Complex

The Complex

4.5 7
by Blue Man Group
     
 

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The indigo-dyed chaps who brought performance art into the mainstream push the envelope in yet another direction on this tightly wound, surprisingly diverse concept album. Like most of the Blue Man Group's work, The Complex revolves around topics like alienation, isolation, and the problems of postmodern societal structures. Thing is, you needn't have any

Overview

The indigo-dyed chaps who brought performance art into the mainstream push the envelope in yet another direction on this tightly wound, surprisingly diverse concept album. Like most of the Blue Man Group's work, The Complex revolves around topics like alienation, isolation, and the problems of postmodern societal structures. Thing is, you needn't have any interest in the songs' intellectual subject matter to enjoy them -- or to shake a tail feather to their grooves. Unlike the BMG's previous foray into recording, the Grammy-nominated Audio, this disc contains distinct pop songs rather than ambient soundscapes, a difference that's highlighted by the presence of guests like Dave Matthews, whose subtle, sinewy vocal steers the spare "Sing Along" into postmillennial campfire territory. A smattering of covers -- most notably a dive into the psychedelic deep end on "White Rabbit," with electronica maven Esthero handling the vocal duties -- fit nicely into the tale, as do a brace of wry pieces that dissect the rock experience with deadpan, instructional-video interjections. The Complex is about as smart as rock gets -- but even if you choose to check your brain at the door, it's easy to get lost in its mazelike depths and sucked in by its magnetic grooves.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Robert L. Doerschuk
After devoting more than 15 years to building their unique fusion of edgy performance and advanced yet home-brewed technologies, the Blue Man Group moves aggressively toward the mainstream with The Complex. "Mainstream" is, of course, a flexible notion, so what passes as commercial for these guys is a lot more adventurous than most of the era's ear candy. These tracks adhere to clear song structures, with guest vocalists singing actual lyrics on original as well as cover material; a zombie-like cameo by Dave Matthews on "Sing Along" offers the wryest surprises. But an unmistakable imprint endures in the eclectic sonic references and, above all, thundering stage-oriented rhythms. The core members of the group play traditional instruments -- in this case, ranging from standard-issue electric guitar to Hungarian cimbalom, heard most clearly in the opening seconds of "Above" -- as well as their invented gear whose contributions to the din are, frankly, neither critical nor easy to discern. On their version of the disco classic "I Feel Love," for instance, the 16th-note pulse created via sequencer for the Donna Summer original is mimicked by the device they call the Tube, giving rise to the question of whether using something new to do what someone else did with old stuff 20-plus years earlier is worth the effort. But this is, of course, beside the point: Although its inspirations, musical and conceptual, trace as far back as Kraftwerk, The Complex serves as a reminder that modern devices and glistening production values can be applied to the most primal creative instincts, if utilized by the right -- blue -- hands.
Rolling Stone - Christian Hoard
Chic Euro-techno atmospheres that won't wear off even after you've seen the live show.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/22/2003
Label:
Lava
UPC:
0075678363122
catalogNumber:
83631
Rank:
75282

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blue Man Group   Primary Artist,Dulcimer,Percussion,Drums,Cimbalom,Cuica,Anvil,Casio,Tubulum
Nels Cline   Guitar
Dave Matthews   Vocals
Spalding Gray   Spoken Word
Christian Dyas   Guitar,Harpsichord,Zither,Baritone,E-bow,Guitar (Baritone)
Peter Moore   Keyboards,Vocals
Todd Perlmutter   Percussion,Drums,Narrator
Gavin Rossdale   Vocals
Tracy Bonham   Vocals
Dave Steele   Guitar,Zither
Larry Heinemann   Bass,Guitar,Zither,Chapman Stick,Tubulum
Rob Swift   Turntables
Kid Koala   Sampling
Jeff Tortora   Drums
Chris Traynor   Guitar
Esthero   Vocals
Dave Anania   Percussion,Drums
Peter Simpson   Drums
Josh Haden   Vocals
Avram Glietsman   Guitar,Vocals
Wendy Day   Drums
Arone Dyer   Vocals
Brian Scott   Tubulum
Dave Mathews   Vocals
Jeff Turlik   Guitar,Zither
Chris Bowen   Drums,Voiceover,Tubulum
Ian Pai   Percussion,Drums
Jeff Quay   Percussion,Drums
Crag Rodriguez   Drums
Venus Hum   Vocals
Josh Matthews   Drums
Annette Strean   Vocals
Byron Estep   Dobro
Todd Waetzig   Percussion,Drums
Jeffrey Doornbos   Tubulum
Jordan Cohen   Drums
Matthew Kriemelman   Drums
Jeff Torton   Drums
Vince Verderame   Drums
Nick White   Drums
Brook Ferris   Voices
Brooke Ferris   Voices,Spoken Word
Elvis Lederer   Zither

