that you managed to keep from boring me to tears as each song has ample variation both instrumentally and melodically.
Lastly, let me say that my previously stated issues (while I stand behind them) are rooted more in a listener preference than a reflection of your artistic ability/accomplishment. Don't change who you are, what you're about or what you create based on anyone's preference. If there's something beneficial you can glean from my comments, great! If not, no sweat. Keep at it and thanks again for your tasteful response.