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10 years of Amputechture


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#21 Bane Fubar

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 05:30 PM

I became a Mars Volta Fan during late Frances era (around the time Scab Dates cam out) so this was the first album I had to eagerly wait for. The album was originally supposed to come out in June or July and was pushed back to September, I don't remember why though, only that I was super bummed out. Asilos Magdalena leaked super early somehow (anyone know when and how that came about?) and my brother and I were listening to it for days on end on repeat. Good times indeed.

 

There was also supposed to be a music video for Viscera Eyes, and a single, but that never happened.

 

I think what happened is when JT quit, Omar had to scramble to find a replacement in time for their tour with RHCP that summer/fall. It took a lot of Omar's focus to find a replacement drummer to his liking, rather than focus on promotion of the new album. And we can all now see that working with Blake Flemming turned out to be a mistake from the beginning, because he was gone before the end of the year.



#22 iamisandisnt

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 06:11 PM

Breaking up from your finance is always tough. :/

 

Great story, lovely bass parts!

 

heartless bastard :P great story tho, definitely.



#23 Powdered Toast Man

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 06:11 PM

Amputechture represents the band at their most unfettered creative stage. It's a harsh, dense, layered album, that can be difficult to understand at times, but once you let it click, the rewards are endless.

Amputechture is not my favourite album by The Mars Volta. That award goes to Frances The Mute. But it is their best record, in terms of musicianship, production, concept and relevance. It was the last album with the classic TMV line up - John Theodore left the band soon after completion, and John Frusciante's contributions to their output lessened dramatically after that.

To say all I want would take forever. But I will say that Amputechture's genius lies in the fact that it is mirrored. It reflects and layers itself, compounding levels on top of one another. Vicarious Atonement mirrors El Ciervo Vulnerado. Tetragrammaton mirrors Day Of The Baphomets. Vermicide mirrors Viscera eyes. Meccamputechture absolutely does NOT mirror Asilos Magdalena, but that's the point - They are bizzaro versions of one another. The imperfection of that reflection refracts outwards to the relevant songs on the album, each reflection becoming truer. Listen to the first 30 seconds of the album and the last 30 - They are almost identical.

That is the crux of Amputechture's musical reflection. Not only is it a concept album in the lyrical sense, that being a total critique of Catholicism, but it is also a concept album in SOUND. That is what makes it so special. There is nothing that sounds like Amputechture, and very little that is as adventurous as a concept record.

My favourite piece of music I have ever heard is the 3 minutes of Tetragrammaton that starts around 7.45 with the huge guitar solo, and ends just before the "Wait 'til I get my hands on you" section. Cedric is channeling a fucking demon in those vocal sections. If the Devil listens to any music, it is Tetragrammaton.

#24 pehjott

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 12:37 AM

One of my to go albums when taking psychedelica



#25 Andrewf

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 05:23 AM

Yes i think that this album can also be played continiously. Notice how abruptly El ciervo ends. Playing vicarious immediately after el ciervo kinda works

#26 Unt1tled

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 04:05 PM

10 years since Acrobatic Tenement til Amputechture. Think about it.



#27 The Nephilim

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 11:24 PM

One aspect of Amputechure that I've always loved is that it has some of Cedric's most potent lyrics.

In my opinion, his most cutting, cynical, vicious lyrics are his best, and Amp has these moments in spades (Cyrpto is similar in this regard, which is a huge part of its appeal).

 

Lines like "Maybe one day you'll stop and realize the throne that you serve is dead" or "I was born to bring death to the footsteps of your home" or "While your wife sits at home, I plant the vermin cause she needs it so", when combined with the absolutely alien nature of the music, creates this really powerful feeling of evil that is utterly unique to this album. 

 

POACHERS IN YOUR HOME

 

(Tetragrammaton is about 5 minutes too long though. Fight me.)



#28 Mataxia

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 11:35 PM

(Tetragrammaton is about 5 minutes too long though. Fight me.)

 

Finally somebody that agrees with me.



#29 radiognome

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 01:22 AM

Ill fight both of you.
Its 5 minutes too short!

#30 iamisandisnt

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 03:04 AM

I used to think the ending was painful to listen to but one day I noticed I had heard the entire track and never noticed the annoying high pitch noises.

 

Then I realized I'm slowly going deaf like Omar

 

:think:



#31 SnkZato1 Ph.D.

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 03:53 AM

I love its length.  Its a total ear-tease.  

 

Obnoxiously long post coming in the next few days.



#32 zilla333

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 05:42 AM

I want to say Amputechture is the album that got me into Volta. And in a way it is. Tetragrammaton was the song that really piqued my interested w/ TMV. A friend burned Amputechture for me when it came out just assuming I would dig it, and damn he was a good friend for doing so. At the time I really liked the album but I could never listen to it all the way through like I can now. For some reason I couldn't commit to the longer songs. I bought FTM on CD the same year and had a similar problem. Those albums have since clicked a long time ago and I fucking love them to death. but back when I was in highschool, songs that were already longer than 5 mins seemed like an eternity to me. I was fucking dumb back then I guess. it wasn't until I heard Deloused that I really fell in love with Volta, that was my favorite album for the longest. 

 

Eventually all the other albums clicked for me over time with repeated listens. I'd probably have to say now that Amp is my fav.

Although, It's kind of hard for me to pick a favorite. The first 4 Albums and the Tremulant are amazing



#33 espio13

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Posted 21 September 2016 - 02:25 AM

I loved reading threw this thread and seeing how much people still love this album. I hope omar and cedric read this because with all the shit we can all talk at times, this thread is what being a fan is all about, love for this band and their music



#34 SnkZato1 Ph.D.

