Pele – Realize It

Pele
Realize It

Hot on the heels of their most recent album, Pele has put out this new album, 29 minutes worth of music in two songs. And, oddly enough, I feel that this album has finally realized Pele’s potential. As good as this instrumental trio has been on their other, more structured releases, this album finally finds them exploring and experimenting more, letting their music talents carry the songs. And instead of trying to tighten things into a separate 4-minute song, they sound here like they’re improvising quite a bit. This really showcases the talent of these three musicians.
This is the CD version of a limited-edition 12-inch the band previously released on Crouton. Apparently, Realize It is a phrase the band used “to describe the phenomenon of the mysteries all around us.” I’ll have to think about that one for a while. But the release gave the band a chance to record studio interpretations of several three-hour sets they had been performing at the Hi-Hat Lounge in Milwaukee, Wisc. They’re also based on improvised drum tracks set down earlier, and they have a improvised, experimental feel. But the songs flow so well, so perfectly from one variation to the next, never getting repetitive, that it’s amazing they were based on improvisations. Clearly, this is the band showcasing their abilities.
The first track, “Realize It,” is 11 minutes long and has a very nice guitar- and bass-driven flow. Bouncing along with a lively flare, it never gets repetitive. The song changes, allowing moments of guitar focus, shifts in the percussion, crisp bass lines, and various other stylistic changes. I like the addition of new instruments here as well, especially in the interplay of fast-paced drums and a xylophone or keyboard and the swirling of sparse bass lines and crisp, clean guitar notes. The second track is called “Gauzebloze,” and this 18-minute piece starts off completely different, beginning very soft, with sparse keyboards over an almost metronome drum beat. Slowly guitar and piano come in, lending the song weight and atmosphere. In fact, the use of piano throughout this track gives it a jazzy and intricate feel. The guitar, bass, and drums pick up, but the song maintains a quieter, more sparse feel. There’s also some odd, almost sampled bits of piano that break the song up in the middle, coming in and out. The song maintains a kind of improvised, complex flow throughout, but it still ends more light and steady, with the drums providing the foundation, especially as the piano and bass sort of fade into the background by the finish.
These two tracks are more pieces than songs. They try several different things, moving from one variation to the next, and it often seems as if one instrument is highlighted, then another, then another, then combinations. But what amazes me is how well these variations flow together, held together through precision and impeccable production. Although this music is soothing, I still think of it as active listening. I can’t just let this wash over me, because I keep striking on some new part, so new section that just floors me. It makes the commute home from work, which happens to be just as long as this album most days, much more enjoyable.
The thing that has always amazed me most about Pele is the interplay between the bass, guitar, and drums. No single instrument is highlighted, as tends to happen when bands relegate drums and bass to the rhythm section as a way to keep the pace of the song. The three elements have always been equally stressed, and while that has often caused their complex instrumentals to have a strained feel, here they play together effortlessly. For a band that has been doing the instrumental thing for a while, it’s great to see that they are still improving and developing their sound. If this is the way the band is headed, I predict some even more wonderful things in the future.