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2018-08-10

↯↯blitz↯↯ review : DAVE GROHL - Play

Ok, let's try something new here and let me just briefly babble about something I've just seen on this "internet" a couple of minutes ago.

Dave Grohl, drummer of Nirvana and mastermind behind Probot, among a couple of other gigs, has dropped something truly spectacular:

the invention of the 20+ minute instrumental song.


Are you still with me?

Yes?

Ok, then you should better leave now, because that's bullshit.

But anyway, here's "Play":




At least I assume that's also the title of the track, since it's embedded in a half-hour short documentary of the same name, about kids learning instruments. Which is cool, but seriously, who cares?

Do I care about Dave Grohl?

Nah, not so much. He surely is a great guy and musician, but he doesn't play in any band I'm particularly interested in. So naturally I was a little sceptical about this.


But hey, this is really something!

Considering how often I have listened to the tune now (which is exactly once), it's hard to acknowledge how much songwriting finesse went into the piece as a whole, so I won't go into that.
The technical structure however is easy to grasp. The song is divided into three acts, which are seperated by transitions in which Grohl changes from one drumkit to the next.

And that brings us to the main attraction of this whole thing.
It's not about playing an instrumental longtrack. Millions of musicians have done that.

No, the special thing is that this track is audio and video recorded in uneditet takes, meaning that the whole song is played on bass in one uninterrupted take, so if the bass player screws up at mark 19:00 minutes, he has to start all over again.

And since every musician here is Dave Grohl, he had to be recorded over and over again for this until he got every instrument right for the whole 20+ minutes. Boy, that must have been nerve-wracking.

That's the first entertaining aspect of this. Secondly there is the bravery of including instruments he doesn't usually play. You can see that he isn't highly confident behind vibraphone, keys or some percussion instruments, and this display of vulnaribility is probably what I like most about this whole thing. It would be even better if he had centered more on this aspect.


Musically this is absolutely solid. The three acts are each made of multiple parts themselves and can mostly be described as modern punk'n'rolly version of classic prog. So there are lots of "unexpected" changes and style shifts. Nothing totally world-class-level overwhelming, but given that Grohl is tapping into new ground for him here, this is really more than fine.


There are only a few details which bothered me after my first (and only) listen: The transition from act II to act III was lame. I expected some other idea there. As I said a moment ago: more focus on the unfamiliar instruments would have made this even more charming.
Guitars and bass are great, only in a couple of parts the riffs are dragging a little, and since this isn't meant to be nihilistic minimalistic doom, that's not good.

The only instrument that bothered me here and there through the whole piece were the drums.

Yes, Dave Grohl is a fucking great drummer. The only problem is that he knows it, so doesn't want to hold back when it would be the better move. And I get it, it's understandable: He wants to show off that this is his ultimate comfort zone, the instrument that defines him as a musician. And that doesn't fit with the tone he sets on the other instruments.

So maybe he should have played the whole song like act II on a ridiculously small kit which challenges him even there in his "home".


That being said: Check the video out! It's probably the coolest viral thing from a musical artist of this profile which will be "dropped" this year.

And if it gets people into listening to instrumental long tracks, that's cool too, I guess.


Welcome Foo Fighter children to the world of prog, psychedelic, post rock, jazz, drone, film scores, doom, etc...!





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