CD Review

Collide – “Live at the El Rey”

By Marcus Pan

Live at the El ReyFor years – over ten actually – Collide have been creating music from their studio. Statik and kaRIN have always remained outside the world, reachable only by closing your eyes as you spin their released CDs. It wasn’t until 2004, nearly a decade after the duo of kaRIN’s vocals and Statik’s extra-sensory noise came together originally, before Collide appeared and played any venue.

The crown jewel of the recent live endeavors of the group has given us two assortments of media wonderment. The first is the CD, Live at the El Rey, and the second is the DVD Like the Hunted, which I will talk about in more detail sometime later. To form their live outfit, Collide needed to find others that would help them realize the sound that they could create in the studio. Thusly they’ve enlisted Rogerio Silva (guitar), Chaz Pease (drums), Kai Kurosawa (guitar/bass) and Scott Landes (guitar).

Live at the El Rey plays like a best hits collection. Beneath the Skin opens us before moving into Crushed and Complicated. All throughout the recording is masterful with the only audience sounds being during the breaks between songs rather than a muddied unprofessional sound you expect with most live recordings. And the sound is full and glorious, rivaling even Collide’s previous studio work, with the full assortment of live musicians that played.

The CD was recorded on April 14, 2005 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, California. One of the most striking things about the CD is Karin’s humility – her short talk between Complicated and Falling Up shows how thrilled she is to be making music and to have people listen to it. She’s astounded by the fact that Collide has been making music for ten years successfully, and just as astounded at the fact that they really do sound that good. One of the few truly approachable figures in music history.

Her voice is phenomenal as always, high and sultry and laced with bitterness and sexual energy all at once. Falling Up sounds gorgeous with her voice like this, and the multiple guitar work and live drums brings power to the track like never before. Razor Sharp has always been a favorite of mine, found here on track 9, just as sultry as ever with a great job on bass by Kurosawa – live bass gives the track a punch that wasn’t there before.

The Grace Slick cover, White Rabbit, elicits screams from the crowd at its onset. Guitar work here is brilliantly done live. Again a lot of stock must be placed in Kurosawa’s bass breakdowns as well. The El Rey set is closed with Euphoria and Live at the El Rey has the bonus track of Euphoria’s video edit to close the album with sixteen tracks.

Collide has always been a studio project. But if you can find the right combination of people you can take even the most studio-enclosed sound to the stage. I’ve seen many acts fail at this, trying to turn an electronica band into a live outfit and looking more like a couple of gonads lost on a huge stage alone. And studio music can easily lose its power when put in a live venue. Collide has added musicians, increased the sound and is not only just as powerful outside the studio in front of you as it is within – it’s even moreso.

Contact Information:
Noiseplus Music
Post: PO Box 565, North Hollywood, CA 91603-0565, USA
Phone: (818) 506-1868
Fax: (818) 506-5127

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