UK producer Zomby will release his full length follow-up to the incredible Where Were You in ’92? some time in July. By way of an appetiser, check out Things Fall Apart which features vocals from none other than Noah Lennox. It all starts with a blast from a shotgun followed by a blast from those distinctive air horns. So far, so Zomby but it’s not long before the creepy nature of the song sets in, the mantra-like vocals distance the sound further still from previous output. The vocals sound great, it’s kind of nice to hear Lennox actually sing free from reverb and distortion. He does have a brilliant voice and it compliments the cleanliness of the glitchy beats and twinkling synths perfectly. Potential for an onstage collaboration at ATP?
Zomby – Things Fall Apart (Feat Panda Bear) MP3 (Right Click / Save As)
Full disclosure, Arcade Dynamics is my first exposure to Ducktails other than a singular track featured on the Woodsist compilation Diggin’ The Universe. From what I gather, when compared with previous efforts, Arcade Dynamics is a slight departure in terms of its fullness and increased use of voice. Initial spins quickly reveal that this is very much a guitar album first and singer-songwriter second, Mondanile clearly letting his day job as guitarist with Real Estate seep into his bedroom side-project. Some of these songs, particularly those that feature vocals, are fully formed and if played live would require at least two additional band members. I couldn’t say with any great deal of certainty whether this shift is a good or bad thing but it is apparent to me that the songs that sound like traditional “songs” aren’t necessarily my favourite cuts on this album. With the exception of the happy-go-lucky ‘Killin the Vibe’ and slacker anthem ‘Don’t Make Plans’ it is the songs that lack Mondalines aloof and carefree melodies that tend to shine brightest. Take ‘Little Window’ for example, it might last less than two minutes and on any other album might be considered an interlude, but with Arcade Dynamics as a habitat it is perfectly formed and lacks nothing, especially lyrics. In fact, it is the warmth and texture of the music that feels like the focal point and the vocals where present, are often akin to an additional instrument. Album closer ‘Porch Projector’ is almost an admission of this, it’s a beautiful 11 minutes where solitude reigns over collaboration. Turns out that it is way cooler to sit and get stoned with a guitar, reverb cranked to 11, than it is to watch the fireworks (that can be heard in the distance) with everybody else. Arcade Dynamics may be a progression but every once in a while it is ok to regress, despite what your Mum might say. You would think that Real Estate provides enough scope to give any songs that Mondalines has knocking about the exposure that they deserve, I have no clue of their songwriting hierarchy though. Having said that, it’s ‘Don’t Make Plans’ that I decided to post below, a contradiction maybe, but even on this particular gem, I think the music holds its own alongside a killer hook. None of this is criticism, I’m really liking this album and there is no question, as there is with many solo projects, that its existence is not only warranted but welcomed.
For me, the beauty of Person Pitch lies in the feeling of impending andventure and nervous excitement that I experienced upon first listen. I can only liken it to being fully conscious and aware that I was imminently embarking upon on a life changing journey. From the myriad of elements and layers that made up each song, right the way to the list of influences printed in the sleeve; it felt almost daunting that there were so many avenues and tangents to explore. The record seemed so dense and unconquerable at first but repeated listens allowed it to grow and unfold in to a truly extrordinary and personal experience. I say personal because I fully believe that this music is best experienced immersed through headphones and in my opinion is not particularly suited to the live environment.
These are reasons why I am slightly skeptical about the way Noah Lennox has chosen to release his new material, a series of 7″ singles on different labels leading up to the full album release supposedly due September. It’s plausible this approach can be attributed to an artist searching for new and original ways to release new music but I can’t help feeling that hearing the songs individually ahead of the albums release will diminish that anticipation and ritual of digesting the completed record. Of course, I could choose to patiently not listen to these singles but given the time passed since Person Pitch and my levels of excitement, I simply lack the will power.
What we have with these two songs is more of the same if I’m honest, plenty of repetition and reverb with the addition of some spoken word samples and I swear to god a panting dog, plus it all still sounds like it’s being played underwater. These songs are almost exactly what I was hoping for and I have to say that after around 15-20 spins, slow motion is the stronger of the two tracks. As I would expect, the songs grow and take on new meaning with repeated listens, I am somewhat relieved that there are no awkward silences whilst we are expected to come to terms with artistic changes in direction and “new sounds”. This is after all Panda Bear, a slightly more assertive and confident Panda Bear, but it’s Panda Bear all the same.