Friday, May 4, 2012

Portraits of Past - 0101010101 (Classic of the Week)

I realized the greatness of Portraits of Past long after they disbanded. These guys came about from the Bay Area of California in the late 90's, at first making music that wasn't all that distinguishable from others in their field. Towards the end of their tenure as a band they peaked and produced something special.  This record is one of those things that comes along, happens once, and never happens again. It's a snapshot of innovation, greatness and perhaps just a case right place at the right time.

Perhaps it's the contrast of bright, clangy guitars playing some dark and harsh (yet melodic) fast hardcore (later adopted by bands like Ampere and Raein) backed by distored bass.  Perhaps it's the steady, but impressively solid drumming.  Perhaps it's the way the lyrics lay upon the tracks.  All the pieces come together here and make something that I can't really compare to anything before it. The song structures here carry an introspective mood to them, where every note has you doing some self reflection.

There's a bit of melodic singing tastefully placed within the darkness too.  You can hear this on pieces of "Bang Yer Head" and "The Control Freak". Standout tracks that had the biggest influence on me have to be "Bang Yer Head" and "Something Less Than Intended". It's nothing short of brilliance here and the dark, melodic style that incorporated pulled off notes and eerie rung out chords were something that instantly permeated my guitar playing.

I imagine putting this record on when I'm in my late 60's and enjoying every bit as I do right now, and every bit as much as I did 16 years ago.  

Download it here.