In Silico - Pendulum

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In Silico - Pendulum

1 CD(s) - Drum 'N' Bass/Jungle - Label: Warner Bros., WEA, Atlantic - Distributor: Arvato Services; Proper, Cinram Logistics, Arvato Services - Releas...

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Review of "In Silico - Pendulum"

published 19/05/2008 | lustba
Member since : 24/06/2007
Reviews : 60
Members who trust : 43
About me :
Back on and off for a while, hopefully getting back in the swing of things.
Super
Pro New Sound, Original, Its Pendulum
Cons Not for everyone, New Sound
exceptional
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"Pendulum - In Silico. A New Album A New Sound."

This is the eagerly anticipated album from Pendulum, a drum n bass band originating from Perth, Australia. It is the follow up to their previous album "Hold Your Colour", from 2007.

The album "In Silico" was due to be released in mid March, then got pushed back to mid April, and has now been released on May 12th.

Pendulum have released two singles from the album so far, these have been "Granite" and "Propane Nightmares". Granite, being released on 4th November 2007 and Propane Nightmares on 12th March.

The term "In Silico", the title of the album, means a process that is simulated on a computer or within a computer simulated environment. This title is very apt for the style of music that Pendulum produce, as a lot of the sounds do seem to be computer generated, the title of the album,

Pendulum - At a Glance

The band members are:
• Rob Swire (Vocals/Synth/Producer
• Gareth McGrillen (Bass Guitar/DJ)
• Perry ap Gwynedd (Guitar)
• Paul (El Hornet) Harding (DJ)
• Kodish (Drums)
• Verse (MC)

A biography of Pendulum can be found at the following website:
http://pendulum.com/about.aspx

Tracks


1 - Show Down

"This beast is a long time coming, I thought you'd understand!" What a start to the new album. This is almost the first sound you hear on the album, along with a bass drum and some symbols, as these continue some guitars come into the mix. Highly unusual for Pendulum as they don't usually use guitars unless they are live. However, after around 45 seconds we get to hear the true sound of the Aussie band, heavy bass and synths to back it up. A very recognisable and distinctive sound to any Pendulum fan! After 2 minutes the song changes, much like it does in "Another Planet" on the album "Hold Your Colour" except without the "Suddenly there was a change voiceover". The synths play a lot more of a role during this part of the song, the bass is still pushing through at a fast pace making for a thoroughly enjoyable song for the duration- 5 mins 28 secs.
My rating for this track would be 10/10, switching from a fast pace to a slow pace at many times in the song I have enjoyed listening to it about 6 times already, and I have only had it about an hour. The good mixture of styles and techniques makes it an instant tune from Pendulum, almost on par with their biggest conquest to date - "Slam"
2 - Different

"Different" has a lot more of a conventional drum and bass intro, there is a lot less bass to begin with, concentrating on the snare whilst male vocals are introduced. This is another new feature from Pendulum, as in "Hold Your Colour" the vocals seemed to be mainly female. The song kicks in after 1 minute and 11 seconds; the undertones of bass are noticed a lot more strongly with the electronic sounds pushing through the background. "We are going to a different place, we're taking everything we can" are the lyrics from the chorus. These seem to have more substance to them than in previous songs that I have heard from the band, which does make a nice, change to be honest. The drums and the bass are very strong during this whole song; however, they do not drown out the lyrics at all, like some songs can. The total length of the song is 5 mins 52 secs.
My overall rating of this song is 7/10, in comparison with all the other songs on the album, this is not one of my favourites, however it may grow on me as some of the songs from "Hold Your Colour" (i.e. "Through The Loop") did. The best bits about it are the strong undertones of bass that cut through and die out regularly.
3 - Propane Nightmares

