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Educate me on Tool (The Band, that is)
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The Lesser Evil Offline
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RE: Educate me on Tool (The Band, that is)
(11-18-2011 07:46 PM)Amour Fou Wrote:  By far my favourite band!

I had the great opportunity of seeing them live in Paris back in 2006, I got very emotional, one of the peak experiences in my life (Paris- my favourite city in the world, Tool- my favourite band in the world).

There are so many things to say I don't even know how to start...

Are you a bass player? I am, and very influenced by Justin Chancellor.

He, like myself, is deep into effect pedals and with a style of playing that values not only the deep notes, but the high ones as well.

Although he uses many, many effects (something like 12 pedals) the core of his style is a bass whammy pedal. A bass whammy (a whammy pedal) is a pedal that octaves your instrument, meaning that when you use it, your notes are automatically transposed an octave higher or more. I prefer Electro Harmonix's HOG (harmonic octave generator) for the same effect, a much more versatile pedal with the same functions.

The thing about listening to Tool and the bass is that most of the time what you are listening to is the bass, but you can't even tell, as it is so filtered through many effects.

Tool is also known for exploring different and complex time signatures and song structures. 5/4, 9/8, 7/4 are few examples of time signatures that on occasion can be found even within a same song.

Tool started out in the early 90's. They always had a fling with deep spiritual themes, clever humour and even some substance abuse.

I am completely facinated by the way they blend music, visual sand profound spiritual thematics and references in such a harmonic way... I constantly return to some song lyrics for inspiration. Example: "Overthinking, overanalysing separates the body from the mind". Pure zen.

Lateralus has been my favourite album head on for 10 years now. It is profound not only sonically and visually, but thematically. It has been with me in various moments of my life, and in my opinion it still seems their most mature work.

Second to that, Aenima. It is when their current (and astonishing) bass player joined them, adding a lot to the twist. It is an aggressive album where they start to add more of the spiritual themes, reference to acid trips (a recurrent theme) and deep social criticism (the song Aenima as an example). They make homage to former stand up comedian and friend Bill Hicks, an incrediblly underated genius who died at the young age of 33. He was a deep mystic as well, and very much into acid. Insanely clever, deep and humorous. The good die young... Also, as many other of their albums, there are subliminal hidden messages. What strikes me particularly about this one is that there is a moment on the Stinkfist track that Maynard says very low IN PORTUGUESE (so I can understand it) "suck my cock". Maynard practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for some years, and he might have learned a few "practical" sentences. Stinkfist track is also an example where they use humorous/polemic topics (as fisting) to convey a deeper metaphorical/spiritual message, in this case fisting as a metaphor for the numbness and lack of spiritual insight that contemporary man faces, making them go to "extremes" to actually feel something... fisting... hehe.

10000 days ranks as my third favourite. It is named as a reference to Maynard's (the singer) mother, who passed away while they were producing the album. She sufferend an accident and had a paralysis of sorts, making her be stuck in bed for something like 28 years (10000 days) before she died. The main and longest song in the album (10000 days) is a homage to her, and implicitly a coming to terms of the singer with his mother's christian spirituality and her passing away (she saw her accident and poor state as a gift from God, and accepted it that way; her soon was frustrated for many years by her position). Great album overall, but maybe not as catchy as the others.

Undertow, Tool's "first" album (they had the Opiate ep before this one, I'll mention it later) shows a more raw and aggressive Tool sound. I like it a lot, but I prefer their more intricate and tripier later albums. Maynard's voice is rawer and less "sculpted" on this album, which gives a somewhat different vibe. All of Tool albums have something tricky going on their cover art. All of them. Aenima's cover moves as you move the album package, Lateralus' cover art comes in semi transparent layers and 10000 days comes with an in built goggle so you can see the album art in 3D. The thing about Undertow's album art is trickier to spot, but there it is. When you open the cd box, you find the place where the cd is stuck. You have to pull that side of where the cd stays off (you might have to break it) and you'll see a hidden drawing behind it of a cow linking its own genitals (I had the cd FOR YEARS before I found this out!)

Finally, Tool's first EP, Opiate, shows early Tool with their rawer, even grundge-ish sound. Also quite good (I am biased) but I prefer the later ones.

There is so much more I could tell!

I just have to point out Maynard's two other projects.

-A Perfect Circle. Great as well. Not as heavy and brainy as Tool, but very powerful and maybe more emotional. Beautiful.

-Puscifer (said- "pussy fur"). Maynard's trip hop/ eletronica album. I don't seem to be able to get into it, sadly. I don't quite like it.

I could go on, but I guess this is enough!

This was a really good post, thanks.
11-22-2011 10:09 AM
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RE: Educate me on Tool (The Band, that is) - The Lesser Evil - 11-22-2011 10:09 AM

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