Skip Skip Ben Ben《Sacrifice Mountain Hills》专辑点评 By Auggie Cohlmia
相较于其他音乐流派，“自赏派音乐”的更独特的魅力在于它可以带给听众更强烈的现场感，仿佛身临某个乐队的演出现场。余音绕梁的吉他音色，夹杂着铿锵的鼓点，并与极端飘渺悠远的人声相融合，让人仿佛置身于烟雾缭绕的室内，而周围则挤满了一同来看演出的观众。不过，尽管在现场感上要比其他流派更胜一筹，这种风格的音乐在大多数情况下却不免显得枯燥。自赏音乐的最大问题在于歌曲的千篇一律，有时甚至会让你对刚刚听过的专辑转瞬即忘。虽然不能忽视这一劣势的存在，但在这种被过度演绎的流派中，来自台湾的Skip Skip Ben Ben乐队却以巧妙的方式另辟蹊径。
这张全长42分钟的《Sacrifice Mountain Hills》是该乐队的第二张专辑。显然，乐队对于自赏音乐的演绎方式不乏独到见地，并试图从多个方面加以表达。在专辑首曲“Last Night”中出现了大量的不协和音，伴随着神似Roland鼓机内置音色的现场爵士鼓演奏。当然，这种描述或许对所有的自赏歌曲都适用，但Skip Skip Ben Ben的独特之处在于对人声的处理。不同于该流派的大部分音乐人，主唱斑斑对人声部分非常注重，意在避免让所有声音都淹没在效果器的洪流中。这一倾向在“Walkmen”一曲中尤为明显。或许人们很容易将她和Arcade Fire的乐队成员Régine Chassagne相比较，但凭借着与吉他声部完美相谐的演唱，斑斑成就了她独树一帜的个人风格。
就我个人的标准，这张专辑惟一的问题在于其制作质量。很明显，Skip Skip Ben Ben力求让每一首曲目都能为听众带来空旷而嘈杂的聆听感受，但我觉得这张CD并未完美地展现他们的意图。似乎他们努力地尝试着捕捉现场演出的声效，而与此同时却也让音乐本身丧失了一些活力。当然，我们并不能因此而对他们横加非议，毕竟为了让唱片听起来更现场一些，所有的乐队都在竭尽所能。不过，通过改善唱片音质来走一条相对取巧的路线，对于Skip Skip Ben Ben来说恐怕会是更有利的选择。
总体来说，这是一张令人兴味盎然的唱片，也在无数自赏风格的新唱片中展现出了相当不俗的才华。如果同一流派的艺术家们能在音乐上下更大的工夫，他们也将有机会和Skip Skip Ben Ben一样引人注目。
Skip Skip Ben Ben “Sacrifice Mountain Hills” Review by Auggie Cohlmia
If shoegaze has one thing, it’s the ability to sound more like a band is playing live more than any other genre. The room spanning guitar tones as they echo, blended with the crashing drum symbols and overly distant vocals make one visualize a crowded and smoky room full of local show goers. Even though it has a live music quality more than other genres, that doesn’t make it any less boring than it is most of the time. The problem with shoegaze is that it struggles with the monotony of each song, to the point where you can’t remember which album you had just heard. Although this could be considered a bad thing, Taiwan’s Skip Skip Ben Ben do this with a finesse that is rare in the overplayed genre.
At 42 minutes long, Sacrifice Mountain Hills, the band’s second album, it is clear that the band has something to say about the state of shoegaze and works at various angles to express it. The opening track ‘Last Light’ emits a full force of dissonant tones with live drums that resemble stock sounds of a Roland drum machine. This may sound like the description of every shoegaze song you’ve ever heard, but the key difference is in the vocals. Unlike most artists in the genre, vocalist Ben Ben actually pays attention to her singing and makes a point not to let everything drown in the effects. This is more evident on the track ‘Walkmen.’ Comparisons to Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne could easily be made, but Ben Ben makes these vocals her own by working in almost perfect harmony with the guitar.
My only real issue with this album is the production quality. It’s clear that Skip Skip Ben Ben want to give us this feeling of openness and intense noise on each track, however I don’t think it translates well to CD. It’s as if they are trying to capture their live sound, but in the process it has made the music feel a bit flaccid. One can’t blame them for doing this though. Each band strives to sound the same way on record as they would live, but in this case I think refining their sound to fit the medium would benefit them.
Overall, this is an intriguing record that brings more to the table than a typical shoegaze release. If more artists in this genre put more effort into their music, they would grab our attention in the same way that Skip Skip Ben Ben has done.