This is the song that you would most likely have heard if you listen to the charts on a Sunday. When I first heard this song I didn't really like it, as to begin with it didn't sound like the type of song that Pendulum usually do. This seems to be the general agreement with most people, as it debuted at number 26 in the charts and the following week climbed to number 9, going up 17 places! The song begins with some vocals "something's tearing me down and down, can't help but feel it's coming from you". These vocals are backed with a little bit from the symbols of a drum kit. It starts slowly, which seems to be a trademark or at least the style of most Pendulum songs, only really kicking in with its real tune after 1 minute 6 seconds. The build up to this action in the song makes it expected and we anticipate it strongly, making the song even better when it does kick in. Again, with a very strong bass-line vibrating slowly through the song and the fast drums over the top, the synths working overtime and the electronic vocals Pendulum have created another success. This definitely does have more of a commercial song, and could be passed off as a dancey drum n bass song - maybe a contributing factor to its recent success in the charts. The song finishes as it starts, slow, but definitely not boring, most of the sounds dim down a little but then kick in again for another rush of our ears. The song in total is 5 mins 13 secs of pure Pendulum!
My overall rating for this song would be 9/10 again, it engages the listener for the full 5 minutes with different aspects of the song, dipping in and out of the heavy bass-line makes for a good listen.
4 - Visions

"Visions" has the strongest bass-line start to the album so far. The bass does not start right from the beginning; there is an electronic voice to introduce the track. Then the heavy bass kicks in. Although "Visions" does have a very strong bass-line to begin with, this fades and kicks again throughout the duration of the song. There is a lot more of an electronica feel about this track, rather than a drum'n'bass feel. After 2 mins 5 secs the song takes us in a completely different direction from where we were going before, however, this is a mere distraction and soon gets back to the introductory beat and tune. We hear quite a lot of vocals in the song, which is unusual for a Pendulum track as they are usually scattered about and are quite brief. The electronic voice is kept in the whole song. It is quite a slow song and is definitely one of the more placid tunes on the album, it wouldn't be out of place on a Ministry of Sound chill-out C.D. This is until 4 mins 10 secs of the song has passed. You would think the song is fading and making way for the next track but we get one last burst and it picks up pace slightly. This is a good addition to the track.
My overall rating for this track would be 8/10. I am not really a fan of the slower style drum'n'bass songs being quite a massive basshead. However the really strong bass does pull it through, with the extra bpm (beats per minute) being added towards the end. I would listen to this song if I was in a relaxed/relaxing mood, that's not to say everyone would find it relaxing as to some people it could still sound fast. The track lasts for 5 minutes and 36 seconds altogether, this is of average length for the songs on the album.
5 - Midnight Runner

"Midnight Runner" starts quite slowly, again, building up pace and depth gradually, starting with synths, then introducing the snare and bass, and finally the vocals. Which again, are male. This song has much more subtle tones of bass, running through it. The bass is not the key feature of the main focus of the song, instead we hear mostly synths throughout. This is a nice change to the mid point of the C.D. The majority of the songs previously have been quite fast up until now. The song reaches a crescendo at 2 mins 37 secs, where the real tones kick in. The bass becomes a lot stronger and the pace hastens slightly. There is still a lot of emphasis on the synths rather than the bass but it is pushing through a lot stronger. "Midnight Runner" has three stages in the development of the song. The introduction being slow and steady, the middle with its quicker pace and stronger bass bringing you towards the end of the song. After about 4 mins 30 secs the song picks up again and the bass kicks in a lot stronger than in the rest of the song, the focus become less and less on the synths until they a completely gone, leaving us with pure and simple drums and bass.
My rating for this track would again be an 8/10.
6 - The Otherside

This track has a very subtle and strange start considering that it is a Pendulum song, to begin with you could mistake it for the introduction of a song by the band "Muse". The song as a whole focuses mainly on guitars, rather than the synths. This is a more commercial song from Pendulum and I could understand if this became their next single. (The single of The Other Side, was released in July 2008, proving me right. Unless the band read my review?) It features both male and female vocals simultaneously. I don't like this song as much as the others that I have heard on the album, however it does still make for a good listen. It has a very steady pace which is virtually constant throughout, there is no chopping and changing like in some of the other songs.
My rating for this song would probably only be a 7/10. However, this does not mean it is a disappointing song, just not as good as some of the others.
7 - Mutiny

