Spastic Ink
Ink Complete


5.0
classic

Review

by Bartender EMERITUS
January 14th, 2005 | 51 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


Apparently, the name Spastic Ink came about because much of this album was written through the mail.

Released 1997 on Mr Kitty (I think)

Ron Jarzombek - Guitars
Pete Perez - Bass
Bobby Jarzombek - Drums

Now, if any of you read my review of Ron Jarzombek's [url=http://www.musicianforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=205700]Solitarily Speaking of Theoretical Confinement[/url], I'd first like to stress that Ink Complete is the superior album. Solitarily Speaking.. is a very conceptual album, and I gave the 5/5 as much for the scale of the idea behind it, and the work and humour put into it, as anything else. Based on musical enjoyment, it would be a 4/5, or maybe just below.

Ink Complete, on the other hand, whilst similarly technical, has "proper" songs (albeit still without vocals) rather than many short bits strung together. One of the main differences is the level of musicianship outside of the guitar - Ron Jarzombek still shows his huge amounts of skill with the guitar, but his brother Bobby, and Pete Perez, on drums and bass repectively, up the quality on their instruments. I found it quite easy, after a few listens, to stop analysing the music and just enjoy the melodies and solos, but I don't know if others will be able to. Despite being instrumental, almost every song has a theme. So, ignore the technicality if you want, and just listen.

The Mad Data Race is a great opener, as it really showcases what's coming in a nutshell. The quick tempo changes and lightning fast melody runs give it a very stop-start feel, which is representative of the computer theme hinted at in the title (which I think they went a bit far with on their second album, Ink Compatible, but that's another story). Yes, it is very indulgent in terms of overt technicality, but it maintains it's melody throughout, and never becomes just a mass of boring but skilful playing.

To Counter and Groove in E Minor is a good track to start with if you're new to the band, or to the style of music. It is an attempt to use classical guitar counterpoint and melodies combined with a danceable groove, and as such can be a window into the band, a starting point. It was for me. I don't know about danceable (I don't dance), but it's certainly one of the most memorable (in a humming the many melodies throughout your day way) songs on here. With enough listens, it becomes addictive, and it's certainly one of my favourite tracks, if nothing else.

Mosquito Brain Surgery is the second longest track on the album, and one of the most difficult to listen to initially. It wasn't written all at once - it was begun early in the writing process, and had extra bits written and incorporated into it throughout recording, the result being that it ended up longer and more complex than the band had originally intended, "becoming to us some sort of mentally deranged medical procedure", hence the strange title. It's one of the least happy-sounding songs on the album as well, which put me off somewhat when first listening to it.

Two tracks in particular deserve special mention; A Morning With Squeakie and A Wild Hare. ..Squeakie tells the story of a squirrel called Squeakie, as he wakes up, searches for breakfast and is attacked by a dog (which is repelled using his breakfast). Despite the lack of vocals, the stop-start rhythms and melodies get across the image of Squeakie hopping and scurrying around surprisingly well, however weird that sounds.

A Wild Hare is something else entirely though. The longest (real) track on the album, it is based on a scene from "an animation classic released in 1942" - Bambi. The scene in question is one with Thumper, though I'm not sure which (I think it is one form near the start). Anyway, the band (maybe just Ron, I'm not sure) spent hours transcribing the entire scene's original orchestral score (including violins, violas, cellos, flutes, piccolos, clarinets, oboes, bassoons, harp, percussion/timpani and lightning effects) to music for guitar, drums and bass. Also transcribed was the dialogue of the hare (accurate down to pitch and timing, and including coughs, inarticulate noises and throat clearings). If there was no rhythm or chord apparent to be transcribed, they added something of their own until something popped up again. On it's own, this is an achievement on par with anything on Solitarily Speaking.., and is much more enjoyable to listen to, as well (it was designed to score a Disney film, after all).

Before I finish, I want to say something about Bobby Jarzombek. He's a really impressive drummer - up there with Flo Mournier and Sean Reinert, in my opinion. He doesn't take centre stage on many tracks, but his speed is comparable to both the aforementioned drummers, and his agility comparable to Reinert, and his drumming is always skilful and complementary to whatever is going on. He has an advantage in this respect, having played with both his brother (naturally) and Perez (in Riot) for many years, and as such is adept at playing with both of them. The exception to his background position is Harm and Half-time Baking Shuffle, for which his drumming is the main focus. It even has an excellent drum solo, which is a rarity - as I'm not a drummer, it's hard to keep me interested in drum solos, but this is a good one.

Anyway, there's a brief summary of what I think are the more notable tracks on the album, though the others are all good as well.

