Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Brad Laner on Drawing Room Records

You might not know anything about Brad Laner and that’s a shame. The multi-instrumentalist is probably best known for founding Medicine which was the US’s answer to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless in the early ‘90s. He then went on to start Electric Company, a solo glitch / avant-garde electronic project and has worked with countless musicians including M83, Vetiver and the Vas Deferens Organization. As of 2007, Brad started to release solo work under his own name and Drawing Room Records just released this single in advance of a full length, Nearest Suns scheduled to come out on the label later this year.

A-Side’s "Highly Morning" opens with loose, empty room drums and a strummed, metallic sounding acoustic. A slow, somber country style with ever changing, impossibly big arrangements modern sounding and focused on letting tiny pieces shine, from kettle drum to the laborious acoustic twangs. A lumbering guitar solo skitters in under the densely layered, Iron and Wine style intimate, breathy vocals. A tom and bassline come together in a deep groove adding up to a polished ‘70s Fleetwood Mac style sound when Animal Collective type vocalizations and strange keyboard moments break that mellow afternoon feel. At every turn we’re in for massive piles of experimentation, from moments of rim shot centric rhythms to twinkly keys of standing wind chimes. It’s a playground of styles and instrumentation that collects in this snowballing epic pop.

B-Side’s “Sideshow” appreciates Red Jacket Mine’s disregard for rigid genres or the typical structure of a chorus. Brad deliberately avoids the way a song should build to predetermined moments and lets the track come up with it’s own bizarre logic. In the way it switches into this slow, dirgey carnival rhythm with Brad’s laid back harmony vocal smoothing out the off-kilter beat over the warble of reel to reel machines off axis. Bee Gees harmonies glamming up a futuristic slow jam. Completely schizophrenic and anti-dance all while utilizing precise, clean elements. If you peeled back some of these layers, there’s a version of the darker junk psych of Gary Wars New Raytheonport hiding back there. I love that he encourages this solo fighting through different speeds of tape, but it goes further than just the organic tape, it’s randomized or digitally manipulated somehow… an unsettling effect for what started out as essentially a sunny pop song comes off as fairly disturbing, foreshadowing some kind of glitching horror or chaos. The sound of a chalkboard full of equations, you could pick apart any one of them and get sidetracked for days. A full length should keep everyone busy for a while, let alone a new full length from Medicine themselves coming out on Captured Tracks in the near future.

Pick this up on black vinyl from Drawing Room Records.

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