Your Choice Way

John FM - American Spirit EP Music Album Reviews

John FM - American Spirit EP Music Album Reviews
The Detroit producer and vocalist leads a brief, unvarnished tour of his home city, allowing sounds and samples to function as landmarks in a woozy deep-house landscape.

John FM recognizes what’s come before him. As a protégé of the enigmatic Omar S, the Detroit-based producer and vocalist is well aware of his city’s triumphs and tribulations, and keen to preserve the spirit of self-reliance and community that animates its techno. “There’s a clear divide between those from ‘new Detroit’ and ‘old Detroit,’” he told Resident Advisor in 2016. “This is a gritty place that’s getting an involuntary facelift.” By documenting life in the city, John FM records the concrete presence of the places and people that made him. Starting with an incantatory sample of a man singing (“We have the wisdom and the knowledge to take you high-yuh/We burn the wicked with a real hot, hot, hot hot, hot hot fi-yuh”), his American Spirit EP might seem as if it’s here to cleanse souls, but it simply wants to observe them, uniting fractured points of view through John FM’s own distinct voice. Originally self-released on Bandcamp in 2020 and reissued this year by XL, American Spirit provides a brief tour of a changing city in minor key, letting sounds and samples function as landmarks. By fragmenting his influences, John FM creates possible futures out of present difficulties.
Though the EP is rooted in deep house, its dancefloor-ready beats are augmented by hints of club clatter and reverb’d vocalizations. Over the synth swells and blown-out low-end bass of “Lockjaw (7 Deadly Winnin’),” John FM and collaborator L trade verses about casual sex and drugs, each outdoing the other’s nonchalance. It’s self-aware sin talk played for comedy. Album opener “February” comes closest to a straight deep house song: Transitioning smoothly from rain-drenched a cappella to throbbing bass, it creates heat through the friction of its interlocking parts. Beneath the drums, John FM ponders a romantic dilemma: “Say you got it together but you’re in a bind/Can’t imagine the perfect pairing/But trifectas won’t do.” It’s an ironic sentiment sung with the earnestness of someone who’s been waiting for their lover to make a decision.

John FM records what he sees and refuses to look away. “Holster” starts off with a horn solo slowly surrounded by shaky percussion, until John FM’s voice comes in, capturing the moment that a shooting occurs at a party. As the ground beneath him rumbles, John FM doubles his vocals, creating an apocalyptic-sounding choir: “Say your prayers tonight/But say your prayers outside,” he sings. When the horn returns, blasting back and forth until it’s incinerated at the last moment, you feel as if the camera is zooming out to reveal a scene of people grieving. On the astonishing “Forever,” strings enter and disappear as John FM pleads for the world’s destruction, chronicling a succession of tragedies that have led him to deep depression: the death of a friend, time spent locked up, feelings of insanity. But once the strings drop out of the mix, he sings, “I don’t wanna die/I wanna live forever.” His voice is gently altered, and he sounds both vulnerable and resilient. It’s at moments like these where the project makes complete sense and you feel the overwhelming nature of his fight.

American Spirit takes on problems at human scale. Throughout, John FM looks at the ways individuals try to escape domination. Even when he is dejected, he is resolute. The forces of economic underdevelopment, state oppression, and personal animus are present, but they exist in tandem with the power of community, a force that can be heard in the music. Without engaging in pastiche, John FM pays homage to past music formed out of these tensions, while also seeking new pathways of expression. Through his music, he demonstrates that though we are molded by forces out of our control, we can continuously reshape our experiences. He may be exhausted, but he’s not resigned.
Share on Google Plus

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.
John FM - American Spirit EP Music Album Reviews John FM - American Spirit EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment