I am overjoyed by the fact that I am now starting to review some local bands' next releases - meaning that I have a better frame of reference to speak to an artists' music by being able to compare it to what they put out (and which I reviewed) last time around. This is no way implies that I feel that I have started to exhaust the roster of local musicians that are creating and putting out music. On the contrary, I think this reinforces the perception that the local music scene is a quite vibrant and very active animal.
My first 'comparative' review came this spring when I received an advance copy of Buffalo Killer's Heavy Reverie. In late June I got my hands on the soon-to-be-released 12" of new music from Gazer (the review for which will be coming in early August); and most recently I was able to score local electronic artist ADM's latest album Another Dying Motive.
Looking back at last November's review of ADM's A Delicate Motor, I had written:
ADM’s latest work, A Delicate Motor, is the musical equivalent to a post-modern painting: multitudinous in layers, greater than the sum of its parts and open to numerous interpretations.
In most respects, this assessment remains true with Another Dying Motive, but there are drastic differences this time around in how I, as a listener, find myself connecting with this new album. Where previously I felt ADM's music was postmodern, abstract and requisite of hyper-intellectual analysis, Another Dying Motive engages you on a much more primitive, elemental level.
The music of Another Dying Motive, written and performed exclusively by the playfully enigmatic Adam Petersen, resonates with Peterson's real-life persona and leads me to suspect that he may reside on a plane of existence that requires a hyper-awareness of the universe.
The shimmering chime that opens "Pouring God," the first track on the album, is an almost 'call-to-worship' that invites the listener to sit still and lend an attentive ear. ADM then proceeds to weave a musical mandala that is both shamanic and meditative.
Like in A Delicate Motor, there is a duality to ADM's use of vocals. Poetically, the words are engaging; but there is also an interplay between the human and non-human elements that ADM uses to devolve the words into harmonious, primitive chants.
An excellent representation of how the voice interacts with the music is in the piece "Along the Way." Petersen's words seem to scatter the looping notes into fractals of sound that rebound and resound against each other with a kaleidoscopic effect. Though it is tough to single out any moment (or complete track) in Another Dying Motive as superior to another, I will acquiesce to call this one my favorite of the week.
The predominant common thread found in Another Dying Motive is one of identity. The word 'name' is found frequently in the titles and lyrics of the five songs that make up the album. In the closing track, "Name Song," ADM sings the phrase "What's your name?" over a lonely electric piano, with a voice like Donald Fagen, in a plaintive refrain.
Overall, Another Dying Motive is very pleasant to listen to; it is music that is soft, warm, organic and inviting. You can easily find yourself getting lost in its explorations. If you have the opportunity, I recommend listening through a quality pair of headphones - you'll get a much clearer representation of the sonic overlays and channel panning & switching that makes the production a significant part of the presentation.
There is something primal, aboriginal and even sacred about ADM's music. It causes vibrations to radiate across the universe. Perhaps these vibrations, traveling at roughly 761 mph will, many years from now, be received by some interstellar being and they will know that we were here.