Our first vinyl only (download too, naturally) release is a full length, 4 track explosion of sound. Anyone who has seen Mr. Johnson’s recent performances knows that his elaborately constructed mounted slide animations are indeed like little explosions… at least when they are contained within their tiny 35 mm mounts. When projected though, they become galaxies, bleached (literally) impressionistic fields and hills, the beheaded forks of flames and larger than life globules. This release is, in it’s sonic signature, the same. No one is more happy (and relieved) than Derek M. Johnson for this release. It has been a project spanning nearly 2 years of continuous effort on his part and as he pointed out late in the mixing process, “I don’t even know if it is good or not.”
The first track “FKXMS,” is a negative homage to the cultural train wreck that most of us weather called “holiday season.” The track embodies (or perhaps disembodies) the latent disgust that most of us feel during the “most wonderful time of the year.” By “feel” it, I am suggesting that we somehow know how crass our culture has become but shrug it off as a function of living in the land of plenty. “FKXMS” is a not-so-abstractly expressionistic feat of shear violence. The assault, at times, seems to be directed solely at the instrument itself – the cello. The bow squeals and thrums across strings that pronounce the likelihood of their immanent death.
“Be” is something different altogether. It is simmering, slightly sad, slightly creepy and nearly meditative. Developing slowly over a thickening bed of subtle loops, “Be” realizes itself in stages and seems to be somewhat like a soundtrack set to deep sea phosphorescent life forms evolving before your eyes. It echoes and ebbs underneath mournful legato swells. This track is befitting Mr. Johnson’s most recent slide show animations, though feels succinctly composed and intentional.
Side B brings us two very different pieces from the first side. “Fete de la Patience” is a Scott Stobbe piece performed here with great clarity. Its direct quality is in disarming contrast from the first two tracks. “You’re Welcome to Play” divides and conquers the entire record, bringing a quiet, solitary cello plucking figure to a lush and full crescendo (and multitracked cello thickness) that gives the record a denouement fitting for such a diverse set of pieces.
We couldn’t more excited to offer our first LP vinyl release by our great musician and friend, Derek M. Johnson. He has performed at more of our showcases and supported our artists for years by recording cello tracks, promoting their shows, etc. Mr. Johnson’s dedication to music has culminated in this record. It is just the beginning, however. Expect much more from DMJ in the coming months!
Derek M. Johnson