I need to begin with an odd analogy. Imagine you’re at a nice party, one of those catered gigs where waiters walk through the crowd with trays of appetizers. You take one as a waiter goes by, and it’s really quite good. In fact, you’d like another. But you can’t find that waiter anywhere, so you opt to reach for another appetizer, and it’s good, too. And that waiter disappears as well. This keeps happening all night. And while the appetizers are nice, you find yourself wondering if there’s going to be an entree at some point in the evening, because you imagine it would be pretty good, given the appetizers.
That’s the sum of my experience with Parts, the new release from D_Rradio. There are 19 tracks on this very listenable CD. The longest runs 3:28; the shortest whips by in just 29 seconds. The whole of the thing is over in under 40 minutes. It’s a stream of good musical appetizers that, while making me want more, often disappoints in the way they come and go so quickly.
The length, or lack thereof in most cases, would not be an issue if I didn’t like the music. But there’s the problem: I do, for the most part, and several of the better tracks on Parts gather up their sounds and leave just as I’m getting into them. “Better Left Alone,” a melancholic reflection with a feel like slowed-down jazz, is just finding its expressive voice and seems to be approaching a turning point–and then it fades out. The same goes for the 1:08-long “End of A Wild Life.” It slips in on light strings, sounds like it’s gearing up to have something to say…and then cuts off the conversation, practically in mid-chord, and departs. The super-short tracks, whatever the intent was, become almost ignorable for their brevity.
I get what’s being attempted, thematically. Parts is made of parts and not all parts are complete. But since when they are complete they’re well worth listening to, it makes the seemingly semi-formed ones a bit disappointing. Despite the thematic intent.
There are fully realized, satisfying pieces here. “Midnight on a Moonless Night,” the longest track, sighs and drones its way through a foggy sound-mist. “Ruins of A Wall of Sound” is, even for a short track, a stunning piece of romantically tinged ambient. Warm, lush strings worthy of good chamber music glide in a slow dance around each other. There’s a gorgeous near-sadness to it.
Parts is well worth a listen. D_Rradio show talent and intelligence in every track, no matter how brief. I look forward to more from them.
Available from Distraction Records.