Title: Spin Day And The Emotional Godfather
Artist: Spin Day
Release Date: 2015 Jan 07
License: CC BY
Label: Self Release / Bandcamp
Spin Day And The Emotional Godfather is another release that continues what seems to be a theme for me this week: unusual releases. This release marks an interesting diversion from the norm of electronica: some parts are distinctly acoustic, some parts are very electronic, some parts wander into an experimental area.
Spin Day And The Emotional Godfather
So, the description of this album on Noise Trade is:
Made while stranded on a secluded island with nothing but a broken piano, an old laptop and a set of large Japanese drums.
I don’t know if that is a fabrication or a truthful statement (I lean towards fabrication), but it is an evocative way of the describing the music on this release. Influences or “similar” music cited is: Swans, Aphex Twin, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Autechre, Sigur Rós.
Personally I don’t know how accurate this description is. I do know that I don’t really hear much (if any) Aphex Twin specific influence. At least not that I can identify. As for the others, I won’t claim to know them well enough to be able to judge.
However, this is a release that has an enigmatic quality about it. This is an ambient work that isn’t drowning in drones, or deep swaths of soundscapes. This is a minimalistic work, and yet it isn’t sparse, it has cinematic aspects and a playfulness that isn’t typical in this genre. This isn’t a jazz or pop music release, and yet there are frequent bits and pieces of those styles embedded in these works.
In other words: this release is the definition of a conundrum, a literal auditory contradiction that in many worlds shouldn’t exist. And yet, it does exist, and it’s existence makes it fascinating. Doubly so by the fact that many of the contradictions happen within an individual piece, sometimes at the same time.
For example, the piece ‘Where’ starts with a bass line, and a choppy piano line that sets both the rhythm and harmonic structure. A guitar over the top sets up what could be a drone, but it turns into a minimal melody line. The piece builds this dark moody environment, and then suddenly the piano evolves into a jazzy-style riff which is cut off by this electronic series of noises in a rhythm that sounds like it’s right out of a Tangerine Dream piece. Finally the original choppy piano and bass line are layered over the noise rhythm line before the whole thing ends.
The effect of listening to this piece is endlessly fascinating. It shouldn’t work, and yet it does work. It’s one of those pieces that I can listen to over and over, despite all the elements being right in front of me. I can hear them each and every time, and yet the arrangements and shifting of them is completely engrossing.
I have to say, when this release was submitted for review I was quite skeptical. Spin Day tried to make an impression by describing this as a unique release, something that was quite different from anything else that is out there. Having listened to literally hundreds, if not thousands of releases in the past few years, I find that typically overt attempts to hype a release fall short, very short of the intended target.
However, in the case of Spin Day And The Emotional Godfather, I have to give it credit. it’s really an enigmatic work. It’s a full-on contradiction of every description that can be given to it. And yet it is an engrossing work that will keep most listeners enthralled for hours.