Jordan Reyes - Sand Like Stardust Music Album Reviews

Jordan Reyes - Sand Like Stardust Music Album Reviews
The experimental Chicago musician expands his already broad instrumental palette for a lonesome album that fuses folk and electronic music without succumbing to the tropes of either.

Since 2017, Jordan Reyes has been an important cog in the large Chicago ensemble ONO, whose 2020 album Red Summer is a radical outlier in American music: an industrial-funk opus that excoriates racial, sexual, political, and military oppression from the 1600s to the present with poetry and a maximalist, disorienting sonic attack. By contrast, Reyes’ solo work has skewed more austere and synth-based. On last year’s Close, he quested for post-human feelings in alien synth emissions. Closer, from earlier this year, offered exploratory synthesizer music that resembled some of the more agitated, sinister specimens that dotted the IDM field in the late ’90s and early ’00s.
With Sand Like Stardust, Reyes adds acoustic, electric, and lap-steel guitars, trombone, keyboards, and an electronic drum to his palette in order to, he says, “channel the warmth, immediacy, and vulnerability of hand-played instruments and voice.” However, this more organic foray is far from an overfamiliar back-to-roots exercise. Rather, it’s a bold attempt to fuse folk and electronic music without succumbing to the tropes of either.

Inspired by the Tejano side of Reyes’s family and a childhood blanket covered in cowboy imagery, Sand Like Stardust chronicles the media-manipulated myth of that American archetype along with the more reality-rooted concept of the nature-oriented cowboy, according to the artist’s notes on Bandcamp. Further, Reyes told online zine Slug, “I felt inclined to imagine the cowboy as an ecosensual outsider, someone scrappy and magical with an amorous love of the land but who is reckoning with their identity’s legacy and ancestry.” As interesting as those points may be, the music stands on its own merits.

The album aptly begins with “The Pre-Dawn Light,” which layers polyphonic chants, both guttural and ethereal, as if to herald the launch of a grave and mysterious ritual. It’s a bold, unconventional way to start an album, but it’s riveting. From there, Reyes proceeds through stages of the day with subtle gradations of mood. As their titles suggest, “Drifter,” “High Noon,” and “Dusted” conjure the profound lonesomeness of the peripatetic cowboy. “High Noon” particularly stands out, as Reyes pits blurred guitar twangs that evoke the work of New Zealand’s Roy Montgomery against a trombone drone ominously humming like a distant generator and more sonorous chants that vibrate your skull. Extremely moving in inexplicable ways, these songs send a primal thrum to your pineal gland.

At times, Sand Like Stardust takes on the quality of a Goblin horror soundtrack transferred to the dusty American West. For example, “A Grain of Sand” inspires a suspenseful chill with a doomsday riff that suggests a man’s final trudge to the electric chair, as guitar ostinati form cascades of radiance over insistent drum-machine beats. Reyes achieves the extraordinary feat of making hopelessness seem transcendent.

Stardust reaches a disturbing peak with “An Unkindness,” featuring dire chants and startling trombone blurts, all counteracted with twinkling guitar mandalas. This strange combination of elements triggers rich yet contradictory feelings. “Centaurus” hymns us to slumber with forlorn, foggy ambience that hints of side two of David Bowie’s Low. Reyes sings the lyrics to the traditional lullaby “Hush, Little Baby” as a keyboard drone swells in elegiac splendor. What could’ve come off as saccharine instead ascends to a state of grace and gravitas. Enveloped in the murk, you suspect Sand Like Stardust may have been yet another mythical American dream after all.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Jordan Reyes - Sand Like Stardust Music Album Reviews Jordan Reyes - Sand Like Stardust Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 14, 2020 Rating: 5


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