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Monday, August 18, 2014

Chase Dobson - "Parallel Lines"

Artist: Chase Dobson
Album: Parallel Lines
Year: 2014
Label: Crime League
Genre: IDM, Shoegaze
Website: crimeleague.bandcamp.com

Parallel Lines is the new release from Tympanik alumni c.db.sn. This time he has teamed up with Displacer's Crime League imprint. To go along with the evolution of his sound, he has chosen to forego the nearly eponymous moniker and release this under his less abbreviated name. While there are certainly many elements that listeners who are familiar with the c.db.sn sound will recognize, there is quite a bit of fresh ground being covered here.

"Tangent A" begins the album and opens with a familiar, highly emotional ambient section of emotive pads accented by bits of melody. After a few minutes the percussion kicks in and the listener is treated to some beautifully poignant IDM, not too far from the N5MD sound. This track is probably the most similar to his older works. The following song, "Soft", begins the transition into his new shoegaze/emo influenced sound. His trademark melodies and heavy low end remain, but the percussion is more subdued and we're given very clear and forward vocals (much more up front than on his previous song "athousandmiles" appearing on the Accretion compilation). "Soft" carries a very hazy, melancholic-but-hopeful summer evening vibe. "Metal and Plastic" seems to be a throwback to his initial deep house recordings. This track is a feel good, groovy dance track that I would imagine them playing in Urban Outfitters or something (without the annoying bits that would normally turn me off from the music played there). The next track, "The Slip", features Displacer and is a neat melding of both their styles - the analog-driven grooves of Displacer's work, combined with the shoegaze tropes heard in "Soft". "Tangent B" is quite similar to the style of "Metal and Plastic" - the 90s sounding deep house, although this one has a quasi 303 sounding synthline which bolsters the sentimental retro vibe. It's got a very nice ambient interlude which brings back fond memories of raves of yore, before diving back into the beat. This track is super visionary and you will no doubt have a multitude of images swirling around in your head during it's duration. The album ends with a remix by the legendary Dryft. This track is a super slow burn - it spends a vast amount of time just churning and painstakingly building upon itself, like the slow moving of the continents. From what I've heard of his newest album The Blur Vent, this seems to be pretty in line with that style - sort of a gravewave / downtempo / haunting sound which really sludges out the original. Good to listen to on Vicodin and float into space.

A very solid release all around. To be honest, I don't even listen to shoegaze and don't feel like I would enjoy it if I did, yet this still won me over. This is a release that bridges hipster-y feel good indie electro and intelligent, pensive electronic music. The vocals are well recorded and skillfully fitted into the tracks. The music and beatwork is complex enough to draw me in and keep my attention. It has all the elements that I loved about his work as c.db.sn with the fascinating inclusion of new, atypical components which have begun to define a completely new sound.  It's one of those records that just sounds good and connects with you, even if you don't normally listen to the style/genre. Definitely something to check out for fans who are interested in hearing IDM that has been evolved into more emotional music that dwells a little closer to the heart.

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