Surely any art is some kind of self-indulgent act for its purely aesthetic level. Wanting to create something majestic and realizing that you have something to offer is an interesting balance and, yet, some musicians relish in releasing album after album of music. So, even in that sense, is it really acceptable to mark one’s eccentric abilities as self-indulgent hysteria? For all we know Spencer Krug’s Moonface project is a deliberate excuse to release embellished music that feeds an inner sense. But even a project that revolves around Krug crafting towering sounds and blending them with intricately woven melodies doesn’t sound too terrible if you ask me.
Krug’s previous effort, the twenty-minute marimba exposé Dreamland EP, was a heady, wistful rant that survived around its marimbas’ intertwining melodies and harmonies. Always flashing a confident stride in reflective music and fantastic progressions, Krug was employing some of his finer strengths onto Moonface’s interior. Designed as a project that allows Krug to delve into personal passions, there was something foolish about entirely dismissing the idea. His latest release is a full-length that focuses the attention onto the organ. And though Krug is definitely playful in demeanor, there is a resonating skill flourishing on Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped.
Someone mentioned that Dragonslayer was where critics finally could find an album to champion around but someone needs to mention that there is no factual truth to such fallacy. For many, Sunset Rubdown’s music has always conveyed the illicitly grand compositions Krug has always been a master of: songs like “Swimming” were opportunities where melodies contrasted the harmonies and later, the lush entryway on “For the Pier (And Dead Shimmering)” was a moment of clarity for all to behold. So it goes without saying – just mostly by listening – that obviously Krug possesses musical qualities singular to his own unconventional style. The fact that he is eccentric never dismisses the quality of his music and, as such, Organ Music… ends up classified as a side-project for sure, but a sincerely creative one as well.
When recalling Dragonslayer, you can dissect the massively explosive highs of “Idiot Heart” as something strongly affected and a cause of the music’s equally massive build. The songs on Organ Music are all over six-minute journeys that take advantage of Krug’s ability at gradually adding layers and layers of intervals around the support of one all-encompassing movement. It’s sort of like the collection of various different clouds – all sorts of shades of gray, white and black – inside of the soothing motion of one vast accumulation. Obviously the organ plays a huge role with decorations on something like “Return to the Violence of the Ocean Floor” cascaded throughout various pedals. Layering the organ to syncopate a staggered chord progression while always bleeding a passing melody throughout, the song embraces a relaxed feel.
Most of the time, Krug employs the use of the organ for more of a direct change in mood, rather than a sense of time. Songs take structure around ideas that find the composer mostly improvising on the organ before a new theme arises. On “Fast Peter” Krug juxtaposes the jittery, rapid beginning with a transcendent, tranquil mesh of organ treatments and vocal chants. And while the beginning was an entirely dissimilar speed, the organ always permeates as one constant tone. So while Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped is a five-song study on what the keyboard instrument is capable of, at least it’s rendered through the hands of a skillful musician, with a tenured history for delivering compelling music.