released November 27, 2011
As Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “I am interested in making up a good case for distortion, as I am coming to believe it is the only way to make people see.”
A common theme on the 4th Album released by At Sea, it makes its appearance in full prominence in various forms. Be it on a vocal, guitar, piano, accordion, pipe organ, violin, drum, idea, lyric, theme, image or mindset it leans towards the abstract and extreme. While the feedback or overdrive sound produced from an instrument is one thing, the idea of Distortion is something entirely separate. It serves not as merely an alteration of sound, but as an alteration or contortion of the underlying theme, blowing it out of proportion from the mundane into the realm of the fantastic and abnormal.
As the Distortion settles in, nesting among the lyrics and orchestral beings, it is contrasted with brief reprises and rests founded by Minimalism. The polar opposites however are merely compliments and mirrors of each other, progressing and furthering each other to new heights and depths. Where Minimalism abounds, it allows for the furthering and elongation of Distortion. Affectionate moments blending soft harps and hushed vocals are blindsided by raucous flashes of whimsical ardency, featuring layered voice choirs mixed over electronica and accordion solos.
However, Distortion (and even Minimalism) is founded upon themes. Themes. Ideas. Motifs. Whether it be a simple melody line, such as presented in Allegretto Movement II, Symphony No. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven, or a larger universal theme such as love, death, or infinity, all Distortion must be projected from such. The idea of Death and the serenity or terror that comes along is fascinating alone. But once Distorted, the possibilities are interminable. The eccentric looms ahead, contorted in a way that we have never imagined possible.
Love, death, anger, infinity, loneliness, truthfulness and beauty are recurring throughout the album. Symbolized through Distortion and musical symbolism, they tribute and shape each other, twisting and entwining patterns amongst themselves. Be it a slight twinge of resentment or a raging hunger for infinitude and isolation, the ideas resound and appear in both the Nominal and the Bizarre.
It is in the moments of grandeur, the ecstatic and eccentric that the music comes together to become complete. Pipe Organs and improvised Synth Solos are merely the beginning of a greater ensemble. In this album the composer has distanced himself from the instrument, viewing himself instead as a Grand Conductor of an Orchestra (New York Philharmonic is preferred) while leaving the Instruments to play themselves through improvisational techniques.
Once again, the musician has Distorted himself into a grander and far more versatile creature. Distortion encompasses the theme of the album, warping and beautifying it into a far larger creation.
Through the sufferings and laments, Distortion is the one that leads; twisting a reality open providing a trail of escape. The direction of the Distortion all depends upon the listener, however. Be it God, Christ, society, or the selfish throbbing of the heart, the way in which the Distortion of action is projected controls the mindset, the loves, the fears of the individual.
Remember, everyone has an agenda.
Except for me.
After all, Distortion is the only way to make people see.
Synths, Drums, Pianos, Guitars, Electric Guitars, Accordions, Vocals, Keyboards, Bass, Violins, Organs, Wurlitzer Organs, Pipe Organs, Chimes, Marimbas, Glockenspiels, Flutes, Melodicas, Laptops, Harps, Samples by Curran McQuade (At Sea)
Drums on "Guitar Jam for the Lonely" played by Wesley Nichols.
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