Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reconsiderate - Niche Work

Juxtaposition, division, conflict; tools often utilised by the skilled artist to create a piece of work that directly challenges the observer. This album cannot be listened to casually. It is a challenge. I knew it would be from the moment I opened up the cover of this CD and read the words on the inside cover: "Dear subconscious..."

The album is a challenge to figure out, a challenge to listen to and an even greater challenge to like; but I enjoy challenges, and it's what's kept me coming back to listen to this album time and time again until I felt comfortable enough to like it (let alone write about it!). In the end it is a piece of art, as perfect as a piece of art (being the pursuit of a perfection that will never be attained) can be. It is complete. Here's why:

Reconsiderate has addressed this album to his subconscious, and we can thus assume that the addresser is his consciousness. This is evident in the poetry of the lyrics and the structure of the songs and melodies, all of which are highly intellectualised and thus come from the conceptual, conscious foreground of the mind. Yet, the way in which the content is delivered: vocals that surge up and are then swallowed by the surrounding textures, start-stop rhythms that bang you around, and bowel-churning beats, all appeal to the subconscious, to something inheritly tribal and non-conceptual.

This is where the division comes into play. Whilst Reconsiderate states both on the inside cover blurb and in the lyrics, that his subconscious is "not his friend", the relationship between these two parts of the mind work together, in a fantastically poetic way, by opposing each other. This happens on both a lyrical and musical sense.

In some ways, you could say this juxtaposition is music vs. lyrics, but having listened to this album many times I can see that even in the lyrics, there is evidence of subconsciousness, of spontanaeity and instinct, as much as consciousness, conceptualisation, intellectualisation. When the desperate surging voice cries out "What where you thinking?" or "You need me!" it leaves the listener wondering exactly which part of the brain it is carrying these words. But in all cases, the harsh, often angry sounding, vox is definitely directed at it's polar opposite.

Musically, the fragments of major-key melodies sit side by side with rumbling minor-key bass, they swirl around each other, circling and engaging as if they too are part of the inner conflict.

So how is this album complete, how does it achieve near-perfection whilst being seemingly so conflicted? Simply put, the lyric, "I guess you're just not god enough."

Here, as I see it, the two halves of reconsiderate's mind sing this in unison. Both subconscious and unconscious agree, that whatever they are and whatever shortcomings both have, all of which are explored throughout this album, they are both part of a human being. In a letter accompanying this CD Recon stated that the album was about one's "life's work", and it is this striving for perfection, the thing that keeps any artist going; the accute feeling of "trying to keep it together" both in a conceptual yin and yang (subconscious and conscious) way, and in an emotional, immediate way, that screams humanity; ultimately, it opens a window into the private world of Reconsiderate.

That's just my perception of it, although what makes a great piece of art great is the ability to spawn many different ideas and vantage points depending on the observer's previous experiences, thoughts and feelings. If you want to be challenged and learn something about yourself I couldn't recommend a piece of work more.

Thank you Recon for making what I'm sure people will look back on as they did on Van Gogh and say, "Shit, this guy was good."

Available to purchase (and lots of free tracks) from reconsiderate.com

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