This track builds up and builds up until it finally kicks in properly after 49 seconds of being played. The synths are strong in this track and it is an extremely familiar sound found from Pendulum, something that was common place on their first album. Something even more familiar is that they have sampled a song from "Hold Your Colour". The lyrics from "The Terminal" have been used in this track. The first time I listened I thought it sounded familiar, they are sung in an entirely different way that makes them sound a lot better. "Mutiny" is quite a slow song and is very strange for many reasons. In the middle there is an almost Guns n Roses style guitar solo, which is something completely new from the band. However, there are a lot more rock influences in this album. After this introduction of the guitars the song builds up again and is still keeping my interest, even though it is something I haven't heard the band do before.
Overall I would give this track an 9/10. It is extremely original in my eyes, however it is not fast enough for my particular tastes, I like the fact that they have used existing lyrics from a previous song.
8 - 9,000 Miles

This track is another one of those that has a stereotypical drum'n'bass intro, spanning for 1 min 27 secs before some more male vocals are introduced. The song is still very slow for a further 90 seconds until it picks up to its main pace. This is not a fast song and it definitely suits this style. This song seems like it has been put in to break up the fast pace of the tracks before it. I find it very relaxing, the melody is very mellow and calming and the soft bass running through the background doesn't stimulate you too much. Each note of the melody is drawn out adding to the effect of being relaxed. There are no points in this song where the bass or anything else suddenly kicks in and I think Pendulum have worked this well, making for a well rounded song overall.
My rating for the song, is again 8/10.
9 - Granite

The single release of Granite was a much more familiar sound that Propane Nightmares, however it was not as successful in the top40 chart. This song has much more of an electronica feel about it. It has a fast pace with a lot more dance style sounds. Perhaps this is why Pendulum decided to release it, so they can appeal to a broader audience. Being a fan of electronica as well, I do still like this track. There are quite a lot of lyrics to the track which is unusual for a Pendulum song. The synths play a heavy part in the song, which again, starts slow, picks up pace, slows back down and goes out with a bang. There does not seem to be as much of a bass-line in this track as there is in others, but the tune of the song definitely helps this out. It is very catchy and I usually tend to find myself humming it after a listen.
My rating for "Granite" is 9/10.
10 - The Tempest

Contrary to the suggestion of the title, this is a much slower, more subdued song from Pendulum, it is not so much a mellow or chill-out song, however it does have that kind of feel to it. There is a different focus in this track. The song starts with the lyrics "I saw you the other day, looking so undermined, acting like it wouldn't happen, and making sense of anything that you could find." They are sung slowly and go very well with the backing sounds. The backing of the bass-line is still immense and strong, but it is not in the forefront as much as we have become used to with the rest of the album. The chill-out factor does not last for the duration of the song however. Towards the end it turns into quite an epic masterpiece of sounds. There is a very heavy rock influence in this track as there is a lot of guitars and Rob Swire using his vocals in a similar manner. The vocals in this song are similar to the style you hear when Pendulum are live, where they also use a lot of guitars to replicate the studio sounds. In "The Tempest" there is even swearing! Which is completely new in a Pendulum album, however once again, there is a lot of swearing when they perform live, both from Rob Swire and MC Verse (who I have seen separately). This does make it feel like more of a live track than a studio one. Giving a worthy end to the standard edition C.D.
This is an absolutely amazing song and I would definitely have to give it 10/10 as I absolutely love listening to it, definitely making it my favourite on the album.
11. Propane - V.I.P. Remix/ 12. Propane - Celldweller Remix

Both of these remixes can only be found on the enhanced edition C.D. They are definitely more influenced by the underground drum'n'bass scene as they are more typical styles than Pendulum have treated us to with "In Silico". There is a lot of heavy bass and drums throughout both the songs and it can be at times very manic. This is more the style of music I was introduced to and have grown to love. They are a good addition to the disc and I would probably give both tracks a 10/10. The extra £1 per track was definitely worth it.