5/5

[url]www.spasticink.com[/url]
[url]www.lasercd.com[/url]



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user ratings (104)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
204409
Emeritus
July 14th 2004


3996 Comments


This sounds ludicrously amazing. Are you on soulseek for my sampling purposes? My user name is of course DFelon204409. Message me. Please.

BuddyBigsby
July 14th 2004


531 Comments


Spastic Ink are so technical it's mind-boggling. Didn't they redo the album with vocals or they're working on a new album with vocals or something like that?

Per Ardua Ad Astra
July 14th 2004


106 Comments


Very nice review Bartender. This is a very good album indeed.

Bartender
Emeritus
July 14th 2004


826 Comments


[QUOTE=BuddyBigsby]Spastic Ink are so technical it's mind-boggling. Didn't they redo the album with vocals or they're working on a new album with vocals or something like that?[/QUOTE]

Their second album had vocals on the majority of tracks, as well as a whole bunch of guest musicians (including Sean Malone and Marty Friedman, both of whom contribute solos). It's already been released (www.lasercd.com). I haven't listened to it enough yet, but so far I prefer Spastic Ink without vocals.

DFelon - I'm on Soulseek, as Kanadarius. I'm on dial-up, but if you don't mind then I don't.

FillInTheBlankHere___
July 15th 2004


64 Comments


I've wanted this CD for soooo long. If only I had enough money to order this. I believe that there are some videos of Bobby Jarzombek drumming songs from the newest album up on Spastic Ink's site, I've got the video for Aquanet and it's sick.

Another place where you can order Spastic Ink albums is Freeson Rock ( http://www.freesonrock.com/en/index.html) I can't vouch for their mail order service, but I've been to the store in person and it's really nice. It's a Canadian company, which might be preferable for some people.

Distorted Vision
July 15th 2004


184 Comments


SI are probably the most technical band I listen to. The Jarzombek's skill is amazing, and Perez just blows my mind. I mean, check out that bass solo on To Counter & Groove! :eek:

Addmittedly, this isn't an album I can listen to repeatedly, but when I'm in a technical mood it's just right. I do like the idea of the restraints they put on themselves in each song though, and I need to check out their new record aswell.

So good schtuff, 3.8/5

extreme_191
August 1st 2004


17 Comments


How do they compare technically with DT, cause I'm very interested?

204409
Emeritus
August 1st 2004


3996 Comments


[QUOTE=extreme_191]How do they compare technically with DT, cause I'm very interested?[/QUOTE]

Tear them apart.

SubtleDagger
August 1st 2004


737 Comments


Why the hell is this album so hard to get? It sounds friggin' awseome, I gotta get me some tracks.

Bartender
Emeritus
August 1st 2004


826 Comments


If you're on Soulseek, you can download from me, or presumably DFelon. I could send you some on MSN as well, if you have that. Alternatively, it's still available to buy at www.lasercd.com.

lilpete86
August 1st 2004


13 Comments


Awesome review bartender. I love spastic ink but as Distorted Vision said it's hard to listen to more than once at a time.

204409
Emeritus
August 1st 2004


3996 Comments


[QUOTE=Bartender]If you're on Soulseek, you can download from me, or presumably DFelon. I could send you some on MSN as well, if you have that. Alternatively, it's still available to buy at www.lasercd.com.[/QUOTE]

My normal computer is fixed and my brother got back in town so I won't be using soulseek for a bit.

extreme_191
August 1st 2004


17 Comments


That video of Ron's tapping solo is wicked. Is it off of Ink Complete?

manuscriptreplica
November 6th 2004


431 Comments


Just downloaded it, awesome album. I didn't know Jarzombek was in Watchtower :eek:

Good review, I'll start one on Ink Compatible, I think.

Bartender
Emeritus
November 6th 2004


826 Comments


Thanks. Go for Ink Compatible. I'd only spend far too much time talking about Sean Malone's lone contribution to it

manuscriptreplica
November 6th 2004


431 Comments


That's what I plan on doing ;)

Bartender
Emeritus
November 6th 2004


826 Comments


I know

Distorted Vision
November 6th 2004


184 Comments


How much does Sean do on that?

Is it as good as you two are making out? Because if so, I need it.

manuscriptreplica
November 6th 2004


431 Comments


I dunno, I haven't listened to it yet.

For great technical metal, download Alarum off me, I will rip the CD tomorrow. I just saw em live, awesome stuff, the bassist/singer was wearing an Atheist shirt :eek:

Toozey
November 6th 2004


77 Comments


Spastic Ink is difficult music to get into it.



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