Live in Gothenberg, reprising two tracks from Roll The Dice's excellent 2010 album for Digitalis, offers an excellent opportunity to see how malleable their material really is. The studio version of "The New Black" pairs cosmic synth arpeggios with a majestic piano melody. It's a sci-fi fantasia, all right, but it's careful, restrained. The live version blows six minutes out to 14-and-a-half, indulging in a full-scale psychedelic freakout as the Rhodes pounds and the resonance screams. It's also been pitched up a semitone, and the change brings a whole different kind of intensity. (Maybe those classical theories of temperament that classed keys according to mood were right all along.)
On the album, "Undertow" was a slow-rolling fog of soft, low bleats and tremulous square waves, with a climax worthy of The Shining. Here, it sounds more like I remember it live, with more biting bass tones and more emphatic highs. The 5/4 chug catches you off guard, but it's subtle; you're only vaguely aware that you're moving at an unfamiliar rhythm. Stylistically, it falls somewhere between Emeralds and Gavin Russom's Crystal Ark, lean in shape but swollen with tone. For just a moment, towards the very end, you could swear you hear a see-sawing cello, like some echo of the Velvet Underground. The crowd noise that follows the climax makes the perfect bookend.