Deep, introspective, yet ultimately mind numbing, Richard Swift’s latest project, The Instruments of Science and Technology, proves an outing to the singer songwriter’s new electronic laboratory is an excellent opportunity to get a bit lost in your own head…which is fine depending on what one finds lurking among the neurons. Me? I’m plunging through the cracks of the cerebral cortex to find a collage of mood and thought…all shooting the shit to the kind of industrious pastiche of clicks and beats that could easily be anything to anyone.
Yet as open to interpretation as Music From the Films of R/Swift (Secretly Canadian) is, the album never adheres itself to any real emotion…an idea that doesn’t bode well for those peering into all the glitchy laptop beats, bottom dwelling fuzz, and above the fray atmospherics for a personal reaction. A drip from the tear duct, a roll up and out of the belly, a physical reaction on the dance floor; most music aims for a direct press on flesh. But the metronome patterns on endless repeat that hide behind “Clay Young Battles The Man”, and the twisted piano and guitar that, at best, I can only say I think I may hear floating around “Ghost of Hip Hop” are not so obvious.
Perhaps the only real clue behind this collection comes from the very first line of the album. Following Swift’s advice (“the best way to relax is to lie down on your bed and stretch out”), I’m reminded that the still, human body is really but a ball of water…some 70% if I’m correct. Amongst such innards, thoughts, feelings, and emotions account for no real estate whatsoever. So shut it all off and enjoy the idea of just being, if only for a moment. Perhaps then can the peculiar pulse behind Music From the Films of R/Swift be appreciated, understood, and felt. – David Pitz