As we walk though the world every day we are inundated with sounds. Occasionally those sounds feel like they are forming a sort of harmonious rhythm; the sounds of traffic or shoes hitting pavement mixed among the random noises that fade in and out combine to play a song that you catch yourself moving to.
Seemingly able to identify the little nuances the world offers, Dayve Hawk, assuming the name Memory Tapes, set out to create something distinctive. Arming himself with the understanding that there is more to music than a guitar riff or drum beat, he reaches into the most uncommon of places to paint a unique experience. Known for capturing the minute elements that create a sense of environmental symphony, Memory Tapes uses the full spectrum of sound to make its music.
Previously having released a handful of EP’s and one entire album over the last three years, Memory Tapes has spent a lot of time playing live. This worldly travel only builds upon the imagination Hawk possesses and translates to his music. On July 5th the world will have the chance to experience a rather original idea that strikes a very familiar feeling. Player Piano is a mixture of mellow electronic beats and ambient noise dancing among low-fi vocals.
While most of the tracks emit a sense of simply contributing to a greater whole, there are a few undoubtedly solid tracks. “Today is Our Life” combines enough mixing to make an 8-track explode while meticulously adding effects on every sound down to even the vocals. “Offers” reaches into the funk world to pull out a grooving base line and breaks the standard with quirky digital effects. I found myself repeatedly coming back to the organ driven “Worries” and singing “Heaven is waiting, heaven is standing outside your door.” From Musicbox (in) to Musicbox (out) the flow feels well placed and well thought out. This only contributes to the understanding I’m gaining to the talent this one man possesses.
The ability to recognize that the world carries a harmony of its own and incorporate unconventional elements into the music is something that should not be overlooked. Appearing very restrained, Player Piano creates an array of peaks and valleys which, as unique as they are, seems to fail to quite break the barrier. With an album like this I’d expect to be taken on a full scale, not overly produced, ride through a plethora of sounds and beats. I was disappointed to feel the moderation and uncertainty in Hawk’s album. In a case such as this, with his rare characteristics, I hoped he would let loose and take a chance on every inch of sound space he can possibly grasp. Player Piano offers 12 tracks obviously laid out to tell a story, but this story has been abridged to modesty.
You’ll certainly find yourself moving to this music in a way that is not entirely able to be explained. It craftily creates an everyday like comfort that can stand alone. All the while I won’t be able to experience the natural melodies of this world without being reminded of this album.