Combing my list of unfinished drafts, I sometimes unearth little gems. This one began as a nod to a certain New Orleans ambient noise band, but quickly veered into a miniature Grand Statement about what I get out of music.
This self portrait is a handy visual metaphor for the words you’re about to read.
I was discussing Belong‘s debut album, October Language. I was living in San Francisco and had picked up the album on CD at Aquarius Records. The following is what I wrote almost exactly 4 years ago. I’m sharing because it still applies to my life.
So this happened today.
I’m listening to that Belong album from last year and thinking, I really enjoy this. Syrupy sweet drone-gaze pop, it’s like the ending to every JAMC song stretched out in slow motion.
I left that comment in an unrelated discussion and realized how taken I am with this sound and that I should probably share the sentiment. So here it is. As a fan of the band’s debut, October Language, I felt underwhelmed with the relatively more “conventional” approach of Common Era – at first. The debut imagines a warm embrace between Fennesz style digital grain waves and the melodic structure of noise pop like My Bloody Valentine; there’s a romantic swoon to its rolling feedback clouds. This newer album had the bald audacity to add drums, trim song lengths, and nearly decipherable vocals. What were they thinking? On second listen, possibly a year later, the true beauty of this work is finally hitting me. I’m thankful the context had time to dissipate, that I could hear it with fresh ears.
There’s the propulsive kick of Joy Division and the roar of Boris in every track. There’s a cumulative effect to the song craft in the way a sense of melody and narrative build up over the course of several minutes. The mirage of canned drums behind a wall of brazen feedback fades to reveal ragged pop anthems and yearning dream time vocals. It’s not revolutionary; it’s just executed perfectly.
Lead single Perfect Life. Probably the catchiest track, but make sure to hear it all. Some moments here stretch into bliss.
For fans of: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Fennesz, Joy Division, Tim Hecker, drone, rain