First Listen: Dan Deacon "America"

Baltimore electronic veteran Dan Deacon is back. After his praised 2009 “Bromst”, his new record “America” – out on Domino this week – does not fall short of expectations. It features the uplifting electronic collages he is known for, executed superbly, but it takes things beyond that this time. Because while the first part of the record is a varied collection of single songs, alternating the hymnal and the noisy, and picking up where Bromst left us three yeas ago, it is the latter half, the b-side, that really gets things going for me. It contains of a four-part suite “USA I-IV”, to be consumed in one go.

Deacon has been working with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony recently, and you can hear the impact this had on his music in this second part of the record. He always liked the push and burst, but he blew this up to a grand gesture now – to orchestral proportions, so to speak. He said in an interview that the mellow third part of this suite is the centerpiece of the record, a record that for Deacon is less about the party and more about meaning than his previous work. He does not disclose what meaning that is, exactly: “What problem specifically are you referring to? I guess I’m talking about the massive oppression and enslavement of most of the world.” The sad thing is, I am not sure if this is irony.

As is common among pre-released songs, “True Trush” and “Lots” show the link to his older work, so as to ease the audience into his new work slowly. And while I really like them, they aren’t neccessarily the best tracks on “America”. But they are only ones I can offer you now, unfortunaltely. So please give the whole record a spin, especially the “USA” suite – old fans will find something new, and new listeners will become fans pretty soon. Because this is a great piece of orchestral electronic music, regardless of it’s meaning.

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