Exciting stuff here, as Tim Darcy, the lithe frontman of Ought, teams up with improviser AJ Cornell for a tape of abstract atmospheres and paranoid spoken word. This is the kind of experimentation we’d like to see more indie names getting involved with: it is very interesting to hear Darcy’s lyrical observations in such a different context. Too Significant To Ignore is released by NNA Tapes.
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Commutes are weird. Every day my brain is running way too fast for how long I’ve been awake, as if it were making up for the lost time I spent having a shitty dream about some imaginary Facebook post. Everyone is yawning but I’m pretty sure they’re wrestling with an annoying wealth of morning imagination. We all just stand in silence and try not to fall over; we all seem to be accepting that the morning commute is a ridiculous proposition, but let’s just let it be and see how it plays out.
‘Too Significant To Ignore’ is a commuter anthem. From the press release alone, one can tell it’s borne of both the time constraints and general absurdity the working world puts on us: noise artist AJ Cornell and enigmatic Ought frontman Tim Darcy claimed they made the record as way of seeing each-other in a constantly busy Montreal, where working on projects is synonymous with hanging out. The record feels like a wretched morning alarm; Darcy’s spoken word is subdued and guttered, while Cornell’s sounds scrape and moan and ever so slowly find their way to the fade out.
It’s charming because it reveals the way a mind deals with daily miseries, as if on its own, separate of the glum face looking out the window. Darcy’s wordplay shifts lackadaisically and feels involuntary, like he’s a mere vessel for his brain’s own rhyming improv -- “I will never leave this fit, I am this fit, I don’t need this shit!... It was over very quickly”. His words are sometimes responsive to Cornell’s buzzing, often sharply dissonant synth whirrs -- other times they’re ignorant to them. Ain’t it just the way that he’d pick when to take notice?
Darcy’s shifting theme is of social uncertainty -- of interacting with people and the objects around them and always feeling impossibly off-spec, of waking up and wondering if the world is currently moving without you -- or if by not getting out of bed you have vetoed the whole thing. He walks into cafes and wants to scream at people who are literally just yawning and typing -- the only two commuter functions. He daydreams about fits; he reminisces about stabbing pillows. Cornell’s spectral drones, which work as a sort of score, match Darcy’s treatises on mundanity with the reaction going on in his head -- instead of acting as the music of Darcy’s characters, it’s crafted to match the inanity he’s feeling in reaction to a never-ending, repeating, ever-systemised workday world.
Okay. I might be projecting. A lot. But this is a beguiling little tape -- it makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable but I also understand why it sounds so comforting. It’s about the normalisation we all internalise, the way we excuse an endless pattern -- because, well, it’s an endless pattern. Brian Eno’s new record might be sailing its way through your dreams, but this is the spoken word record of the year.
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