Joey Anderson, After Forever

Schermata 2014-03-18 a 10.41.29
Illustration by Jonathan Calugi

[Dekmantel]


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Hoboken’s Joey Anderson often gets lumped in with tri-state area contemporaries like Levon Vincent, DJ Qu, and Fred P., all three of whom have had an impact on his ascendancy. All share a history in the NY/NJ scene, whether as dancers, DJs, or both, and all offer dubby, darkened interpretations of house. While Vincent, Qu, and Fred P. have long since established their particular quirks, Anderson might still be enigmatic to some. After Forever, Anderson’s debut album, showcases much of what sets him apart.

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For one thing, it’s readily apparent that he is a jammer. Practically every piece on After Forever features Anderson cutting into the mix at some point to add some light piano or synth riffing. There is something detestable about house that’s too jazzy — the element of the showoff — but Anderson is acutely aware of this, and his riffing never feels self-indulgent. It’s more like he’s garnishing mostly-finished arrangements. Underneath these flourishes, Anderson’s rhythms knock with the loose spontaneity of a street drummer — guys who bang on buckets in subway stations, or Moondog, or whoever. His drums move in cycles, with hits moving on and off the grid or sitting off beat for so long they start to seem on beat. Overall he seems fascinated with the labyrinthine possibilities of programming, sequencing and intertwining patterns for just long enough that one begins to lose track of them. Still, most pieces seem to have a central driving purpose. There’s a lot going on on “Sorcery,” but mostly it’s about two squeaking synth lines modulating past each other. Anderson may have tweaked them with his hands, but it’s also possible he just set them up and let them intermingle on their own. Like many of the pieces here, it has that elusive sleight-of-hand quality found in the most intoxicating dance records.

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There’s a deliberate aspect aligning Anderson with his aforementioned contemporaries. For all its hypnotism and spontaneous energy, After Forever is not an album that will befuddle listeners. Its patterns are direct, and much of its depth derives from how they simply sit together. Anderson’s tracks are rooted in tangibility, but at their best, this backbone is combined with something floating and less definable: the unearthly gurgle which underscores “Amp Me Up,” the incantatory vocal repetitions on the stepping “It’s A Choice,” or the soaring melodies on dazzling standout “Sky’s Blessings.” These kinds of moments happen repeatedly. Above all, After Forever‘s sense of lively exploration is inspiring.

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds March Charts 2014 – Little White Earbuds  on April 4, 2014 at 12:01 AM

[…] Hall” [Crisis Urbana Recordings] (buy) 08. Samuel, “Numberuma” [Brstl] (buy) 09. Joey Anderson, “Sorcery” [Dekmantel] (buy) 10. Garnier, “Boom (Chakolak)” [Still Music] […]

Little White Earbuds April Charts 2014 – Little White Earbuds  on May 2, 2014 at 10:30 AM

[…] Ortiz 01. Joey Anderson, “Sorcery” [Dekmantel] 02. Voiski, “A Star In Your Head” [Field Records] 03. Løt.te, […]

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