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On Deck: David Bronson

By ; January 16, 2013 at 7:49 AM 

David Bronson

Borrowing heavily from artists like George Harrison and Cat Stevens, New York City-based artist David Bronson creates warm and inviting, though sometimes brutally honest, songs about life and the often arduous tasks that place themselves before us.  His latest album Story, the second half part of a proposed two album cycle called The Long Lost Story, acts as an almost autobiographical account of certain parts of Bronson’s own life.  And working with the same producers who worked with some of his own influences, most notably Godfrey Diamond who produced albums for Lou Reed and Glen Campbell, Story feels about as authentic and unaffective as you could imagine.  And while we wait for the first half of this song-cycle to be released, and maybe find out why he chose to distribute the second half first, we can hit play on Story and imagine what this next album might sound like.

Bronson shows us where his influences lie with his selections for this installment of On Deck.  Ranging from the glossy classicism of Scott Walker’s Scott 4 to the electronic landscapes of the Drive Soundtrack, he talks about records that seem like natural extensions of his own sounds, as well as those that stand out a bit in comparison to his own easy-going 70’s rock aesthetic.  Read his contribution to our On Deck feature below and make sure that you check out some of our past On Deck features as well.

Miles Davis – In a Silent Way

They call it the birth of fusion. I guess you could call it ‘proto-funk’ ‘proto-ambient’ or any other number of vaguely meaningless categorizations. But one of the truest geniuses of Miles was putting bands together and, however the greatest directors do, eliciting performances, communication, listening, music that is purely transcendent, both in the general, colloquial way as well as (here, like in so many other instances of Miles’ records) in terms of genre. I guess that’s what fusion means after all; a ‘fusion’ of pre-existing genres, but it’s really just a peak performing collection of ultimate badasses (John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Tony Williams), some employing electricity, some not, all being channeled through the overarching lens of a master artist. And what comes out is simply brilliant music that could only be categorized as ‘Miles’.

Various Artists – Drive Soundtrack

The Drive soundtrack is really comprised of two distinct parts of very different feel and duration, that nevertheless integrate beautifully to create a fully wrought aural world. First is the handful of more conventional ‘songs’ by electronic composer / producers such as Kavinsky & Lovefoxx, College, Chromatics. These tracks manage to immediately set a psychologically foreboding tone while being incredibly catchy and somehow feel-good. The other, larger portion is composed of the minimalist, synthesized, instrumental mood pieces by Cliff Martinez. Certainly recalling the brilliant ‘ambient’ canon of Brian Eno, these each use the most spare and nuanced synthesized sounds and occasional beats to convey shades of isolation and atmosphere. It’s like the sound of a lone being walking through a vast desert landscape. Beautiful.

Scott Walker – Scott 4

Not an album, a dream. Like a floating boat ride through the clouds, through our collective imagery-driven allegory of existence. Shimmering atmospheres outlined with tracings of the most pristine acoustic instrument sounds, sonically reminiscent of the very best you’re familiar with from the 60’s & 70’s, but something altogether different. There’s a sublime beauty that places Scott 4 wholly in the realm of the eternal, despite a prevalent feeling of on-high detachment. And of course, essentially, we’re led so powerfully through this transcendent journey and those immediately timeless melodies by that voice. Crooner? Poet? Philosopher? Son? Lover? Sage? Icon? Pop star? Doesn’t matter, this guy deserves every shred of his legend. To the last, Scott Walker.

David Bowie – Station to Station

Bowie’s Station to Station pulls you immediately into a quintessentially modern, pseudo-mystical, rock-funk-synth juggernaut of impassioned detachment that stands to many as his most uniquely original record. Chronologically the midway point between the two halves of his 70’s output; the glam rock / ‘plastic soul’ of the first half of the decade and the synth driven, krautrock influenced experimentation of the Eno-collaborated ‘Berlin Trilogy’ of the late 70’s, it’s one of those albums that demonstrates with brutal clarity the ability of certain artists to meld far ranging stylistic tendencies (funk, soul, 60’s pop, krautrock, electronica, ambient-instrumental, crooner music) into a perfectly integrated whole, where the sources all but vanish into a thing of ultimate originality and appeal.

(p.s. any description of this record without mention of the pure, pounding, full-blown extended funk jam bliss of ‘Stay’ would be anathema – so there you have it.)

Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

This has been hands down my own personal album of the year for 2012 (even though it came out in ’11). I’ve listened to it like crazy. Purchased on a whim, knowing how much I love Sam Beam’s music but having no idea what was in store, I couldn’t have been more surprised and psyched on first listen, and my love of this record has only grown. I immediately heard shades of Fleetwood Mac, CSNY, Beck’s Mutations album, and a bunch of others (mostly 70’s stuff) among the significantly more produced tracks than what I’d known from his earlier albums. Synths, horns, electric instruments, drums, percussion, stacks of harmonies, and effects are arranged in with Beam’s singular voice and pristine acoustic guitar, and these incredible arrangements (no doubt in large part due to producer Brian Deck) just add to a collection of phenomenal songs.

Be sure to check out David Bronson’s latest album Story which he self-released earlier this month. Also be sure to check out our past installments of On Deck.

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