Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21st, 2014 - Nine Short Films For #9

Good evening!  The Meista here with a rather odd pairing for you tonight... odd both musically and in terms of the palate.  I'm going with a (not quite pale ale) #9 from Magic Hat Brewing Company out of South Burlington, VT and "Nine Short Films" from power duo Terry Bozzio and Billy Sheehan! 

The #9 from Magic Hat Brewing Company pours a slightly hazy honey-orange in a 22-ounce Pilsner glass.  The head is bright white and thin and vanishes fairly quickly leaving only trace remnants on the edge of the glass.  The nose is rather mellow with only hints of toasted malts and apricot.  The #9 is brewed with Crystal and Pale malts and Apollo and Cascade hops, which seems plain enough.  But there is something rather odd about this ale that is difficult to decipher.  There is a mellow, but sweet fruit-like ester that dominates... but a fruit like none I've ever tasted.  Maybe a relative to the peach or an apricot?  Okay, this is weird, but if you've ever had a buttered popcorn flavor jelly bean from Jelly Belly... well, that flavor is there too!  Strange flavors aside, the #9 is a tasty brew that goes down easy with a smooth and almost buttery mouthfeel.  The 5.1% ABV and 20 IBU count give this brew exceptional drinkability. 

Released on September 24th, 2002 through Magna Carta Records, "Nine Short Films" is the only album by rock veterans Terry Bozzio and Billy Sheehan as a duo.  Bozzio provides all the vocals, keyboards, and drums and percussion while Sheehan provides the bass and baritone guitars.  Not the most accessible album (at least not initially), "Nine Short Films" is an experiment in... well, experimentation.  More akin to the darker works of modern day King Crimson or even Nine Inch Nails with a little bit of Brian Eno mixed in for good measure, Bozzio and Sheehan shed their classic hard rock skins to provide an eerie, emotionally intense, and musically fascinating work of art that sounds both post-modern and tribal.  Nothing short of brilliant, this is nothing like Bozzio's work with Zappa, Missing Persons, or BLS nor is it anything like Sheehan's work with Mr. Big, David Lee Roth, or Niacin. Lyrically dark, themes include violence, desperation, and depression delivered with purposely cold precision.  Bozzio's almost spoken gravelly vocals add to the overall creepy mood of the album.  This is most definitely NOT background music.  "Nine Short Films" demands your attention from the opening notes of "Live By The Gun" to the closing notes of "Sub Continent"!   There are some really spectacular musical moments on this album like "Black Wisdom", "Water And Blood", "Distant Horses", "Edge Of A Circle" (probably my favorite track), "Finger Painting", and "Sub Continent".  (Oddly enough, there are 10 tracks on "Nine Short Films".)

To your health... cheers!!

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