Tied & Tickled Trio, "A.R.C."
Of all the bands that Marcus and Mica Acher are in, the Tied & Tickled Trio are probably the ensemble with the comparitively most releases who do the least amount of globetrotting. The primary purpose of this release is the hour-long live concert for Observing Systems, filmed in April of 2004, but the bonus material of music videos, live TV appearances, and a CD of unreleased material makes for a fantastic package that will please nearly every fan.
Nearly everybody reading this has probably heard the work of the Acher brothers whether they've heard Tied & Tickled Trio or not: Marcus is 1/2 of Lali Puna, Mica is 1/2 of Ms. John Soda, and both make up the core of the Notwist. Tied & Tickled Trio is where they have historically pursued the jazzier side of things, rounding out their ensemble with a horn section and upright bassist along with some analog gadgetry, live drums and bass guitar. Some of the earlier releases contain few but long songs while some of the more recent releases are larger collections of shorter songs. It's always instrumental and while it's a distant cousin from the pop of their more popular bands, it's got the same bouncy drive that permeates all their music.
The live concert for Observing Systems is one of the best live concert viodes I have ever seen. It's collected from a number of different types of cameras positioned all around the club. It's unsurprising to see a cheap and grainy VHS capture of the drummer, a stellar black and white getting some of the nicest stage shots, a night vision camera doing keyboard closeups, and even a security monitor camera catching the bar action (yes, the patrons buying drinks). The editing is -not- slick and seamless and this is a good thing: it feels more alive this way and my attention doesn't wander. In parts it's almost remeniscent of the Can Live film. The sound is phenomenal, both mixed well with the visuals and coming off as clean and clear as a studio recording, with the crowd, so it's not simply a sound board capture.
As a bonus, three music videos for the band are included, "Tusovska Dub," "Revolution," and "Yolanda." While none are groundbreaking, it's great to have some visual accompaniment included. "Revolution" being the most visually appealing as cartoon blobs groove their way through a live action supermarket late at night. These videos were probably made on a shoestring budget and the chances of them being aired on television (in my country at least) are quite slim. Furthermore, three additional live appearances are included, including one with a subsequent interview entirely in German. While it's nice to see them speaking for themselves, subtitles would have been helpful!
The audio CD is a one track recording which stretches nearly 20 minutes, and that's not a bad thing. My favorite Tied & Tickled Trio material is actually from their Electric Avenue Tapes album, a five song full-length album with songs that easily pass the 10 minute mark. They're a band who I think work better when they take their time and find their groove rather than try to compress things into 3-5 minute long pop tunes.
The package is thankfully void of gimmicks. It's nicely presented with menus that are easy to navigate and the show is worth it for the time spent alone. In an industry where CD sales are slipping, I can't stress enough how it's packages like this which demonstrate who some of the most innovative industry leaders are.