Slaves To The Song

Something of a different type of review, this time of the band ‘Paradox Lost’, a minimalist rock combo heavily influenced by the Plastic Ono Band, The Doors and the likes of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen.


‘As the singer stepped up to the mic, the crowd fell silent. On the drummer’s count, the bass and drums started up a slow groove, accompanied by clean, shimmering notes from the lead guitar, all coming in at the same precise moment, so the music moved from silence to a beautiful vibration of sound. The beat was relaxed but with constant embellishments, as if the drummer never wanted to leave it alone. The bass player complimented his master with a deft mixture of well-held, well-timed single notes, runs and occasional 2 or 3-note chords, which added a surprise element to the swampy tone and feel. The lead guitar had a similar alternation of ideas, and the main feature of this combo was their wondrous ability to fill the sound with points of interest at different times without ever treading on each other’s musical toes. The effect on the small audience was that they were never short-changed or overwhelmed in any single moment. The singer/rhythm guitarist first expressed himself with well-timed full and partial guitar chords, aware that he too had a (six-string) master. However, when he started to sing, he was clearly out on his own. The notes were technically well-delivered, without this ever seeming a hindrance, and what came across was the commitment to deliver the passion of the song above the delivery of the singer himself. In this band, the song was what they all deferred to. From this template, they seemed to all lose themselves in their own part of the glorious whole. They liked to let the grooves continue on sometimes for several minutes, getting deeper and deeper, building in intensity before an explosion of melody and that chiming guitar and its partial chording. What kept the audience interested was the promise of release from tension, but it was a release of melodic pop music, not angry metal. The 5th member of ‘Paradox’ is a Japanese folk singer, who preceded the band’s appearance with a solo set of her own. She embodies all that is weird, avant-garde, experimental and strange about Japanese artists and their reaction to the restrictions of their traditional culture. As the band played, she struck random percussive ‘instruments’, seemingly not caring what sound was produced but actually managing to fit it all into the framework of the groove. This band are experimentalists but with a keen, cohesive ear for what is pleasing to the ear’