Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kelly McKee - You're Lost


This is one of those very, very special albums.  I'm being 100% serious when I say this is the funniest album I've ever heard, and to understand why that is, you first need to go to his Soundclick page and read everything there.  Yeah, it could take a minute but trust me it's a goldmine.  I wish I could just quote the whole thing, but that would be ludicrous.  Here are some choice excerpts, so you can understand the nonsense that goes on in his head.

"The band name, for the present time is, Kelly McKee. In ancient Gaelic, my name translates to 'Warrior, Son of Fire'. My ancestors came from the Cape Wrath region of Northern Scotland."

If your name were in ancient Gaelic it'd be "Is Minic a Gheibhean Beal Oscailt Diog Dunta".  Your name is Kelly McKee because your father's last name was McKee and your parents thought you were going to be a woman.

"My musical influences include JS Bach, Beethoven, D. Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky, and many other classical and film score composers, medieval, and renaissance music."

So deep, bro.  Everybody knows that you can't be taken seriously as a musician if you don't start off conversation with how you love classical music first and foremost, since nothing else is high art. 

"Unlike some of this genre's most famous exponents, I have never borrowed (or plagiarized) melodies from any classical composers, without giving the composer credit."

I am also an innovative genius who is overflowing with rich new ideas!  No really, check it:

"Physics is the same on every continent, but the only music that takes these basic observations about nature into account fully is classical music, which originated in Europe and paralleled the the advent of the science of physics during the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. This is literally the reason why many other forms of music sound primitive by comparison. Any music that goes along the path of a fixed set of rhythms and scale use, is more limitedly defined"

"My bandmates went on and had their families. I was much more serious about music, had a lot of ideas, and kept going with it"

Before listening to anything, I need you to read the entire "Anything Else?" section.  Trust me, it's amazing.

Have you done all that yet?  Okay, good.  Now listen to his music.

*waits an hour*

You didn't actually listen to the full 62 minutes of this did you?  No no, that's okay, I don't hold it against you, I'm amazed at my own showcase of human endurance and stamina by managing through the entire ordeal.  Is this not the funniest shit in the world?  Oh my god, for a man as full of himself as McKee here, you'd expect there to, ya know, actually be some semblance of skill here.  But no, this man makes the most out of nothing by being a terrible songwriter, terrible guitar player, terrible drum programmer, and terrible historian with an ego the size of a red hypergiant.  This man believes his shit doesn't stink simply because his head is so far up his ass that he's gotten used to the smell.   If you can write, record, and release this and feel it's not only good enough to be well regarded, but actually "ahead of most of the rest of the genre technically" or "practically the test of excellence in melodic composing", then you are on some new, experimental super drug.  Seriously, is this guy snorting Keith Moon's remains?

I cannot stress how laughably amateurish and downright atrocious You're Lost is.  The entire album (this is not an exaggeration, I literally mean 100% of the album's running time) is spent with either a rhythmically inept guitar, or tone deaf atonal "shredding".  I consistently put "shredding" in quotes because I can say with the utmost confidence that I am a better guitar player than this man... and I'm a bassist... who hasn't practiced in over six years.  You know when you first get a guitar how you'll kind of randomly flail on the high end of the fretboard with no regards to rhythm or melody?  You're just overwhelmed with "Holy shit, I'm playing guitar!  It's awesome!  Listen to this, I hit strings and frets and notes come out!  I'm finally creating music, holy shit this is so cool!"  That initial enthusiasm to just wail on the notes because it's completely new to you, regardless of how bad it would sound in the context of a song or a jam or even a warmup exercise is what Kelly McKee has apparently been basking in for over twenty years.  The melodic sensibilities he lauds himself for are non existent, as the plays in keys he makes up himself (seriously) and even when he double tracks two guitars (which is a huge rarity), they don't mesh with each other and end up being this buzzy, dissonant mess.

The journey into Kelly's delusional mind is probably best encapsulated by the transcendentally horrendous "Into the Night", mainly because it's the only track with vocals, and these vocals are golden.  It's just McKee, at first apparently just talking, narrating his track in a the absolute worst Boris Karloff impression I've ever heard.  But when the timbre starts changing, you realize that oh god he's trying to sing.

