Teen Daze is really one guy (Jamison Isaak) but he's got collaborators who have pitched in to make the new album, Themes For Dying Earth, a very special record. Out Friday on Isaak's own FLORA label, the release is electronic music, in a sense, but it's also beautiful and lushly lyrical in its own unique way.
While there are cuts here with vocals (the aching "Lost"), the others that are instrumentals are just as easily affecting. A guitar strum on "Cherry Blossoms" carries the song into territory last explored on the instrumental half of Gone to Earth by David Sylvian, while "Dream City" similarly recalls the music of earlier eras that prized mood over literalness. If "First Rain" echoes anything it's perhaps those post-Wire recordings Colin Newman made for the esteemed 4AD label, and one can hear a trace of Eighties-era Durutti Column in the spry "Rising" which follows after. And, given the title of this album, it's clear that there are ecological concerns here in the material, concerns reflected in the limited lyrics and the titles of the tracks, but it's a remarkably unforced sort of concern. If anything Themes For Dying Earth recalls marvelous Talk Talk albums like Spirit of Eden in at least attitude, if not style.
The rarest of albums, Themes For Dying Earth is serious without being pretentious, and that's no mean feat. Isaak and his assorted collaborators have created something here that, in its own way, recalls an updating of Brian Eno's Another Green World. Music full of electronic effects and embellishments but which remains achingly human and full of warmth, this is one of the highlights of this month's releases.
Themes For Dying Earth is out on Friday via FLORA. More details via that link.
[Photo: Sharalee Prang]