on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2012 2 Okt

Jason Lytle: Dept. Of Disappearing – „Escapism with a dark edge“

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 1 Comment


„Hangtown … sing a final song
It’s called „The Tree From Which You Hang Has Done No Wrong“
Hangtown … the birds have not yet gone
They’re waitin‘ round to see you fly on“


Robin Hilton was right. And he was wrong. In the latest edition of „All Things Considered“, the „Fall Preview“ of NPR, he told us what he likes about Jason Lytle’s forthcoming album. Lytle wouldn’t see himself as a songwriter with big messages about big issues like politics, global warming etc. Robin Hilton says what he really loves about these songs  is that, by their dreamy atmosphere, they create a space to vanish into them. So „Dept. Of Disappearance“ seems to be the perfect title for this kind of escapism.

And, right on, there are lovely moods, great noises, funny breaks, playful keyboard arpeggios, a slightly drunken Chopin quote, heartbreaking melodies, catchy lyrics, vintage synthesizer sounds etc. Nearly everything played by Grandaddy’s mastermind himself.

But Robin Hilton was wrong, too. Nearly every song is telling a story about death, and dying. Not in an existenzialist way a la John Cale’s „Music For A New Society“ or Neil Young’s „Tonight’s The Night“. More playful, uplifting, that’s for sure. Full of wonder, but never in a naive way. Thanks god, there’s fucking no one being soaked up by some golden light. In the last song, „Gimme Click, Gimme Grid“, Jason closes this beautiful album with a childhood memory and another way of disappearing. I said this before, I say it again: heartbreaking.

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Since dissolving Grandaddy in 2006, Jason Lytle has been living in the mountains of Montana „recording nerd-style, geeked out in the house with the headphones on“. His music has always been a strange combination of grandeur and humility, its slow, majestic chord sequences and long fade-outs brought down to earth by his baby voice and toy computer samples; as with Wilco, you get the sense of a complicated man, dressed like a lumberjack, given to bouts of gloom but essentially hopeful – there’s even a song here called Somewhere There’s a Someone („who’s wondering where I am“). It’s melodically sweeter, and warmer, than his acclaimed Yours Truly, the Commuter – Last Problem of the Alps builds like Cohen’s Hallelujah, while the gorgeous, eight-minute Gimme Click Gimme Grid talks loftily of „honesty between the beating wings“, but is set to what sounds like the demo mode from your first Yamaha synth. (The Guardian)

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