Overall rating for the tracks comes out at a high 8/10 - turning into 88/100.

Appearance


The album cover looks as if it is part of a computer component of sorts. Circular in shape with lines running through it parallel to the circumference. There is also a foetus in the foetal position in the centre of the shape. Each of the lines is made up of a different colour.

The enhanced special edition C.D. has the same cover design; however it is in an embossed tin case, rather than the usual plastic. Inside there is a square of foam protecting anything from getting damaged or scratched in anyway. The C.D. itself has the same design as the front cover, but it is all in a greyish silver colour backed by a white main. You also get some quite good artwork inside, there is a fold-out sleeve with a picture on it that spans the length. It is a view of some countryside at night with a few U.F.O.s dotted around using their traction beams. The main focal point of the artwork is the big "Mothership" in the centre with a community living on top of it. It looks very interesting and detailed and looks to be related to the video for the single "Granite".

On the front of the tin case there are a few quotes, these are as follows:
• "Pendulum have turned drum'n'bass up to eleven" - Mixmag
• "Pendulum have that intriguing cross-over appeal that will make them superstars" - Kerrang
• "It's a cosmic symphonic rock beast that'll fill stadiums. Watch them soar" - DJ
• "Natural heirs to The Prodigy's dance-rock legacy" - Q

Price


Having checked on 11/04/08, the price on www.hmv.com is £8.99 and this is saying you make a saving of £11.00, from their list price.
It can also be purchased currently from Amazon and Woolworths and is retailing for just under £11.00 on both sites.
However, the cheapest that I have found since then has been www.play.com and it is selling at £8.95, with free delivery. Here is the link to the site - http://www.play.com/Music/CD/4-/3366735/In-Silico/Product.html
The enhanced edition can also be found on play.com for a price of £12.99 (http://www.play.com/Music/CD/4-/5408676/In-Silico/Product.html) and is available in HMV for £15.99. The extra couple of pounds is because of the tin case and the bonus tracks and videos found on it.

These seem to be fair prices as there are only 10 tracks on the album, which is slightly lower than most albums, their previous album has 14 tracks and is also retailing at £8.95 on play. http://www.play.com/Music/CD/4-/3382681/-/Product.html?searchstring=hold+yo ur+colour&searchsource=0

Having searched again in Feb 2010 I cannot find a price to buy the enhanced CD as new, probably because it was a limied edition. The normal CD is cheapest at £4.89 from www.sendit.com.

Enhanced C.D. vs. Basic C.D.


The main purchasing decision as to whether or not to buy this version of the C.D. essentially comes down to this one section, with the question why, or why not?

I personally don't know why the C.D. is "enhanced" as the sound may or may not be better, but from what I have heard from other versions, it is no different. I think it simply makes it sound better than being a limited edition C.D. - which it is. The only thing that genuinely is enhanced is the packaging, being tin and therefore very noticeable in a collection.

The Enhanced C.D. has the 2 bonus tracks, which are definitely very good tracks and I have enjoyed listening to them thoroughly. However if you are not a big fan of drum'n'bass then the style of the songs would probably not be suitable for you. Therefore, on this point the enhanced C.D. would only be suitable for the bigger fans of Pendulum or the drum'n'bass music scene.

The standard C.D. is retailing at around £9 and the enhanced edition at £13. This, for some people would mean that they would be more likely to buy the standard edition. I would definitely say that this is a wise choice. There are not many extras on the enhanced edition that would be enjoyable for most people. The general music listener would definitely be more suited to the standard edition.

The enhanced C.D. also includes 2 videos, which can be played by simply putting the C.D. in your P.C. or laptop and it will run automatically. One of the videos is for the track "Propane Nightmares" which can just be found on youtube. So there is no influence there to opt for the enhanced edition. The second video is a performance of Granite at the Electric Ballroom. I enjoyed this video a lot as it reminded me of when I saw them performing live a couple of months ago. But again, this would not be as enjoyable for the casual music listener, or those who are not big fans of Pendulum.

