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Plays "The Greys"[engl] Dan Melchior is artist as perpetual motion machine. We could say “shark,” but Dan doesn’t sniff for blood in the water. Instead, he is inviting you to his private lake; his solace relies on his relentless creativity. Whether painting, writing, collaging or recording, Dan offers nothing less than words, images and sounds transmitted directly from his subconscious, but filtered through the rigorous process of a true artist. Dan’s latest offering is a superb collection of songs and sonic vignettes that dips down deep into life’s trenches. Here, where light has to fight to be noticed, misery, monotony and melancholy mingle and bleed into one another. Accordingly, Dan doesn’t play the blues, he plays the greys. Plays The Greys is a patchwork album, but don’t let that imply carelessness. Each odd juxtaposition serves a purpose and illuminates its surroundings like a torch in the night. Part one and part two of the title track are perfect examples of Dan’s decidedly non-academic approach to musique concrete’s a-musical gestures. Field recordings bump up against back-porch guitar plucking that morphs into radio declarations by the good Christians among us. Praise be. In more ways than one, “Death Has No Mercy” is the center of the album. Midway through its hazy meanderings, “Death…” jumps into an uptempo backwoods jaunt. It’s good to know that the guitar is always there, providing a means for expression and catharsis. Suffering in recent years through immense personal tragedy, Dan channels all that pain and helplessness into an extended rumination on grief and the challenge of living with permanent ache. So forget what I wrote earlier -- Dan Melchior has indeed made a blues album, one fit for 2016, and beyond. - e/n
Road Not Driving[engl] Last time we checked in with Dan Melchior, he was Playing The Greys (see Ever/Never # 21). What has he been up to lately? Melchior is as aesthetically restless as he is endlessly creative, so in between recording an album with Austin TX art-punk trio Spray Paint and a myriad of tape and vinyl releases, Dan found the time to gift Ever/Never with another classic slice of Melchiorcore (please, shoot the messenger for that one). Road Not Driving is a 12” EP that covers a fair amount of ground during its runtime. “I Got A Feeling” starts out as a feel-bad ode to, well, feeling bad, and then finds itself truly sinking into the muck as the track distorts beyond all reason, until coming around full circle at the conclusion. Climate change has got us all down, but at least you can commiserate with the guitar slicks and (gulf jet)stream-of-consciousness lyrics of “Another Oil Spill.” In the icily observant “Cold Town,” Dan’s previous locale , Ohio -- and the lake-effect of the Midwest pokes its head through the (grey) clouds. The storm clouds hover over side two’s “Relics,” which finds Dan casting about for some kind of connection. Those bleak months -- half a year really -- can weigh a man down but they leave plenty of time to come up with creative ways of dealing with the isolation. Yet, when connection comes in the form of “Bus Stop Ghouls,” perhaps it’s preferable to be alone after all. Melchior closes out this potent dip into his stewing brain with the title track and all we can say is Godspeed, sir. -e/n