By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
"At heart, I'm a pop kind of guy," reveals Connor Bell between sips of Jamieson's and Coke (a favorite of John Lennon's, incidentally). "I guess consonant music is what I naturally do. I'm working with other dissonant stuff, but for whatever reason, the live show that became the twelve-inch ended up being pretty consonant. I think there's a lot to be said for pleasing music that's not dissonant and hard to tolerate."
Bell refers to the sounds on Now I'm Shedding, his first release as Sheddingon the Home Tapes imprint. During the course of the disc's 23 minutes, Bell's explorations herd together ambient, pop and avant-garde to forge a pleasingly uncommon euphony. The music of Shedding is the music of dreams: The sounds Bell creates are otherworldly, but they teeter between the nonlinear and the familiar, like sonic déjà vu. It sounds as if the near-beats and bleats aspire to cohesion, but Bell reroutes them before they arrive, disallowing the orgasmic fusion they so desire. Vocal samples fall in and out of the mix in half-sentences, expressing the incomplete desires of incomplete ghosts. Bell accomplishes all of this without the slightest hint of pretense, like a young god at play, bouncing concepts around before giving final form to his universe.
Ambient music is not typically the most exciting thing to see performed in a live setting, but it should be a joy to see the spirited exuberance of Bell's uncommonly euphonious experiment emanating directly from the man himself.