Thursday, July 28, 2011

Offthesky - "The Beautiful Nowhere" (2011) [Hibernate Records]

I spent this morning driving all over town for coffee, and all I got were detours. 

Needless to say, the drive was a perfect time to give a thoughtful listen to the new Low album. I was convinced that I would be the one fan to think this was their best effort yet. That was not the case. A less than stellar experience segued into another recent purchase- the newest effort from Ulver, which despite the media silence and virtually zero pomp and praise for the record, was a beautiful experience that will somehow make it onto my year end list. Still, I needed something truly refreshing today, as I do most days, to renew my faith in the idea that music is still moving forward.

Then I remembered I was two weeks late in reviewing “The Beautiful Nowhere” by Kentucky multi-conceptualist, Offthesky. 

Truly cinematic in scope, from the first moments of “Surface of Your Sin,” it is clear that Jason Corder is exploring new territory- both within his own catalogue and the canon that encases his contemporaries. Crown him prince- the Bonnie “Prince” Billy of post-drone (am I the first to use the term?), or maybe consider the atmosphere of Kentucky that we have recently seen conjure the genius of likeminded local musicians such as the always prolific Josh Lay and Austin Lunn is in the air, penetrating the soundwaves. Whatever it is, “The Beautiful Nowhere” has all the makings of a true milestone, including its Criterion worthy title, and documents the positive progression of an artist that has now solidified a reputation as a key player in experimental music.

Fans of the backwater sensibilities captured by old Palace Brothers, devotees of artists like Jasper TX and Simon Scott, lovers of the more commercial textures explored by Explosions in the Sky and/or Air’s Virgin Suicides era, can all find something to connect with that will resonate long enough to keep this album on repeat for a long while.

I always feel guilty giving a positive review, because I want so badly to tear down poorly constructed music. But the truth is Jason has shown more than a glimpse of genius with this release. In fact, he has simply proven himself to be the master weaver of textures that I will be wrapping my head around for the next hundred listens. Highly recommended. Favorite tracks: ALL OF THEM.

-R. Loren

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