There’s a tension I often feel when I listen to music that’s been clearly been made for TV and film. There’s an inauthenticity to a lot of it – it all feels like something that’s been watered down, fulfilling a formula to act as mere background music. After all, most folks aren’t really going to be paying close attention, right?
When I listen to Davis Evanoff’s new EP, the word “epic” comes to mind. Knowing Davis, every millisecond of this 14 minute EP was written, mixed, and mastered with precision and intention. All of this would be suitable for placement in TV and film. But, the EP stands alone as its own cohesive body of work.
This EP has a way of fitting many moods. Contemplative. Anticipatory. Celebratory. Pensive. Melancholy. It’s all there. Often simultaneously. “Rise” in particular closes out the album in a poignant, ethereal manner, with a simple motif repeating over and over.
If I had one criticism, it would be that sampled vocals of “Let me just run away” and “Into the wild I wonder” sometimes feel jarring. The latter feels almost cartoonish in its delivery. However, the greater context of their respective tracks, it’s hard for me to call this a criticism.
Genre-wise, this is hard to classify. Davis’ vocals, when not distorted, are pretty dang smooth but I don’t know if I can call them pop, as much as he would fit that sound (see “Cranberries,” his previously release experimental pop single from last year). “Alone” is in many respects a classic cinematic pop track, but it would be downright offensive to put it in the same category as any Imagine Dragons single. It’s hard for me to picture how Davis would pull this off in a live setting. I could see him sharing a bill with artists like Porter Robinson, ODESZA, or RÜFÜS DU SOL. This might suggest that he’s squarely in the electronic arena, but I don’t want to limit him.
One of the musical highlights of my year so far was the installation I attended that also doubled as a listening party for this album. I implore more local artists to take this sort of immersive approach: rather than try to sell out a 300-400 cap room and just playing a show. Do something noteworthy that really leaves an impression for 40-50 people. Davis has the right idea.
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