thu 01/10/2020

CD: Dan Deacon – America | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dan Deacon – America

CD: Dan Deacon – America

Minimalist electronics, beats and an orchestral sensibilty collide to ask what it means to be American

Dan Deacon's 'America' is mostly oblique and observational

America comes with an artist statement where Deacon says “I never felt American until I left the United States”. His third album digs into his “frustration, fear and anger towards the county and world I live in and am a part of”.The album ends with the 21-minute suite “USA”, where, over four sections titled “Is a Monster”, “The Great American Desert”, “Rail” and “Manifest”, Deacon explores the nature of his country.

America comes with an artist statement where Deacon says “I never felt American until I left the United States”. His third album digs into his “frustration, fear and anger towards the county and world I live in and am a part of”.The album ends with the 21-minute suite “USA”, where, over four sections titled “Is a Monster”, “The Great American Desert”, “Rail” and “Manifest”, Deacon explores the nature of his country.

Baltimore’s Deacon is classically trained and has a Masters degree in electro-acoustic composition. His first album, 2007’s Spiderman Of The Rings, cast him as an electronic trickster hell-bent on pummelling audiences into submission by mixing repetition and soaring melody. His second, 2009’s Bromst, was even more dense, setting quad-speed Philip Glass against strict tempos and chanted vocals. Between then and now, Deacon has written and had orchestral, long-form, works performed (including at Carnegie Hall). He’s also composed the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's not-yet released Twixt. America links the album and compositional personas for the first time. “USA” features players from the John Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute.

So far, so hi falutin. Although less hyperactive and intense than before, much of America conforms to the template Deacon has set for himself and his previous albums. What’s new is the sense of reflection in both the tone and the arrangements. His take on America is mostly oblique and observational, rather than interpretative, although he notes that “nothing green, nothing grows, everything burned, everything was”. Later, he declares “nothing lives long, only the Earth and the mountains, I see the hillsides burning in flames”. It’s a grim outlook. The musical setting is contrastingly less harsh, reflecting a grounding in Steve Reich. Deacon’s state of the nation address is conflicted and often impenetrable. Like the country itself.

Watch the video for “True Thrush”

Deacon’s state of the nation address is conflicted and often impenetrable. Like the country itself

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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