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 05:30 PM

http://www.riffnralk...y-amputechture/

I write too much



#35 Carl

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 12:07 PM

nice read dude, as always :-) i remember reading your king crimson articles religiously.

i especially appreciate the emphasis you place on the humor present in this album. people who bash the high pitched voices, nonsensical lyrics and overblownness of the whole thing, don't realize that tmv obviously understood that this was absolutely ridiculous: the same is actually true for most overblown and epic albums in prog rock history, lots of prog rock came from the uk and we all (hopefully?) know that british humor has a tendency of ridiculizing the self in an over-ambitious and epic way. you mentioned jethro tull, indeed also (in)famous for their absurt epicness: the guy is obviously kidding :-) i mean, jesus, why does everything have to be serious.

interestingly, prog rock is usually seen as something "very serious" both by fans and haters. haters hate it because it is "too serious" and fans love it for that reason haha. so then when an album like amputechture comes around and seems to be a parody of itself, haters of prog rock hate it because it blatantly ticks all the boxes of why they hate prog rock (they don't realize that it's on purpose), and lovers of prog rock hate it because it seems to make fun of prog rock!

most critics at the time didn't realize or had apparently forgotten that omar and cedric constantly change and try out different approaches and genres, that they came from atdi working towards de facto and then creating a new genre in the form of tmv, which they were getting tired of around the time of amputechture. they had done deloused and ftm and then, basically, they knew how it worked. amputechture to me is always the album with which they prove that they know how to do the prog rock thing, and just work half the time on a meta level, as if they're saying: and now prog rock would do this, and then they would do this, like on baphomets, indeed like you said, "let's have a bass solo AND a guitar and sax battle AND a bongo solo. let's begin and end the album with together basically a full EP of rhythmless noise' (it's everyone's own choice to skip it or turn it off)

so yeah, without the humor this album is hard to appreciate, but if you can laugh while this happens, and if you are not too self-conscious to delve into this album's epic absurdity, it is very difficult to not love this album to death :-)

#36 SnkZato1 Ph.D.

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 12:35 PM

nice read dude, as always :-) i remember reading your king crimson articles religiously.

i especially appreciate the emphasis you place on the humor present in this album. people who bash the high pitched voices, nonsensical lyrics and overblownness of the whole thing, don't realize that tmv obviously understood that this was absolutely ridiculous: the same is actually true for most overblown and epic albums in prog rock history, lots of prog rock came from the uk and we all (hopefully?) know that british humor has a tendency of ridiculizing the self in an over-ambitious and epic way. you mentioned jethro tull, indeed also (in)famous for their absurt epicness: the guy is obviously kidding :-) i mean, jesus, why does everything have to be serious.

interestingly, prog rock is usually seen as something "very serious" both by fans and haters. haters hate it because it is "too serious" and fans love it for that reason haha. so then when an album like amputechture comes around and seems to be a parody of itself, haters of prog rock hate it because it blatantly ticks all the boxes of why they hate prog rock (they don't realize that it's on purpose), and lovers of prog rock hate it because it seems to make fun of prog rock!

most critics at the time didn't realize or had apparently forgotten that omar and cedric constantly change and try out different approaches and genres, that they came from atdi working towards de facto and then creating a new genre in the form of tmv, which they were getting tired of around the time of amputechture. they had done deloused and ftm and then, basically, they knew how it worked. amputechture to me is always the album with which they prove that they know how to do the prog rock thing, and just work half the time on a meta level, as if they're saying: and now prog rock would do this, and then they would do this, like on baphomets, indeed like you said, "let's have a bass solo AND a guitar and sax battle AND a bongo solo. let's begin and end the album with together basically a full EP of rhythmless noise' (it's everyone's own choice to skip it or turn it off)

so yeah, without the humor this album is hard to appreciate, but if you can laugh while this happens, and if you are not too self-conscious to delve into this album's epic absurdity, it is very difficult to not love this album to death :-)

Thanks for the kind words and I think you are spot on with your words on humor.  These two love to cut up and laugh in their own strange absurdist way. You don't get lines like "The kiosk in my temporal lobe...." with the intention of being deathly serious.  I'm not saying its meant to be Zappaesque and completely a farce, but there are definite moments where they are winking at the listener.  

I think it also just came out at the wrong time.  I remember 2006.  Popular music culture wasn't clamoring for an album like this.  This was when that first generation of Pitchfork darlings was really taking off.  Sufjan Stevens had released Come Feel the Illinoise in 2006, The Decemberists had The Crane Wife, and then this whacky carnival of sound.  There are definite and obvious trends in music, and if you stray too far you risk the ire of journalists....ugh....journalists.



#37 issordni

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 06:58 PM

Enjoyed that writing. It's my favourite album, too.

#38 pimpollo

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 08:21 PM

I was in high school, maybe 2007 2006. blew my mind. some nerd black kid with a fro in physics mentioned them. finding it really weird he was a scrawny black kid with a fro....



#39 Veni-yan Warrior

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 11:33 PM

This was a beautiful time. I literally shed a tear when it was announced Jon Theodore had left the band.

#40 hbk111

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 05:44 AM

I was in high school, maybe 2007 2006. blew my mind. some nerd black kid with a fro in physics mentioned them. finding it really weird he was a scrawny black kid with a fro....

Why would that be weird.




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