Review Summary: audible bliss
There’s something to be said about the role an album’s artwork plays into the experience of the music within. Does it matter? Should a record’s cover have any bearing on the sensation that it itself gives you? There’s something to be admired about artwork that perfectly distills the essence of its musical counterpart, but it’s just as notable (and much more rare) when it evokes the opposite. In direct contrast to the steely reel to reel tape recorder adorning its cover, Vasudeva’s Generator
feels like receiving a hug from the warm spring air, a naturalistic reprieve from the disorienting state of the world.
While never a particularly heavy band, New Jersey based three piece instrumental outfit Vasudeva have been slowly but surely trading their strident math rock stylings for more breezy and groovy atmosphere. Generator
marks their most significant expansion in that direction so far, with keyboards and electronics making themselves just as populous as electric guitars. There are other little tricks along the way, such as drummer Derek Broomhead (who is fantastic throughout) trading sticks for brushes on the acoustic leaning “Drop”, or the unusual high pass filtering and left-right panning in “Only On”, their most out-and-out dance number to date.
A major-key mood trip that preaches substance over style, Generator
is significantly less showy than the works of many of Vasudeva’s instrumental peers. At times, it almost verges on background music, like a post rock edition of the “lofi hip hop beats to study/relax to” YouTube channel. But Generator
switches things up more than enough to remain engaging, and never overstays its 37 minute welcome.
It’s hard to separate any music from the circumstances that surround it, and in these disconcerting times of quarantining and self isolation, Generator
feels necessary. With the world noisier than ever, sometimes we need a reminder of the simple things; that the sun will still come up in the morning, that the grass is still gonna grow. Generator
is that reminder, forward-moving and optimistic even when everything around seems to be going to complete hell.