Native Eloquence – Big Blue Nowhere
Put on your rain jackets and get ready for the seascape of Big Blue Nowhere, the premier release from Oakland-based composer and saxophonist Adam Hirsch’s experimental jazz-pop project, Native Eloquence. Boasting a wide and varied array of accompanying musicians and instruments, Hirsch creates a world of sound with unexpected audible shifts that both please and surprise the listener. With an average track time of seven minutes, there is plenty of time to showcase the complex, yet natural sounds that present a unique, modern jazz that borders on cacophony at times only to round out into an indie pop masterpiece.
Thus far, the most telling characterization of Big Blue Nowhere I’ve encountered, is the self-description as “water pop” found on Native Eloquence’s Facebook page. The truthfulness of this description is apparent upon listening as Big Blue Nowhere acts as an unorthodox ode to the movements and sounds of a gentle rainstorm. The at times drifting, roiling, ebbing, and flowing nature of the album resembles the changeability of water and jazzily contains direct mimicries to water by using instruments to create sounds similar to rain, rushing water, droplets etc.
The first single and also first track on Big Blue Nowhere, “Doldrum”, is a gossamer, dreamy, shoegazey jazz-laden piece. Reminiscent of a misty, jungly morning, “Doldrum” surprises the listener by taking a dynamic turn when it bursts into a supernatural, almost celestial pulsation that adds an electronic flair which I’m sure lent itself to Stereogum’s Aaron Lindenberg’s description of Native Eloquence as “recalling Miles Davis and M83 all at once.”
The second track “Habits” has also been received positively and has recently landed a spot as song of the day on new music discovery site The Line of Best Fit. “Habits” features ultra-precise beats that delicately contrast relaxed, somberly poetic vocals to give a modern indie-pop base with and definite avant-garde inclination. I found “Wash” to be a Sufjan Stevens-esque piece with its percussive use of bells and xylophones and genius sound layering. “Wash” showcases Hirsch’s talent for composition with its impeccable, seemingly chaotic, yet balanced structure. Spackled with crescendos of cymbals, discord, and the gentle, yet ever repeating phrase I can’t wash without water, “Wash” is an impressive piece and will catch the ear of any indie music lover.
The fourth and final track “John Wesley Powell” begins with what can only be described as tribal rhythms that quickly change into a steadier, stripped down, almost funky groove that combined with the lush background sound of rain, propels it into its place of my favorite track on the album. Certainly the most lyrically enterprising track of Big Blue Nowhere, it also features a most fitting ending with a simulation of rain droplets that signifies the end of the storm. Big Blue Nowhere is a great album to enter the fall season with and will certainly not disappoint.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 5 Stars!
Album Name: Big Blue Nowhere
Date Released: August, 2015
Genre: Experimental pop, Indie, Jazz,
Location: Oakland, CA
Band Members: Adam Hirsch – saxophone, voice, electronics (all)
Stephen Becker – guitar (1-3), drums (1,4)
Nathan Swedlow – electric bass (1), double bass (2)
Tom Kearney – guitar (1)
Sally Decker – crackle box (2)
Daniel King – vibraphone & marimba (3)
Justin Gunter – xylophone & glockenspiel (3)
Carrie Frey – viola (3)
Yuri Popowycz – violin (3)
Rachel Ishikawa – voice (3)
Regina Larre Campuzano – voice (3)
Duncan Standish – drums (3)
Nate Mendelsohn – saxophone (3)
Dirtbike – arp & buchla synths (3,4)
Peter Hartmann – voice (4)
Record Label: Stereocure