15 February, 2015
1. Another Day In The Life, 2. I'd Like To Fly, 3. Sounding For Me, 4. Out Of This World, 5. Away From My, 6. Falling, 7. From The Ground
Here's the debut solo album of multi-instrumentalist Joe. His compositions are inspired by various music styles ranging from rock, grunge, metal and jazz, including bands like Deftones, Korn, Soundgarden, Nirvana, but also great instrumentalists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jackie Mclean, Theloniuos Monk, John Coltrane or Miles Davis. Some of you may catch a few melodic and vocal lines comparable to The Young Gods' tunes as well. This interesting mix results in music that by no means makes for easy-listening, but remains original and intriguing, despite the multitude of influences.
The material has undoubtedly been written for vocals and moods, actually one specific mood I'll elaborate below on. The instrumental parts played on drums, guitar and bass were added in the background, fitting between compositional parts very well. The lyrics are uttered in a spoken, languid manner rather than sung. If you however, imagined Joe as an opera singer and his tracks as classical, emotional compositions, you'd also picture him singing aloud rather than seemingly reciting poetry. Joe's rough voice is unmistakable and therefore, it is a large part of his potential. Just after a few tracks it will imprint itself into your mind, dominating the compositions along with dirty guitar vibrations.
There are a lot of unclean tunes here, interspersed with melodies. The atmosphere brought by down-tuned bass and guitars is ponderous, lethargic. There's very little life, almost no energy, dynamics, or power on this album, but these songs were not written for such purpose at all. If you listen closely to the vocals, they do push their own melody into heavy compositions. This happens already in the two opening tracks - "Another Day In The Life" and "I'd Like To Fly".
Most of the tracks on melodic DIRT last a bit over 3 minutes, which normally could be perceived as short. Here though, since the same arrangements repeat often and the overall mood is heavy, these songs sound as if they were prolonged. The guitar is sometimes employed to introduce a lighter, vibrating and memorable motif between all the other instruments, as it is in "Sounding For Me".
When you get to "Out Of This World", you may have an impression that Joe was loosely improvising here, but there are a few specific, repetitive lines within the composition. The vocals are raspy and almost resonating. While listening to "Away From My", you'll notice a neurotic bass line which dominates the vocals at first. Joe doesn't use the typical intro-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus-outro structure. He uses a lot of verses with occasional bridges. This track is a good example of his creativity in that respect.
When it comes to "Falling", this is indeed a free fall yet based on wisely planned arrangements. An initially annoying, high-pitched synth brings a looped melody thanks to which your ear will mainly focus on the melody instead of the grungy tunes introduced by the guitar-and-vocals combo. This follows the technique already used in "Sounding For Me", but expressed through a guitar there.
The last track on the list, "From The Ground", sounds the heaviest and most apathetic at the same time. One could say that it describes the process of slitting veins and observing the dripping blood and escaping life, but make sure your reading of this track is not so dramatic. The drumbeats are arrhythmic, while the guitar only marks stops and makes another line of rhythm. There are many asynchronous, atonal sounds and little harmonious arrangements. Trust me, though - everything done on purpose.
To sum up, not everyone expects music to be cheerful, swift or pleasant for the ear. Despite of its quite chaotic, slow and extended song structures, the individual formula of traditional industrial or drone metal music presented by bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten, SPK, Godflesh, Earth or Sun O))) has turned out to be inspirational for many listeners and performers. It is all about understanding the sound. If you're looking for a tune which a commercial radio station may not play, then melodic DIRT album is what you need. And here's exactly what Joe is winning you over with - not virtuosity but originality, because not many of you will be able to admit that they'd heard identical tunes before.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, February 15th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
Free official download: Official website
Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine