RA Single Review: Adam Marshall - Vespers
One of the things that RA's recent Mutek oral history crystallized was the idea that Canadian artists in the late '90s and early '00s needed to leave their home country to truly flourish from a gigging standpoint. The argument could also be made, however, that the same is true for their production: Free to work in the studio for extended periods of time without a day job to worry about, these artists have finally found their own language to speak in, one that isn't translated through Detroit, Chicago, Toronto or even Berlin, where many of them now reside.
After many years of living in the city, you get the sense that finally Adam Marshall-one of those Canadian ex-pats-is finally finding his own production language. Or that it's finally resonating. Marshall has an EP out on Simple, an imprint that has nothing to do with the Canadian scene, as well as the sterling North at Night EP already to his name in 2009. And as good as those releases are, "Vespers" might be the best. Its chunky house beat is unremarkable, but the radio transmissions and synth programming are anything but. The sampled radio is used-unlike Akufen-underneath as coloring, appearing every so often for a moment to remind you of its existence, while the synths lay out a long, glowering phrase. The best part? When most everything cuts out aside from a voice telling us, "We're getting to be toward the official peak."
"Deep Knight Track" doesn't match the heights of "Vespers," but it's still a solid track, taking a echoing synth stab as its raison d'être and going all Tony Lionni with it every so often. It's a playful little tune, and one that can probably have great use as set builder, but I'm having trouble getting past "Vespers" most times that I break this out. I anticipate you will too.