Individual Tracks £0.75
- Near Dawn
Heartland is the debut from 24 year old Portland, Oregon resident Dylan Stark. Tropical and immersive the album is brimming with emotion, spontaneity, reflection, and general human-ness. This is celebration music, exhilarating and invigorating.
Created from thousands of samples that Stark brings to life as if conducting an orchestra. Heartland is a world that he transports the listener through wide-eyed and blissed out. There is an emotional awakening that imbues the album with a joyous aesthetic that seems neither forced nor self-aware, but beautifully ingenuous.
Dylan says “For me the album was a way to put myself in the world of my own choosing. I imagined some other place that always sounded like it was teeming with life, where it always sounded like the world around me was celebrating. I tried to weave this feeling of ecstatic celebration throughout the album, I wanted everything to feel like a parade, like a dense jungle, to give a sort of relaxed, confident, joyous feeling coupled with the distant peace that would come to you when listening to a thunderstorm late at night.”
Heartland is an album about the evocative power of music, and how just a fragment has the ability to open up whole new vistas of the imagination. Amongst the vast array of sounds that make up each track are samples from a multitude of video games, children’s television programmes, Pokemon, Russian youtube cover versions, radio advertisements for Bollywood movies and WWE wrestling bells. There are recordings of street markets in Indonesia and Morocco, trees growing, glaciers retreating, choirs from the Melanesian islands, the US womens cheerleading championships and 1000’s more vibrant and diverse elements. But in the same way life/the universe is more than a series of atoms and particles, this record is more than a cut and paste sound collage for sample junkies, what Stark has created is alive; cinematic, intensely layered, infinitely detailed and much more than the sum of its parts, where the sound of a diver hitting the water in a public pool combined with the sound of a match igniting becomes a snare, where the sounds of birds screeching and chirping is slowed down hundreds of times to become sweeping spacy atmosphere, where the line between electronic and organic is blurred.
Dylan studied piano intensely from age 5, and at 19 he boldly he rejected college places in order to devote himself to making his own music. Over the next four years the decision drove him to work tirelessly over hundreds of iterations until using his banks of meticulously collected samples became completely natural and he was able to give his visions, the depth and character he desired, something that appears effortless. In a world where the development of countless want-to-be producers is immediately uploaded with the need for instant evaluation and affirmation, Dylan’s quiet patience and confidence has allowed him to create an exceptionally mature debut that is emotional and powerful enough that it doesn’t require any explanation or personality to be attached.
Beyond all the celebration and emotive resonance, Heartland is also an album that offers highly sophisticated songcraft and percussive innovation. Opener “Ashen” and closing track “Now” mirror each other, each beginning with minor chord progressions that are later restructured as major progressions and help the listener begin and then return from the albums journey. In “Daydream” a masked 7/4 rhythm and strange time signature of the two chord progression are masked to feel as natural as possible so the track always seems to be moving away from you. It’s all part of Dylan’s conscious desire to create feeling and geography.
“Whereas the rest of the album I wanted listeners to feel like they were deep in a natural setting, in album opener Ashen I wanted people to feel at least partially like they were still in an urban setting. I rerecorded a lot of the chords in the song as they were played through speakers in other rooms of my house so they would sound like a song you would hear playing in another apartment room across the way. I wanted Ashen to feel like you were sleeping at night in a small hut in a village somewhere and you heard someone playing the “music of the city” over an old radio from across the village.”
Heartland offers pure, exhilarating escapism brimming with sensation, tempered skill and emotional mastery. Civil Music release Heartland on 6th April 2015 with artwork by renowned artist Sandy Dooley.
Other Places to Buy
- Digital Tunes
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- What People Play (EU)
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- Amoeba (USA),