Resurgam

abr0087
by Alias

In August of 2007, after 8 years of innovating in Oakland, Alias went home. To snow and real seasons, to fresh air and familiarity. To Portland, Maine, a city which, despite plenty of inclement weather, has burned almost to the ground four times--whose Latin motto translates in no uncertain terms to "€œI will rise again."€ Thus, that motto, "€œResurgam,"€ became a doubly fitting title for Alias'€™ first solo instrumental album in five years, one which finds the accomplished electro/acoustic musician and beat-smith returning to a proven foundation, while building all else anew.

Perhaps owing to his recent experience crafting collaborative LPs (in 2006 with electro-pop chanteuse Tarsier; in 2005 with his multi-instrumentalist brother Ehren), this is Alias'€™ most melodic work yet. Second song "€œI Heart Drum Machines"€ opens with falling rain as strains of some lost symphony blow in, then unfurl grandly in a hail of chopped drums and xylophone. Later, "Death Watch"€ conceives a beat of cut-up strumming before Alias'™ sheets of electric guitar create an aqueous reverberation akin to a waterfall being strung and played. Static, keys, and his own ooh’s combine to create loads of mellifluous depth. There are also three one-minute-plus explorations into the purely ambient--new territory for Alias--that play more as miniature opuses than interludes.

But Resurgam is also an album of heavy, intricate rhythms, as evidenced by introductory banger "New To A Few,"€ and "€œM.G. Jack,"€ which begins with the cool asceticism of Boards Of Canada, but peaks with an Avalanches-like exuberance, interweaving patterns of distorted beat-boxing, live percussion, Casio-styled effects, and burbling synth. For all of its melodic breadth, Resurgam is imbued with a hip-hop bent that has Alias exploring complex beat-fuckery a la Prefuse 73 even as he'€™s howling notes like Tunde Adibempe ("€œResurgam"€), or dicing a Re-Up Gang sample to sprinkle over pensive piano ("€œAutumnal Ego"€).

Resurgam is also notable for its two collaborative tracks. The first, "€œWell Water Black"€ features the falsettos croons and low-toned poems of WHY?'€™s Yoni Wolf--a perfect bit of upbeat downer music that somehow unites The Cure and Burial before crashing into a propulsive, programmed drum solo from Alias. And toward the album’s end, the One AM Radio guests on "€œThe Weathering,"€ which paints a wistful dream-scene via icy lyrics and frost-melting fuzz. Though Resurgam was recorded at home, in a six-month burst straddling a blustery winter, its songs feel worldly, considered, and warm, like gentle hands pushing the listener ever onward. By the time we reach Alias'€™ final wordless statement--titled "€œOakland In The Rearview"€--it'€™s easy to believe that we too have arrived at more comforting climes.

* free immediate download of mp3 files with vinyl purchase of this product