As this prairie spring starts to feel like prairie summer (sure are a lot of 90+ degree days for May in Illinois, anyway), I am increasingly in need of music to cool the air. Enter this new(-ish) Dive Signals release, which has been consistently successful in shading me from the Midwest Sun. I have been vibing to this ever since it was sent to me, but finally have overcome the fatigue of exams to tell you about it.
I am always interested to hear what new sounds this guy is coming up with, because it seems like every Dive Signals release (all of five in the first half of 2012) has had a different sort of vision behind it. Don't Die Just Yet, which came out about a month ago, exemplifies this: whereas 10,000 Tropics built on a sunny, Californian ocean-breeze atmosphere, this set grows in the opposite direction, meandering unpredictably through New York streets and alleys, with the sounds of jazz gigs escaping the windows. The trademark Dive Signals spacey drone sound remains, but while on 10kT this effected a wide, sky-filling ambiance, on DDJY the environment feels more like the inside of a near-empty subway station, with the noises of traffic, other trains, crime and degradation, creativity, death and wealth -- The City -- all just on the other side of a wall or ceiling. My favorite passage on here is probably the suspenseful, eight-minute centerpiece '17 Patterns' (which could ably stand in as the soundtrack for a crime film) and its cathartic transition to the more explicit groove of '2nd Notion.' Really, though, the whole effort works well as a continuous piece, and definitely rewards headphone listening.
I highly recommend giving the other available Dive Signals releases a listen; they range from strung-out electric folk ballads to the aforementioned tropical drones to the musique concrète and noise stylings of Mr. Ortega's most recent release of older material, The Grey Tense. It's all free +PWYW on bandcamp, so show some support if you like what you're hearing.
Dive Signals bandcamp