Electronic music has always been an interesting avenue to me in terms of composition and production. Instead of having a band with instruments collaborating on a project and different angles and ideas, there are usually one or two artists with a specific vision. The solo person or the pair end up being curators of a sound that they create on computers or samples pulled from long forgotten recordings.
The problem with this type of approach is that with one individual, the scope narrows. The sound either lives or dies with that one individual. There is not another person to reign in the composer if things get too grand and no one is there to challenge them if they take the easy way out musically.
Jason Drake, the man behind Cassettes Won’t Listen, has put forth an effort that fits well tonally in the canon of well-produced electronic music, but is not challenged to explore that tone more. It feels like Drake did not want to venture out of the constraints of a 3 minute pop song. Cassettes Won’t Listen experiments with different sounds and yields positive results, and then immediately moves onto the next song.
The biggest risk is that all the songs will sound the same, but this is not the case here. Every track feels independent of each other without losing the cohesiveness of the album. The album opens with the dreamlike instrumental “Friendly Float” and transitions into the summery “Perfect Day.” The latter track as well as many of the others showcase Drake’s vocals, which are reminiscent of Postal Service’s Ben Gibbard, but do not ape them.
What sets the album apart is Drake’s ability to find the perfect rhythm. Tracks like “Kingdom,” “Pick Me Out,” and “Harp Darkness” have just the right pacing from the bass beat. However, the beats are an invitation for longer tracks. “Kingdom” is score-like in its ambition but comes in at a scant 1:34. EVINSPACEY ends on the upbeat “Waiting,” but as a listener, I could use more than 2 minutes to close out the album. Many of the songs want to be grand but come in at 3 minutes or less. This goes back to not having another person in your circle to push you towards bigger things.
Drake received a cease and desist from an actor which caused him to rename the release EVINSPACEY, but that creepy guy from Seven should be happy to have his name associated with this album. It offers a mellow journey for the electronic music fan. Some of the tracks are catchy and will hook you in, but for the most part, it is a soundtrack for productivity. The music is varied and unobtrusive and the vocals don’t cut in to the conscious mind enough to distract from reading a book or working on a project. It is not quite danceable enough, but in my opinion, the best electronic albums are designed that way.
EVINSPACEY will be available for purchase on June 21st via Daylight Curfew Records.