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Runningonair "Out of Process"
An inspired and engaging collection of melodic soundscapes from Runningonair...
"Out of Process" is the debut release from Joe Evans recording as Runningonair, and for a first disc it displays a tremendous maturity and musical sophistication that many artists can only dream of, even at their peak. Blending organic and electronic elements Evans has crafted a collection of engaging and theatrical soundscapes that inspires and delights.
The jazzy piano of "Click Continue" opens the disc, a steady arpeggio that sets the stage for a dense and fascinating collection of sounds. Synths and percussive elements add a depth to the proceedings resulting in a groove based track that envelops the listener while an automated voice gives direction and instructions. It works well as an engaging opening, a great display of both the talent and sophisticated production of the work to follow.
"Summer Fade" begins with a much more laid back feeling, piano and brushed high hats with stretched guitar chords adding colour. A slow melody brings to mind that lazy sense of time that only happens during the summer months, a languid wash that plays against the heat. It's a great piece for inspiring imagery and a wonderful piece of music to imagine to.
"Disappear Fast" follows with a similar pace, but where the last track had a feeling of relaxed calm, there seems to be a deeper meaning to this one, a deeper purpose that moves it along. Quiet vocals are paired with a trembling synth line adding colour to the track, and a vocoder effected voice brings a robotic sci fi feel to the proceedings. Very nicely done.
Track four, "Lost American Dream", begins as a simple piano piece that brings to mind a slowed down ragtime melody, an echo from another time that has been weakened with age. As the track progresses, synth and string lines swell and add to the piece, but it's the piano that tells the story, telling a tale of a different time, wistful and nostalgic. It all combines to create a really beautiful and evocative piece of music that I would count as my favorite on the disc.
"Milk Thistle" opens with an elastic bass line and some urgent percussion that blends nicely with some beautiful violin work. Other sounds and voices ebb and flow throughout, giving the track a really nice sense of movement and growth. I find myself returning to this track a lot as it's so rich in sound and melody, and I keep hearing new elements in it to engage me, new discoveries that add to my enjoyment of it.
"On Hold Part 1" features piano and bell work over a cityscape drone, a sense of twenty first century metropolitan living coming immediately to mind. A molten guitar line slips through the track, but not obtrusively, more to add colour to the scene and move the track along. Very nicely executed. The companion piece "On Hold Part 2" uses similar sonic elements but adds a driving percussion to the track which creates a whole new groove when paired with the guitar sounds from earlier. A really nice demonstration of how to create different moods and spaces using the same palette of sound and a testimony to Evans' skill as a musician.
"Single Source of Truth" has a playful feel to it, percolating tones bouncing around the soundscape while strings stretch through the track. A filtered voice asks questions of the listener, influencing the mood of the track in ways that direct the imagery that follows.
"Blue White" begins with the sound of tide drifting in and out, soon joined by a dense weave of pads and melodic synth. The track is strongly evocative of ocean imagery to me, and I can't help imagining night time strolls along the beach while the moon is high overhead. Another really beautiful track.
The disc closes with "Western Machine", an urgent piano melody playing underneath haunting violin. Horn sounds are added along with choral vocals and soon the track is filled with a sense of majesty and strength, purpose and power. Yet despite all of these trappings, there's still a feeling that time is running out, a sense of last gasp determination that is just about winded down. A wonderful display of theatricality and a great track to end a very enjoyable disc.
Admittedly my tastes usually run toward more abstract sounds, but I thoroughly enjoy this disc as a sophisticated and intelligent collection of music that evokes a strong imagery. Evans' talent as both a musician and producer are clearly evident on "Out of Process", and I find myself eagerly awaiting his next release.
rik - ping things
last updated 10/03/09