Dax Pierson - Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) Music Album Reviews

Dax Pierson - Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) Music Album Reviews
On his debut solo album, the Oakland experimental musician utilizes custom-built software systems that allow him to navigate around disability, with electrifying results.

Difference isn’t definition, but it can be context. So here’s a bit of what sets the new album from Oakland’s revered Dax Pierson apart: While sounding in no way retro, it nods to the techno/jazz/experimental fusion released in the 1990s by labels like Planet Mu and Submerge. Nerve Bumps’ nine tracks include one that lasts barely a minute and another that’s nearly 12, and both are fully formed at the length they should be. The album’s acidic squiggles, soft yet sharped-edged pads, and bouncy rhythms are familiar—but they combine in unusual ways.

Stylistically, the music is free of obvious biographical clues. But the personal can be contextual, too. Dax Pierson spent the early 2000s as a keyboard virtuoso in Anticon heroes Subtle and post-whatever Themselves/the Notwist side project 13&God, and then the confounding Can-related project Malcolm Mooney and the Tenth Planet. Pierson was one of the few Black and queer people in those various spaces. In 2005, he was touring with Subtle when their van hit some ice and flipped over; his seatbelt malfunctioned. He was partially paralyzed from foot to fingertip. He spent a decade recovering. In 2019, he released Live in Oakland, which makes music from the concrete circumstances of his disability. Condescending doctors appear as vocalists while his wheelchair makes the beat.

Nerve Bumps, released through San Francisco’s vital Dark Entries Records and the Ratskin Records collective, Oakland’s hub for “decolonial experimental music,” pushes things further. As Pierson recovered, technology progressed. The iPad arrived, and he devised a rig of them and apps to manifest what many producers twiddling the knobs of their Euroracks rarely manage. The organ tones and fuzzy envelopes of “For 2_24” vibrate at frequencies closer to Op Art than ambient. Opener “Adhesion” gets things moving in Detroit-inflected 7/8 techno pushing through ominous arpeggios, upended by interludes of footwork and orchestral stabs. It jumps suddenly into “For the Angels,” a kind of Bardo that shimmers and shakes, crystallizing into a funk that, in turn, cuts with little warning into the vocal workout of “Snap.” That brief snarl of Pierson’s whispers and vows signals a flow with a mind of its own.

There are referents: “Keflex,” named for an antibiotic, tangles what sound like guitars tangling around what sound like Linn drums, for a healthy reminder that Prince was a Cocteau Twins fan. It also grinds as heavy as anything unearthed by, say, Long Island Electrical Systems. The coldwave of “Catch” warms itself by the fire of blown-out snares that occasionally shoot off sparks of trap-ish hi-hats. “I Slay the Pain” is aptly named: Percussion at the top end pays tribute to that finger-snap sound that’s still the queen of gay house, with a deeper-than-deep bass and healing piano chords. “NOTHING FKS U HRDR THN TM” closes up with six minutes of interstellar travel into a clearing Angelo Badalamenti might recognize, and so might Lee “Scratch” Perry, and so might KMRU—a circle of Black techno and jazz and dub traditions made new.

For the album’s name, Pierson borrowed a quote from choreographer Martha Graham, whose work did its own kind of refashioning and reconceptualizing of what the body could do. “No artist is pleased,” she once said. “There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” Pierson has marched past other producers who’ve disappeared up their own DAWs. His work is divinely queer, from its sound to the cover surrounding it, a painting by his partner Chuck Nanney. He makes body music for different kinds of bodies. When the clubs reopen, they should all be welcomed.
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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.
Dax Pierson - Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) Music Album Reviews Dax Pierson - Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 02, 2021 Rating: 5


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