Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Roc's Bio

We all know Colonel Roc Wieler. We know him from his ramblings and his Capsuleer project.

BUT! Did you know he's also a talented musical artist? Yeah, I'm kinda shocked as well. Shocked because the quality of his album, entitled "Bio" is a success in artistry that so often proves elusive to people to do this for a lucrative living.

Bio, as the name suggests, acts as a musical autobiography of Roc's RP life up to the present. His days as a young slave, participating in the Minmatar rebellion, becoming a capsuleer, joining the militia and seeking answers. Each track usually is only a minute or two long and is accompanied with a small blurb in the insert booklet explaining the track's RP inspiration.

I've written quite a few CD reviews in my past, but I've never felt the need to examine it on a track-by-track basis, until now. I wrote my thoughts and impressions as I listened to it.

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Prelude.

Heavy guitar. Almost punk rock. I get the sense of Roc being literally forged in flames from mercury-like steel.

Path To Freedom.
Remember that CG cartoon Shadow Warriors? This reminds me of that shows opening. Inspiring a sense of nobility being called to arms in the face of unknown challenges ahead. Cool drum work. The second half of the track picks up a bit and adds choir vocals, reminding me of Halo.

Child of New Eden.

A voyage begun within the depths of space. More electronic work here then the first two. Different vocals here than Path To Freedom. These remind me of The Fifth Element's blue Diva lady. Very cool in a futuristic discovery sort of way.

Bio.
The title track. Judging by the title, it's supposed to be about Roc's inner-self. The piano, brass and violin work among light electronic work and a slow tempo seem to depict a man of great pain and conviction. It almost has a Gaelic quality to it, which doesn't become apparent until the second half and actually it a little surprising, standing out sharply at first then coming together with the rest of the tune.

Capsuleer.

Liquid. I'm not sure if that makes any sense in an audio context, but I get the sense that I'm suspended within a tube of liquid, connected to machines. A large amount of the sound here has an electonica aspect to it.

Virgin Clone.
I get the sensation of preparing for battle. High-pitch brass work and deep drums. Varied choir work in the background, and a piano opening and closing the track. To be quite honest, I think this track and Capsuleer should trade titles.

Boosters.
Oh yeah, trippy. Odd sounds I can't begin to describe. Distortions on top of distortions. It's not a sense of incapacitation, rather a sense of hyper-reality, or hyper-stimulated senses. Slow, but exaggerating certain noise qualities that perhaps a normal human either can't sense or instinctually ignores. The longest track by more than a full minute, and I'm guessing that was on purpose.

Brutor.
Tribal drums. Dark. You get the sense you're in the middle of a desert near a campfire with warriors on a sacred hunt. The slight electronic element is interesting but to me doesn't quite fit as well as it should initially. The drums pick up the tempo two-thirds through. Warriors dancing?

Nemesis.
Methodical anger and determination are what I get there. Electonica mixed half and half with tight, almost raspy drums. There's a sound of a hammer hitting an anvil, but I'm not sure where that fits in to the image here. Perhaps a ship being built?

Black Hole.

This is very different from the other tracks. Jazzy and slow. A sense of a cool club and bar set in blues and purples, filled with people dancing provocatively but in slow motion. Almost old-school jazz. Worthy of the Seatbelts.

Malkalen.
Drums mixed at a medium-high tempo with a few violins and some vocals half way through. I get a sense of the world changing on the horizon.

War Declaration.
Majestic fleets slowly flying though space. Unimaginable destructive power and purpose. The strings are met with a deep throbbing drum and choir vocals with light electronic work to even out the edges.

Matar Colonel.

An army marching across a battlefield, led by a hero at the head of the formation. The troops gather their strength and pin their hopes on this man. Marching drums and high-pitch strings. Half-way through brass picks up but seems to come off melancholy for some reason. This track might be at home in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

Rise of The Republic.
The sense of a people rising up to wage war upon their oppressors. There's a sense of understood death here, as if the people will gladly throw themselves upon the swords of their enemies so that others may win the day. Fast tempo with sweeping brass and vocals. The drums here seem much more modern than the war drums in many of the other tracks. Again some electronic work to glue it together. Ends on a sorrowful note with a single violin and vocals.

Roc's Renegades.
A skilled team, tight-knit and defined in purpose. An electronic guitar is front-and-centre here. This really has a Bad Boys Jerry Bruckhiemer sounds to it.

Introspection.
What does the future hold of the Minmatar man forged in fire? That's what we ask ourselves here. Pretty much building on the first track with more layers. What's unique and quite surprising about this track is there are actual lyrics! Marcus, is that you? Dude, you can sing! Listening to this one can easily picture a music video featuring Roc and all the people intertwined in his story. This is easily my favorite track on the entire album.

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The fusion of classical instruments and electronic effects creates a sense of new and old coming together together, symbolizing the basis of Minnmatar roleplaying. There are many layers here, but unlike most amateur works each layer is easy to focus on and is stark in its contribution to the piece. There are several uses of choir-like vocal melodies, but the last track is the only one with actual lyrics.

As word slowly spreads about this album, I hope it gets more play on the three main EVE radio stations. This is exactly the kind of musical quality that the EVE jukebox calls for. I'd recommend the buy, and if you like what you hear, email the EVE radio stations and tell them you want this to get more attention. If this is the genesis to an EVE original music movement, than it's one hell of a good start, and it should be supported.

This album is dedicated to Taniqua (Roc's beloved dog IRL) who was born January 13, 1998 and was taken from us far too early on April 24, 2008.

o7

4 comments:

Mynxee said...

Roc's CD is on regular rotation on my iPod...I really love it. Introspection is probably a top 10 favorite since I got the CD. Of course, knowing the person behind the music makes it more special.

PsycheDiver said...

Once I find time to rip the thing to something other than my 360, I'll probably be listening to it quite a bit.

everamblings said...

Thank you very much for this detailed review. I really enjoyed the visions it inspired within you.

Also, thanks for mentioning the dedication; that was touching actually.

And yes, I can sing.

PsycheDiver said...

Damn straight you can! I smell a full vocal album. ;)

You're very welcome. I thought it would be vital to mention the dedication, since you impressed upon me how important the matter was to you when we met.

Maybe Roc should have a dog...