In Tall Buildings
Akinetic, the new album from Chicago songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erik Hall’s one-man polymathic project In Tall Buildings sees its creator plunge headlong into allegories of communication, loss, impulse, vice, and mass-denialism. With the addition of producer and engineer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine) Hall crashes through the aforementioned subject matter with brightness and lucidity, yielding his most intelligent and focused songwriting yet. Working out of his house with Deck in Pilsen, Chicago, Hall’s efforts yield ten tracks of spacious and textured handmade pop, comprising one of the most sharply written and deftly recorded home-studio albums in memory. Due out March 2nd 2018 on Western Vinyl, Akinetic could not have transpired in any other time. Since his 2015 LP, Driver, Erik Hall has produced records for ambient artist Justin Walter and labelmates Lean Year, all while touring perpetually and sowing the seeds for his own new album. Where his previous titles were natural documents of his musicianship and songcraft, Akinetic arose from deliberate intent to write in concrete pop forms, lyrically informed by what he observed of modern culture, namely its fixation on technology-driven pseudo-progress at the cost of direct communication. “Rather than merely dwell in an inviting musical bed,” Hall states, “I wanted to write songs with intentionality that would more directly declare themselves to a listener instead of just passively inviting them in.
Wide-eyed and instantly likable ... Driver is heavy on melodies and breezy in its effortlessness. It’s the kind of album that moves in different ways during different times and reveals aural layers on multiple listens.
Driver feels composed more than written, not in a way that elevates or alienates, but rather one that draws the ear to each presence in a landscape that shifts, unfolds, and surrounds; a quietly intense ride and mix recommended for headphone listening.
A lovely mid-tempo, melancholy stroll, expertly layered with tambourine, multi-tracked backing vocals and choppy electric guitar. In fact, its sense of building warmth in a cold world might just make it the perfect soundtrack to your snow-soaked mid-week.
[Driver] features 10 understated pop songs carefully constructed around guitars, piano, synthesizers and Hall's riveting, whispery vocals.
Full of motion ... Through expertly crafted home recording techniques...Hall weaves the sounds into unique sonic tapestries, with his voice tying everything together.
Driver...sustains such a steady mood-a hushed intimacy touched with the subtlest edge of melancholy-that it can be easy to overlook the ambitious stylistic hopscotch happening behind it... 'Unmistakable...' produc[es] a delicately funky amalgam that sounds a little like Elliott Smith's Either/Or filtered through Peter Gabriel's So.
Erik Hall's music remains impossible to define on 'Unmistakable,' but suffice it to say there's a big-hearted, wistful, deftly arranged metropolitan pop song between that simple bass-kick beat and those mesmerizing keyboard flickers.
Equal parts expansive and intimate, anchored by Hall's mellow tenor and ear for subtle but engaging composition.