Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Joseph Arthur of the Month club

(I seem to begin a lot of posts these days with "sorry for the dormancy on this site". Life has been busy, and several post continue to brew in my mind, just haven't settled down enough to write them. So here come a few, I hope).

Joseph Arthur has been (and continues to be) my favorite musician of for the past several years, ever since reading about him on Bob Carlton's most excellent blog. I love (and probably have quoted) Arthur's description of his own music and visual projects - "someone struggling to heal over experimental folk-rock". His prolific output and constantly growing vision sometimes require some focus on the part of the listener to handle the shifts, but all in all his material is very satisfying and worth the effort.

So it is with great joy that I have purchased his two most recent releases - Could We Survive and Crazy Rain. These are two out of four planned EP releases being released mid-month between March and June. Both show more of a return to the production and songwriting approach of Our Shadows Will Remain, the first JA release I listened to. That album is on my desert island list, and I can't see anything supplanting it. It is one of the few recordings that grabbed me from the first listen and hasn't let go. So my standard for new JA releases is pretty high.

The two EPs thus far are much more of a return to the compositional and production approaches of Our Shadows Will Remain, with a palette of drum machine loops, layered guitars and vocals, as well as suprising anolog textures of unknown origin. Could We Survive is a bit more mellow and lyrical in approach, while Crazy Rain has more of a grunge/low-fi texture in several of the songs. My favorite tune to this point is probably Crazy Rain's "Dream of the Eternal Life", but I find most of the tunes especialy on Could We Survive hold up very well to repeat listens and analyses.

Can't wait for my next two Joseph Arthur of the Month installments in May and June. And word is he will have a full-length release in August. It's a good year.