Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Public Information (2011)

This is one of my favorite records this year, partly because of the photographs on the covers and the label. The image above must be of the lobby of Robert Rathburn Wilson Hall, a high-rise laboratory that's pretty much become the symbol of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, in Batavia, Illinois (take a virtual tour here!). It was the world's second largest energy particle accelerator until September 2011 when it ceased acclerating energy particles -- right on time for this release by ADR, Solitary Pursuits, on the new but already baddass label Public Information.

The photo on the label, taken by Michael Vallera, quickly got me thinking about The Drowned World, a science fiction novel by J.G. Ballard in which the polar icecaps have melted, turning a lot of the great cities of the world into tropical swamps that are partially submerged and completely overgrown with vegetation. There's pirates and lagoons and dreamscapes and, yeah, it's on some dystopian type vision of the future or maybe the present. (As a related aside, in reading about Fermilab, I came across this detail: "Weston, Illinois was a community next to Batavia voted out of existence by its village board in 1966 to provide a site for Fermilab." A world literally wiped off the map...)

I could try to run through all the biography and etc. on ADR (honestly it would be info I scrounged up via DJ Google anyway) but I'm more interested in the music and images. Suffice to say these are some synthesizer jawns that's on the melancholic tip. Kinda reminiscent of Aphrodite's Child, especially the vibe of "Aegian Sea." Some of this seems to be about space, not actually interstellar, but more so in an antiquated planetarium or shuttered particle accelerator experience kind of way. The track titles include "Post PC," "Mercury Retrograde" and Jupiter Rising," which should give you an indication of what we're dealing with here. Highly recommended.

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