What is Paper Sailboat? Not content with the extent to which words describe the sound, the artist instead used self-titled Paper Sailboat to create a sonic answer to the question. After fully listening to and enjoying the album, it has become apparent that this musical approach was the most appropriate response that could have given. As an added touch, the cover art is actually an origami blueprint that you can fold into a sailboat yourself – a nice, tangible addition that reinforces the DIY direction and interpretation of the album.
There are a few constant tricks used throughout. One notable trick is the throbbing bass and the other involves use of a sort of “breakdown” technique, where the song either slows substantially or stops completely, allowing a pause before the music reappears with stunningly brute force. At many different points you think the song is over, just for it to kick in more, and it’s actually a tantalizing approach to the music as you’re never quite sure what to expect next.
Similarly, there are some unique approaches found here that are intriguing and incredibly applied. For instance, “Bear Substitution” makes creative use of the sound of a thunderstorm, using the sticky sounds of raindrops as a percussive element and the booming thunder as an accent. “Peace” relies on a sampled speech to supply the meat of the song rather than just having it as an introduction. To further reinforce how music evolves, you’ll find “Ambieight” and “Eighty-Eighterer” to be two completely different iterations of the same original theme, though you would only detect a vague sense of familiarity between the two if you hadn’t read the song description supplied with the download.
The true testament to the creativity presented here, however, lies within the cover of Claude Debussy’s “Clair De Lune,” Without knowledge of the song being covered, you would think this was just a nice interpolation of classical music and electro-pop. Beneath the surface of the song is a deep understanding of structure and music theory, an understanding that allowed the artist to dissect the original and rearrange it in a striking way with an underlying catchy rhythm to create a whole new work of art. The use of the breakdown is most poignant here; there is a part where the music stops and the original piano starts creeping in eerily, enhanced by vinyl crackle, and it sent shivers down my spine. I enjoyed this song the most.
Paper Sailboats doesn’t neatly fit into any one category of music, and at the conclusion of the album, one believes that perhaps it’s not meant to. Fun and trippy, yet elegant and emotive, this is a mark of true musical creativity and ingenuity, and was a real delight to experience. If you’re looking to take a ride through the unknown and unexpected, definitely check this album out.
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