Mise En Abyme - Jesquibel
Brad Adkins - Big Red

[Marriage Records, www.marriagerecs.com]

I'd not previously come across the Marriage Records imprint, but there's a first time for everything, or at least that's what some wise person once said.

On first impression, listening to Mise en Abyme's 'Jesquibel' you get a sense that it's lo-fi. Then, as you dig deeper ' you realize, that YES, this is lo-fi and the band is not shy about it. Why would you be shy about lo-fi? Everyone's on a tight budget nowadays, especially bands that want to break out and make their name known in the world. Studio costs, marketing costs, post-production ' these all add up and at the end of the day, if you can make the most use out of expensive studio time, then you've only succeeded. Soft guitar loops, little phases of guitar pickings and Yo La Tengo inspired far-away swooning vocals [both male and female] make for a very satisfying listen. In fact, as much as I hate to bore you with this, I played the record straight through about half a dozen times on my initial go. Luckily, I didn't encounter one boring moment or stiff section. Gorgeous hushed tracks such as 'Aldalido' and 'Reaching (reprise)' do wonders in restoring faith in indi rock (or is that rock not funded by conglomerates?). Some have called this 'electro pop folk' [or some other found name]. I'll just call 'Jesquibel' pure bliss and a highly satisfying meal at any time of the day.

Multi-disciplinary artists [painter, spoken word poet, curator, music aficionado?] Brad Adkins comes around with 'Big Red', which turns out to be a spoken word record. While I have nothing against spoken word works, I still need substance in the words being put down to tape. This is something I was dearly seeking out on Brad's solo record, sadly to no avail. Who knows maybe babbling about one's life is interesting' all subjects are acceptable - recording in a studio, racing, jellyfish, recording a follow-up to 'Dark Side of the Moon' for $6000, hearing rhythm to your walk and your heartbeat, imitating real B Boys. Then again, this is a concept record with a capital C. Maybe I just don't get how 'Big Red' ties in to a red flag that is used in racing or traffic lights? Perhaps it's just too literal and hits you over the head too hard. Whatever the case may be, I don't know if this release is bound to elicit repeat listens from me.

Tom Sekowski

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>> Mise En Abyme - Jesquibel; Brad Adkins - Big Red
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