Damien Jurado- Visions of Us on the Land
Why wasn’t I making the music that I really wanted to make? I spent so long making records that I didn’t even like making.” –Damien Jurado. Interview by Dennis Pohl, Spex-TV.
Visions of Us on the Land is Jurado’s fourteenth album, 6th for the record label, Secretly Canadian, based in Indiana. Released on 3/18/16, Visions is an epic album that offers something new with each listening. The album completes a trilogy of albums about a fantasy land called Maraqopa, born from Damien Jurado’s mind during a dream. Jurado is now making the music that he wants to make.
I was hooked by the 70s rock vibe of the album. “November 20” introduces the listener to dramatic, ambient, layers of sounds and rhythms. “Mellow Blue Polka Dot,” is a bit psychedelic. There is a surprising break around 1:07, followed by a great build-up. “Lon Bella” grooves with a riff that is reminiscent of “Chain of Fools.” “Prisms” channels a quiet, modern day, coffee shop performance. “AM AM” experiments with 80’s-era keyboard motifs.
Despite the variety of musical styles, one unifying element is the reverb effect on the vocals. Echo, echooooh, ehoooohhhh… Sound people, take note: Jurado has a pleasant, warbly, Neil Young storyteller quality to his voice. It’s nice to hear more of his actual voice in “On the Land Blues.” Too many vocal effects make the listener think the singer is a bit insecure about their voice; the words have a tendency to get lost. Lucky for us, Jurado writes strong hooks to reel us back in.
I love all these things: Brazillian jazz, Afro-American–you know, early stages of rhythms, Cuban rhythm, easy-listening, like Ray Conniff, like huuuuuge sounds… You’ve got the Beach Boys, Gordon Lightfoot… you know, like whatever. Bring it all into one thing. Yes, King Crimson, Kraftwerk, you know. Bring it all into one record. And that is what I did.” –Damien Jurado. Interview by Dennis Pohl, Spex-TV.
These influences are all evident on Visions. Jurado does a nice job of bringing it together naturally in very creative soundscapes. Visions of Us on the Land is on Amazon and iTunes for your listening pleasure.