Succeeding in the music world, in 2016, requires a certain amount of counter-intuitiveness. On one hand, we're supposed to completely ignore the prevailing styles, trends, in-genres and movements and create art that is distinctive, personal and unique, while still keeping in mind a certain pre-requisite level of taste and style. It's knowing what's in, what people like, but discarding all of those data points when it comes time to create, in which case it is up to each individual artist to do their best and make the best possible art with the tools and skills at their disposal.
Acrylic Road by Corbett, Oregon's The Arborist, started out from the most simple of motivations - learning how to master music. Mastering, that is, in that secret, hidden art of finalizing audio to sound its best, for each individual medium where the soundwaves will be reproduced. It's a valid pursuit, as mastering is one of the most commonly overlooked steps in the indie world of Bandcamp and Soundcloud. It really helps quality material stand out, shimmer, sparkle and shine, especially in a sea of raw, crude, lo-fi indie releases.
Acrylic Road started out as a practice template, in every conceivable way, for The Arborist's Carson Schnackenburg. Schnackenburg is a drummer, by trade, and tracks like album opener "The Fifth Acre" were created solely for Schnackenburg to play drums along to. You'd never know it, from the wispy, neo-classical, prog-and-metal infused art rock. It's sensitive, delicate, intuitive and personal - not what you would expect from a bash-along backing track.
The Arborist might've just set out to hone his skills, but many masterful musical moments have been created from less. One definition of a master that I've seen is "someone who takes pleasure in all of the small details of an activity." I.e., someone who takes the pains to polish every single detail, to make sure everything is intentionally placed and serving the greater good. It is my great pleasure to report that not one moment is out of place on Acrylic Road, from the dense percussive polyrhythms to the swelling, emotive violin, cello and harp to tug your heartstrings of "The Lost Continent Of Mu: Part 1.” "The Lost Continent Of Mu: Parts 1 & 2" might be Acrylic Road's most sprawling and ambitious music, and while Schackenburg might've set out solely to master an obscure mixing technique, it's not hard to imagine these orchestral works showing up on the next Hans Zimmer or Johann Johannsson.
In short, The Arborist is one to keep an eye and an ear on, especially if this is what he can do when he's just experimenting and practicing. An auspicious and rising talent!
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