Close by Jordan Reyes

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Jordan Reyes | Close
American Dreams Records (LP/DL)

This is Close by Chicago-based musician and label-runner for American Dreams + American Damage, Jordan Reyes. Out on June 14th in a regular vinyl edition as well as a limited version (signed/numbered) that comes with a crazy colorful print by cover artist JJ Cromer of Virginia. The premise for the album is commendable:

Making music on the synthesizer is an activity of erasure for me. I’ve been sober for over 5 years at this point, but I think a lot about addiction still, and how that impulse, habit, biochemistry has warped since I quit drinking and drugging. I frequently ask myself why did I bring myself so close to oblivion? Well, to forget the pain of being alive. I don’t feel the pain quite so constantly these days, but I do have a fixation on bringing myself to the brink of waking unconsciousness. I get there with long distance running, for instance. Running has been a constant companion in my recovery. It’s when I do my clearest thinking and my clearest unthinking. At some point, my self just seems to slip away. And that’s kind of what happens when I have my consciousness buried in my synthesizer – I’m not mentally there anymore. I’m wading waist deep in patch cords, searching and searching. At any rate, Close is about that.

It’s awesome to hear someone use their sound as a platform for well-being, for taking new steps forward, and judging by my first brush with this recording, it’s not all just a bed of roses, or your typical la-la-la Hallmark card style remedy. In fact, it plays in this in-between space of icy electronic music (Avalanche) and abstract disintegration (Dark Pool), part noisy industrialism, part astute amalgamation between binge gaming and cheeky twee harmony distortion (Lost Machine). In this light Reyes has more in common with, say, Pink Floyd than he does with Depeche Mode or any of their iterations, or followers since. There’s a plea towards the commonality in the societal shift of how everyday electronics keep invading and disrupting our lives.

This record doesn’t short-shrift the inebriated state of mind and its potential long-term effects (Quicksand) – in fact I’d go as far as to say it mocks, and then turns the paradigm towards something far more embryonic here. The track is post-post rock, like an aggravated shoegazer. Sinking away, into darkness, oblivion.  The whole album floats between ether and consciousness. Penitence is a meditative conclusion in the traditions of Angus Maclise and Henri Pousseur that plays with colorful tones and a stark backdrop. If you came for a wild ride, take the trip – you will be rewarded with rolling and transductive, quizzical anomalies.

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