The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Ty Segall: Manipulator (Drag City, 2014)

Roots

Manipulator, el enésimo disco de Ty Segall, en solitario, con o sin banda o acompañando a colegas, es otro de los ejemplos que nos demuestran que Ty es uno de los grandes talentos de los últimos tiempos, incluso por esa sobresaturación de discos.
Un trabajo donde Segall vuelve a reencontrarse con los sonidos más crudos del Rock de los sesenta (Feel, It´s over, Connection man, Susie thumb, The crawler…); la Psicodelia suave vía Love u otros artefactos sesenteros (Manipulator, Tall man, skinny lady; The faker, The clock, Green belly, The hand, Who´s producing you), distanciándose de su predecesor: Sleeper (2013), aunque con muchos cortes que pasarían la criba de éste (The singer, Don´t you want to know, The feels, Stick around).
Un torrente de canciones, un torbellino de guitarras que nos vuelve a acercar a este pequeño genio de los primeros tiempos del siglo ventiuno. Lejos de sus inicios LoFi, pero cada vez más cercano a una zona de confort más rockista. Un disco más que recomendable.


“With Manipulator, Segall arrives at his own personal promised land, the place where all the divergent paths he’s travelled intersect. As Segall has revealed in interviews, Manipulatorrepresents the inevitable pause from his usual breakneck pace, its 17-song, double-album sprawl the product of an unprecedented (for him) 14-month writing process. You can feel that extra attention to detail on every song here: In sharp contrast to his previous album-to-album (or, in the case of 2012’s grab-bag Twins, track-to-track) stylistic shifts, the songs ofManipulator represent a perfect melting-pot synthesis of Segall’s many sonic signatures, as if each component—from the British Invasion-inspired melodies to the glam-rock affectations to the berserker guitar solos—was carefully measured out in beakers and test tubes before being mixed together. “He’s going to make a movie/ Of his entire life,” Segall sings on the gritty acoustic groover “Green Belly”, and even if he’s not referring directly to Manipulator’s career-spanning breadth, he certainly embraces auteur theory here, playing pretty much all of the instruments himself. (His trusty Ty Segall Band appears together on just one track.) 
Manipulator sticks within a clearly demarcated comfort zone—i.e., the turn-of-the-’70s classic-rock canon spanning The Who Sell Out to Raw Power—but manages to touch upon every significant development in rock ‘n’ roll during that period. Want string-swept Bolan-esque serenades? Meet “The Singer”. A glitter-smeared proto-punk face-melter? Check “It’s Over”. Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds mod-rock romps? Keep it real with “The Faker”. OrnateForever Changes-worthy psych-folk? You can’t beat “The Clock”. A Grand Funk’d boogie that yields a drum-banging breakdown just like the one on Rod Stewart’s version of the Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You”? Get your fill with “Feel”. But perhaps the most pervasive influence of all is David Bowie circa The Man Who Sold the World—not just in Segall’s fanciful, faux-Brit diction (a quality he shares with his equally effete pal Tim Presley, aka White Fence), but in the way he welds electric shredding to percussive acoustic underpinnings, with the stripped-down strut of “Tall Skinny Lady” and “The Clock” bringing to mind the Bowie/Ronson match-ups on “Black Country Rock” and “Width of a Circle”.
And yet, even though his musical frame of reference is fixated upon an era that began 20 years before he was born, Segall is very much consumed by modern problems. As to be expected from someone who hasn’t updated their Twitter account in three months,Manipulator takes a skeptical view of technocracy, its lyrics dotted with allusions to surveillance, privacy invasion, identity theft, and TV addiction. In this light, the album’s acoustic/electric symbiosis feels emblematic of the tug-of-war between old-world authenticity and new-world convenience playing out in Segall’s head. (As if the aforementioned “Feel” doesn’t make his preference for IRL connections explicit enough, he answers it with another song called “The Feels”.) Of course, like any tried ‘n’ true garage-rocker, Segall still has girl trouble on his mind—but, in this case, it’s trouble with a girl addicted to her devices named, natch, “Susie Thumb”.  
With its fuzzed-out Kinksian hooks, “Susie Thumb” is an obvious choice for Manipulator’s lead single—and, really, they could all be singles here. But that’s a comment on both Segall’s consistent craftsmanship and the songs’ very similar sense of scale, the latter of which ultimately prevents Manipulator from becoming the career-crowning milestone its protracted gestation period suggested. Manipulator may be 50 percent longer than the average Ty Segall record, but it doesn’t always make the case that it had to be. The issue isn’t song quality so much as a flattened topography: Whether they emphasize regal violins or squealing leads, the tunes here are pitched at the same cruising altitude and rarely upset their steady, maraca-massaged choogle. As such, Manipulator feels less like an epic Side-A-to-Side-D journey and more like an hour-long CD that would benefit from some editing (particularly when the songs start to feel like dopplegangers of one another—see: “The Crawler” vs. “It’s Over”). As his red-hot, silver-lipsticked recent appearance on Conan proved, Segall is ready for prime time. However, the ample generosity of Manipulator highlights the cruel paradox of showbiz: When you give the people everything they want, you can’t leave them wanting more” (Pitchfork)

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2 enero, 2015 - Posted by | Ty Segall

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