Feb 2023 28

Album CoverVivid Memory
Album: Animal
Category: Electronic / Industrial / Synthwave
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2022-12-21
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


Austin-based artist Joseph Harris Jake McCown began working on his own material as Vivid Memory during the pandemic, veering from the shoegazing noise rock of Bloody Knives toward a more abrasively electronic sound. This second album, Animal sees McCown addressing feelings of anger and the reversion of humanity to a more primal state. Certainly, this would seem to be the case from the onset of “Q2T6,” as martial rhythms and throbbing electronics give rise to guttural distortions that almost ritualistically rev the listener up for a brutal assault; the caustic bass and pounding drumbeats enter, along with a dissonant keyboard melody, and the energy shifts toward something more introspective, though no less urgent. Throughout the record, McCown and Harris explore each track as dichotomous sonic vignettes, each introducing the listener to one mood and gradually transitioning into another. For example, “Blood Hive” begins with an ostinato bass passage doubled by a gritty guitar, the drums rolling steadily from a funky rhythm into a heavier attack; but then, brightened chord progressions enter to give the song an almost poppier vibe. Similarly, “In Water” and “Q2T7” feature spectral washes of ambient pads, often treated to some entrancing gated stutters and celestial organ-like pads, ultimately mutating into a grating and gyrating form of synthwave, while the glistening interplay of keyboards and guitar on “Q2T16” bear an almost early ‘90s IDM character. “It Started So Well” is ironically titled as the shrill and stabbing power chords move toward a subtly harmonious progression of lithe and airy pads, resulting in something quite beautiful. All the while, distinctly noisy and overdriven tones can’t help but to enhance the fiery rage of the compositions, although their effectiveness in providing catharsis for our base animal instincts is perhaps too variable a quality for universal appeal. Still, Animal proves that McCown is capable of crafting material rich in emotional content.
Track list:

  1. Q2T6
  2. Q2T10
  3. Q2T7
  4. Blood Hive
  5. Q2T12 (Foggy Sky)
  6. In Water
  7. Q2T20
  8. Q2T16
  9. It Started So Well
  10. Epilogue

Vivid Memory/Jake McCown
Bandcamp, Instagram

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