Wednesday, July 7, 2010

...Music Video? on Fort Lowell Records

This second release from the barely conceived Fort Lowell is this completely out of nowhere single from video? Forget any preconceived ideas you might have about Tuscon, AZ or where Fort Lowell Records is going, because this second single is blazing it's own path of high concept electronics in the world of sludgy home recorded blown out garage-fuzz. This couldn't be further from any of those prevailing go-to sounds. Start with perfectly zeroed out silence and carefully place heavily produced complex programming under high register Ben Gibbard style vocals from lead Paul Jenkins and you actually end up with something close to that follow up Postal Service record that isn't ever going to happen.
They even went as far as to carry the similarity into their name
'...Music Video?', is about as easy to google as Postal Service and you really have to dig to find this trio's previous releases. It helps if you add 'Tuscon' to the search, and again that's thanks to Fort Lowell who is seriously redefining this part of the country for me. I've been to the Grand Canyon, the petrified forest. I've sat in the backseat of a million miles in the car through dirt and flat dusty deserts...none of this has anything to do with ...Music Video? or Fort Lowell I'm beginning to realize. Tuscon's got a pretty diverse music scene apparently and I'm glad Fort Lowell is out there documenting it all.

The A-Side 'I'm afraid of everything' has a kind of smooth '70s feel. It's the classic beginnings of electro R & B. Maybe it's those dreamy vibraphone sounds coming from the guitar that's taking me into some kind of dreamy candles k-tel video. But I think you can hear right away the effort they put into creating this particular unrecognizable direction. These aren't instrument sounds you're familiar with. The huge possibility of having complete control over a sound file can be crippling, you have to be constantly willing to play around and make huge mistakes, or replace entire sections of a song...what you may have been working on the last few weeks needs to be replaced since you re-sequenced something. I'm getting annoyed just thinking about all the possible problems when you rely on this technology. I have trouble with blogger spell check, let alone dragging all this equipment around to play live.

They're definitely not playing it safe using heavy pans and massive vocal echoes that ends the verse and rattles around to abruptly cut off. Huge ominous sounding deep synth parts offset the airy vocalizations over background distortions of a guitar. It's a sort of Spiritualized filtered through that Postal Service gated precise aesthetic. True to the track title, Paul is singing through all kinds of fears in a classically trained voice, he could be easily playing with layered harmonies, but it's never overdone, it's that same Gibbard school of this-is-just-enough. You can unintentionally read more into the reserved delivery that way.

'feelgooddesparation' on the B-Side (wonder if that's a website) has a basic piano foundation and then all kinds of glitchy synth waves and mechanical whirrs fade in and out. Paul has that hugely emotive voice that I could see crushing the tiny soul of a loner in the backseat on the bus to homeroom. I'm a little surprised they chose these two somewhat uncharacteristic slower more introspective tracks for the breakout single of the album... something like 'The day we exploded' could hold it's own against anything from 'Give Up', so they're going the slow jams single direction...couples only on the dancefloor.

The locked loop at the end is always a nice's been a while since I came across one of those and it makes sense keeping with the technology heavy theme of this release...and with Fort Lowell's impressive overall vision for the label.

This preorder is on thick clear vinyl from Fort Lowell Records.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome review!

    "Paul has that hugely emotive voice that I could see crushing the tiny soul of a loner in the backseat on the bus to homeroom."

    What a great line.