Additional Information

  • Tracks - 12
  • Label - Warner Brothers
  • Release Date - 12/05/08
  • Number of Discs - 1
  • Record Label - Warner Music
  • Distributed By - Cinram Logistics

Overall


After listening to this album over and over again, I feel like I have come to the decision that it is not as good as the album "Hold Your Colour" however the songs are very listenable for me and I will be enjoying for weeks months and years to come until they release a new album. Maybe because I have become so accustomed to listening to the older tracks I can't fully appreciate what Pendulum have gifted me now.

I would recommend the album to people who like dance music/drum n bass/electronic music as it definitely would not be suitable for everyone. However, with Propane Nightmares rising up in the chart the week prior to In Silico's release, this could suggest that the band are becoming more widely liked.
I personally have the enhanced special edition C.D. and I would not recommend this to potential buyers, simply because you can get virtually the same C.D. for £4 cheaper. However the people I would recommend this to is big Pendulum fans, like myself.
The fact that there are only 10 tracks on the album can be a little bit off-putting for buyers; however, you do get a lot for your money. Each song is simply amazing for a start and the songs are all quite long. The C.D. lasts for 58 minutes and 7 seconds, which really is not bad as most albums seem to have 12-14 songs on lasting 4 minutes at most, equalling out to roughly the same amount of time. So don't let the 10 tracked album put you off!

The people that I would advise to buy the enhanced C.D. are those that are big fans of Pendulum, or those people that listen to a lot of similar music and tend to try and buy the more limited edition discs.

Glossary


I thought I would just write a few little definitions of some of the words that I have used, as not everyone is a "basshead" or dance fan, making it easier to understand what I have talked about.

• Kicking In - When a song kicks/kicks in, it means that the main action of the song has started; the bass for example or the main tune. It will often be mellow up until this point.
• Bass-line - Pretty much self explanatory, the bass of the song that is constant throughout is known as the bass-line. The bass-line tends to be created electronically and the bass drum from a drum kit offers a different sound that is less constant.
• Synths - Short for synthesiser, which is A synthesizer is an electronic music device that allows the control of the pitch, timing and tone in the generation of one or more source audio. (www.songstuff.com/glossary/S)
• Electronica - This is a genre of music created using electronic devices such as drum machines, samplers and synthesizers. www.audiosentials.com/


This is a quote from Pendulum themselves describing the music they produce and why. I feel that it sums up the album pretty aptly for me, and would like to leave you with the thought and conclusion. It has been taken from the website http://pendulum.com/about.aspx

"To us, it made perfect sense to combine the best of both worlds, but it had to be done in a way that didn't make it sound obvious. In the last 10 years you've had all these bands that tried to cross the bridge by recruiting a turntablist / using a synthesizer on their new single, or electronic artists who just threw an obvious guitar sample into a tune...but eventually it just came across as a gimmick or a bit cheesy. We thought we'd try and do it properly, because to us it still hasn't been done right and there's a lot of room for exploration.

If you turn on the radio today you'll hear 20 tracks in a row describing someone's every-day life, or songs with a one-line catchphrase chorus about shaking your ass in the club - the production is usually great but when you look deeper, there's nothing behind it...it doesn't offer you anything past its face value. We want to hear something different and exciting, but the material we want to hear isn't getting made. Thats why we spend nearly every waking moment trying to create music that takes you out of this universe - for ourselves and anyone else who wants to listen."

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Comments on this review

  • xKatieeex published 06/04/2010
    I like songs about shaking my ass in the club :P Great review, but I can't stand Pendulum, lol.
  • Autarkis published 04/04/2010
    Superb review :)
  • CaimheKnox published 22/03/2010
    Sorry for the delay, I have now re-rated your review. :)
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Product Information : In Silico - Pendulum

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Drum 'N' Bass/Jungle - Label: Warner Bros., WEA, Atlantic - Distributor: Arvato Services; Proper, Cinram Logistics, Arvato Services - Released: 12/05/2008 - 825646952762, 825646956616

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EAN: 825646952762, 825646956616

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