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Cell Scape

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Has Melt Banana gone electronica? Though this is likely the question fans will be asking themselves during the electronically-oriented, almost Curve-like opening refrains of Cell-Scape, the answer is an emphatic and enthusiastic "no" -- they are, in fact, more tightly focused in their remarkably controlled fury than ever. From the grinding opening of "Shield for Your Eyes, A Beast in the Well..." on, this is undoubtedly the Melt Banana that listeners have marveled at for nearly a decade. The only difference between their older material and Cell-Scape is that with their latest effort the band has mastered the art of slowly building the intensity of a song before unleashing a barely contained rage that has come to define their unmistakable sound. If fans question their motives in the opening moments of this release -- the joke is most certainly on them, for the middle section of Cell-Scape shows the band's songwriting skills maturing impressively without any sacrifice to intensity or speed. Any band that has been around as long as Melt Banana and possesses such a unique sound needs to mature in some manner lest they risk the boredom of repetition in the eyes of fans, and the manner in which chirping lead squeaker YaSuKo O. and company has couldn't be more satisfying. Their undeniably unique sound is now more relevant than ever, perhaps even more so, resulting in an increasingly infectious sonic assault that will please longtime fans and peak curiosity in the uninitiated. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 10, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: A-Zap Records
  • ASIN: B0000996HR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,496 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Nieman on March 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard Melt-Banana years ago on John Peel's tiny little 30-minute space on the BBC World Service. Almost as soon as the song began, it was over. And while it made an immediate, jolting impression, it took me a while to get around to trying them out.

Now that I've "discovered" what they're all about, I can say that Melt-Banana is one of the most exciting bands I've ever heard.

Imagine you put on a CD by Rage Against the Machine and accidentally set the player on fast-forward. That is just sort of what Melt-Banana sounds like. They are called noise rock, noisecore, or simply noise. But really, they are a hardcore band incorporating noise and, on this album, traces of techno, hip-hop, and even trance music. And yes, they will draw disses from your buddies that they're a punk band fronted by Yoko Ono on crack. But who cares what they say?

I say don't listen to Yasuko O's vocals as a melodic instrument, but as a percussion instrument. Once I figured out how she fits into the sound, and accepted that her approach is more rap than punk, the more I knew her style is a vital part of Melt-Banana's rhythm. And now I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Truly, the mad scientist of Melt-Banana is Ichiro Agata. He's one of the most original guitar players I can think of, drawing apt comparisons to Tom Morello. Agata can rage full-on, and often does, then he spins up piercing waves of noise. He can also chill out and get subtle, while mixing styles interchangeably, enticing you to think he's "DJ Agata." This guy is a genius of guitar noise, and a really overlooked alt-rock player.

I think bassist Rika Mm' is probably the core of the Melt-Banana sound (the way John Entwistle was with The Who, if you'll allow the analogy).
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Format: Audio CD
It's easily their best album. This album tones down the noise and introduces rhythm and melody. Not the barrage of sound and havoc that most would expect having heard their other efforts. Advanced rhythms and a less by the numbers structure to everything softens this up.

This really sets in by the time "Lost Parts..." kicks in and you reallize their genius in turning noise into something with order, turning the familiar into the unfamiliar and back again.

The best way to get into Melt Banana is through this album, and it's likely to stick as most people's favorites

You can even enjoy this album if you're not high :D
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Format: Audio CD
In many ways, this CD is quite a departure from what came before. This is definitely Melt-Banana's most accessible CD, but I don't think that's a bad thing. The songs are longer, the intro and outro cuts are atmospheric, and the second-last cut is practically a real commercial song (I have to say that I don't care for it). But in between, it's still Melt-Banana. I like this CD a lot and I really wish Melt-Banana's current tour was passing through Denver because I am sure that others are correct when they say Melt-Banana must be seen live to be truly appreciated.
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Format: Audio CD
Cellscape is a leap into the future,a peek at what GOOD pop music could be.The album is sandwhiched between 2 short electronica soundscapes.Compared to past albums,Cellscape is not as abrasive or raw.In fact,it is a progression for the band,there is less cutup noisy experiments,each song here has it's own identity and is well thought out.I say ThrashPop in the title of my review because this album has definite elements of pop.It's like hardcore punk/thrash blindsided by catchy as hell melodies,but of course we aren't talking the MTV style pop/punk so popular these days.Singer Yasuko coud leave Agata's insane guitar scrambling(or tame it)and create a new wave pop sound if she wanted to.The album is recorded well,the guitars are streamlined and Yasuko's melodies are front and center.Yasuko actually does a bit of straight singing on here,in addition to yelping in what I think is her most high pitched style yet.Word is they used a drum machine this time around,but it's not that distracting.Of course the adage with Melt Banana is still true,none of their albums can capture how pulverizing and heavy they are in a live context.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD after seeing them live on the "Geek Tour" opening for fellow weirdos, Fantomas. I was thinking the entire time "They could never match their live performance; not even close!", but I was definitely wrong. Obviously, nothing can top Melt-Banana's live performance. Even if you HATE their music, you have to be entertained by their live show. This is easily their most accessible/"radio-friendly" record so far. I am excited to hear some new material, that's for sure. And to the dude who called them "college rock"? Dude...I thought "college rock" was REM? You friggin' dummy.
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Format: Audio CD
Melt-banana spice up the j-punk/noise scene that many bands, like the Boredoms, seem to be taking fashionably as the next step in japanese popular music. Cell-Scape shows Ichiro Agata's guitar gimmicks as proficcient as ever, and Yasuko, while not as energetic as in earlier releases, is at her prime.

Cell-Scape gives up on the initial cacophonic '30 second song' formula that characterized MB's earlier releases. The change, albeit arguably a positive one, has led to some interesting changes in Mb's music. The production sounds detached from the raw industrial rock of their earlier releases, and the music smears with somewhat predictable structures instead. Mind you, MB still makes some of the most amazingly fresh and innovative music in the rock business, but one can't help but wonder if insistency in their earlier tendencies would have paid off more notably in the long run.

But don't get me wrong, this is a complete masterpiece. Agata's guitar work, and compositional genius, is truly invigorating and should serve as an inspirational hedgestone for those thinking 'The Mars Volta' are pioneers of avant-garde rock. Track names are far too long to type, but highlights include tracks '2,3,6,7,8 and 9 (though this one is too generic for my tastes, I acknowledge its catchiness')

In all, a splendid effort that marks the aesthetical foresight of Asian music over its occidental peers.
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