"My music features a new, fully 3 dimensional musical arrangement style that brings to life imagery and morphology. 'Into The Night' achieves a 3-dimensional quality, like being inside of a cathedral, for example, in addition to being about one. The singing on the piece has proper 'affect' - the singing style matches the setting and intended character part of the song."

So it's shitty on purpose, got it.  The fact that it includes a snare drum, a single tracked distorted guitar, and a low speaking voice does not make it 3 dimensional.  This album would be worth a zero percent based on the music alone, but the extracirricular attitude of the artist is so grand that it actually manages to surpass such a thing.  One crutch he always leans back on when faced with criticism is that his music is full of themes and musical representation of historical events, architecture, and physics.  Even if that made more sense than none at all, it would fail on that level as well.  Explain to me, how "Battleground" represents the philosophies of ancient Greece, or how "Statue Courtyard" represents a statue being torn down, or how "Encounter at Vermillion" (unfortunately not featured on this album, you'll have to check the Soundclick page for that one) is a musical representation of a knight in armor and his fight with a dragon?  I didn't make any of that up, these are all words from the man's mouth.  Apparently all these things sound like free-time noodling with nonsensical snare drum baps when put to music.  Silly me for thinking they might be orchestral or grandiose in scope, obviously they're most accurately expressed via one aspergery megalomaniac with a single tracked electric guitar with the songwriting skills of a mallard with a headwound.

"Centurion's Outpost" is the best song on display, which is horrifying since it's 11 minutes of structureless plucking and twanging on an acoustic guitar, but at least we're spared from the comically thin distortion and irritating as all hell drum machine.  It's amazing how Angelo Sasso is used so sparingly yet still manages to almost be the worst part about the album.  There is never a real rhythm, instead opting for seemingly non-sequitur strikes of mainly just the snare drum at completely unfollowable times.  Of course, he claims this is intentional and based on classical percussion as opposed to conventional rock drums (apparently he hasn't realized that the percussion in an orchestra plays a hugely important part and does actually do the exact opposite of what he does).  There are long stretches of most of the songs where the percussion will drop out entirely, leaving the stage completely clear for his guitar work.  The theatrics on display are on par with Jeffery Lebowski's neighbor's one man interpretive dance show.  I spend so much time laughing at this album that I should petition the genre be changed from "shred" to "stand up comedy".  This truly does need to be heard to be understood.

I'm honestly struggling to come up with things to say, this is just easily the most inept recording I've ever heard, and I've heard Rainfall and other z-grade bedroom black metal bands that would make your dead relatives weep.  There are no tempos, everything is in a strange free-time since McKee couldn't keep a beat if it was attached to his spine, the sound is weak and dull (but it's literally impeccable if you're to believe the artist), the songwriting is so far past the bottom of the barrel that it's firmly cemented into the lower mantle of Earth's crust, and the playing is so haphazard and amateurish that I can't even think of a comparison for it.  It's truly a sight to behold, I can't imagine the level of delusion it takes to honestly believe that one free-time track of you flailing like an imbecile with no rhyme or reason is as full as an orchestra.  I know I've given only one 0% in my reviewing career (to Five Finger Death Punch), but really, I couldn't have known what else was out there.  This is something else, something diabolical.  I'll leave you with some other quotes that truly show the insanity at play here:

"The march back into Athens at the end of 'Battleground' alone, makes Battleground one of the most significant pieces of rock composing in the last 5 years"

You heard the man, this is among the most significant pieces of rock composing in years.

"Those who would like to compose deep music about history, must study study study study
study study study study for at least 20 years to come close to my work in this area."

And you need twenty years of practice to even think of composing something as brilliant as this.

"Furthermore, I am an optical engineer, who can and has designed astronomical telescopes for viewing the heavens. You have likely not; therefore it is you, who is likely full of pretentious babble."

And he built a telescope!  So really I'm the asshole here.

Want to know what song is genuinely better than anything on You're Lost?  This three minute explosion of nonsense bullshit that my friend recorded one depressingly sober night.

No lie.  You're Lost has earned the dubious honor of being the only album to actually score below a zero.  Let that sink in.

RATING: -15%

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