Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Discover: Scott Robinson - Noticing

Keep It Up is Scott Robinson's second album - the follow-up to Hopeless Positivity, an album I missed. I've not listened to Robinson's music since 2013, since his Home Recordings collection of fuzz. That was back when Robinson had one like on his 'official' Facebook page, which was liked only by myself at the time. Amateurism musicians who rely on Bandcamp as their primary source of self-expression often find that their music is rarely heard. I'm sure after a few years of releasing music publicly, Robinson understands that Bandcamp perhaps is his port of importance, his safe-place of desperation - money doesn't influence this creative process.

"Noticing" is a stand out track on Keep It Up - it can be found at the 14ish minute mark, but go ahead and listen to the full album, it's not too long. That being said, there are aspects of Robinson's music which I straight up dislike, some parts are intentional to add sustenance which personally it could do without (percussion effects and mechanised wah-wah.) Listening through Robinson's music since Home Recordings is quite surprising as I didn't expect it to be so mellow. Where his original songs were demo-esque, the lo-fi recording was the appeal as it wasn't technically intentional lo-fi, it was lo-fi due to recording constraints - that's the kind of lo-fi which is in my books; passable.

This track certainly isn't lo-fi, it could be, but it isn't. Is it better like this? Perhaps, it's definitely more accessible and easier to hear the lyrics - Robinson's underlining quality. A test writers and musicians should do is strip down what they're listening to - hear it, see it as it's not supposed to be heard; that's when you can fully understand and grasp compositional writing. Stripping "Nothing" to its naked body unearths Robinson's jewels, song-writing and impressive unintended minimalism. The fade out, okay I despise fade outs, but I’ll let Robinson off because the content of "Nothing" does strike a chord with the listener. His influences seem to have changed from his conception - where the fizz sounds of Home Recordings was a clear call to Neutral Milk Hotel and Daniel Johnston, Keep It Up and "Noticing" in particular move away from the foundations of fuzzy alt-rock and indie, towards the realms of acoustic neo-psychedelia the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Ty Segall (specifically Sleeper's "The West") understand. Sure, the heartfelt song-writing of Johnston and Elliot Smith are still present, but the musical accompaniment will dictate whether Robinson's music will progress in to a part of music's memorable library, or like the 45-year olds on Reverb Nation still holding on to that Pink Floyd pipe dream. My assumption would be the former, but perhaps the effects and added substance need to be dropped in order to achieve that Smith / Drake winter feel, within Robinson's bright song-writing.

~Eddie Gibson

Robinson's Keep It Up can be downloaded for free on Bandcamp here.