Technical Credits

Grace Slick   Composer
Donna Summer   Composer
Giorgio Moroder   Composer
Spalding Gray   Lyricist
Pete Bellotte   Composer
Bill Bookheim   Engineer
Christian Dyas   Composer
Kip Kubin   Vocal Producer
Marcus Miller   Art Direction
Tony Miracle   Vocal Producer
Peter Moore   Arranger
Todd Perlmutter   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Carl Plaster   Drum Technician
John Alagia   Producer
Michael Quinn   Product Development
Joe O'Connell   Engineer
Dave Steele   Arranger
Charles Tyler Ensemble   Art Direction
Larry Heinemann   Composer,Contributor,Computer Engineering
Dan the Automator   Programming,Producer
Stefan Gleitsmann   Composer
Jeff Skillen   Executive Producer
Tom Elmhirst   Producer
Joe Hogan   Engineer
Phil Stanton   Composer,Contributor
Andrew Schneider   Engineer
Blue Man Group   Sound Effects,Contributor
Jeff Turlik   Arranger
Matt Goldman   Composer,Contributor
Ian Pai   Arranger,Composer
Chris Wink   Composer,Contributor
Jen Graffam Wink   Cover Image
Venus Hum   Producer,Vocal Producer
Mario J. McNulty   Pro-Tools,Additional Production
Jeni Ardizzone West   Product Development
Harmet Yellon   Product Development
Patrick Willingham   Product Development
Jennie Willink   Executive Producer,Product Development
Caryl Glaab   Art Direction
Kip Rubin   Vocal Producer
Haru Furuya   Icon
Michael "Puck" Quinn   Art Direction
Toni Isabella   Collaboration,Artist Relations
Rachel Matthews   Collaboration,Artist Relations
Seth Freed   Director
Yuri Saniko   Artwork
CMP   Producer
David Bell   Artwork

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The Complex 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is truly uplifting. I normally pop it in the cd player when I get home from my Tae Bo class and hop into the shower. It really gets me energized. The music is so powerful! Actually, I don't take Tae Bo, and normally I don't even shower on a daily basis. My life has taken a bit of a u-turn since high school. Whereas I used to have motivation to shower in the morning and groom myself, over the last 16 years I seemed to have lost touch with that part of my life. Normally I just like kind of lay around on my couch with socks that have been crusted onto my feet from not being changed in three days. The stench in my apartment is overwhelming. I'd say the scent is a blend of spoiled cottage cheese and armpits. I haven't had contact with the opposite sex since I kissed my neighbor on the cheek back in gradeschool and her brother pummeled me. Once in a while, I'll get dressed up and head up to the neighborhood bar to do some socializing, but the last time I went up there I had stepped in dog crap and I actually tracked it onto the carpet in there. It was so embarrassing. I just can't seem to get it right. When it's all said and done, the Blue Man Band really delivers. This cd could be there strongest yet, and I hope that they have a little more break-through success with it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a certain point in every band's career where they become fed up with all things corporate (unless they are extremely well paid, and even then they'll probably pretend like they hate it too just to be like everyone else e.g. N'Sync). In true Blue Man Group form, they channel these emotions into one of the most rhythmically intense albums of the year, if not the most cohesive one. The first two tracks are performed in a style similar to the show, with emphasis on the distinctive sound the Blue Man Group can create with the use of their unique percussion instruments. The third track, a collaboration effort with Dave Matthews, is a welcome departure from everything the Blue Man Group has done before, but many of the tracks afterward seem overproduced, caused by extremely spastic DJ-ing by various guest artists and confusing layering. This becomes most obvious when the distortion guitar is so loud you can barely make out the drums playing in the background. The Blue Man Group, after all, is basically a glorified percussion ensemble, so on some tracks, they seem like guest artists on their own album. This album is still ten times more intelligent than any other rock album recently released, and I feel that it is worth buying solely based on the completely new arena rock experience it presents. Though it has many ups and downs, it definitely sets the bar higher for the amount of creative energy that should go into recording a CD - always a good thing in the days of bubble-gum pop and smooth jazz.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a refreshing piece for anyone who enjoys listening to artists who again and again take it to the edge. If you love percussions and unique styles, you will love this. There are several guest vocalists, and it is interesting to hear them integrate with the style of Blue Man. If you have not seen them live - do so. It will put it all in perspective! True art!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just got it on my birthday in December. Sing Along is a classic. I also like The Current. Here's a list of all the song on The Complex. 1. Above 2. Time To Start 3. Sing Along 4. Up To The Roof 5. Your Attention 6. Persona 7. Piano Smasher 8. White Rabbit 9. The Current 10. Shadows Part 2 11. What Is Rock 12. The Complex 13. I Feel Love 14. Exhibit 13 Who ever buy's this Compact Disk then I hope you like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK. This CD has been placed above all other pop, rock, country, classical, anything album ever. That is, on my list. The Group (Blue Man Group) has done a fanatical job creating this music and the tour production to go with it. I saw the tour when it hit boston and couldn't wait to get the album. The action on the stage and in the music is phenominal. If you ever need a CD to get you pumped, wake you up, or energize yourself for any reason this is the one to buy. The unique sound created by the PVC instrument and the Tubulum just lull you into motion. Also, the psychological side of the cd, shown through the lyrics and made more prominant at the tour production, deal with personas, shadows, and several other jungian psychological topics. But beside the psychology the music really gets you moving. I would love to get my hands on some dance remixes of this stuff. I also appreciate the tribute to 9/11, the song Exhibit 13. The music video is online at www.exhibit13.com. So, if your just looking for something to wake you up in the morning or something to trigger deep thoughts about the cultural mask, the persona, this CD is for you. And even if you aren't this CD's got it all so personally, I would buy it anyway.
Guest More than 1 year ago
love love love it! one of the best cds i've heard all year. my favorite is "persona". the music is absolutely terrific!! definitely give blue man a chance. you won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago