Review Summary: robotic tumbleweeds
Dirtwire’s eponymous debut is a curious thing. Is the oddball marriage of instrumental Americana and electronic beatcraft something you’re supposed to dance to？ Or does it beckon you to grab a donkey and embark on a peyote-fuelled trip through the Mojave？ I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Akin to discovering the door to a hidden world in your own backyard, Dirtwire’s angle on folktronica takes the familiar sights and sounds of the wild west and turns them into an entirely unique and striking swath of vivid hallucinations that remain untethered to the hitching post of mundane dancefloor jigs. If Red Dead Redemption’s John Marston fell through a wormhole and ended up at Burning Man, the ensuing montage of hilarity would surely be scored by this sonic enigma, but Dirtwire
by Dirtwire is so much more than a novelty. Refusing to rely on tropes and schtick, what we have here is total mastery of dichotomized aesthetics waltzing in perfect synchronicity to forge something completely new.
“Amphibian Circuits” sells the bit right off the bat, and sets the posture of these adventurous tones in prophetic fashion with echoic twangs soaring above a beachy dub framework. It’s a proper overture, and one that sees the following tracks casually sidestep into introspection as the album marches deeper into the void spaces of dustbowl panoramas and rattling cacti. From there, the stretch between “Back Home” and “Knock” borders on delirium with its harmonica-and-fiddle-peppered downtempo widdling, and things don’t start marching again until the midway point when “Hunter’s Harp” drops a forward rhythm that prods the charcuterie of acoustic instruments back into restless motion. The journey continues until the swampy percussion of “Bed Spring” casually draws the curtain on one of the most irreplicable undertakings you’ll ever be privy to, and after the dust is settled you’ll be left wondering if what you just experienced was even real. The cattle-rustling cosmonauts named David Satori and Evan Fraser are clearly men of pioneering vision, and their debut release under the Dirtwire alias is something that anyone who enjoys one-of-a-kind music should consider worthwhile.