Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Dropout: New Single "Old Parts, New Beginnings"

I've checked in a handful of times with Andrew Ficker's electro-funk/new-wave-jazz jolted project, The Dropout... And he put on quite a show last summer when he appeared on my talk show. ("I only do first takes...") He's keeping busy, as usual, with a new single out today, the title track from a new EP, Old Parts, New Beginnings, (ft. Nydge, his past collaborator in the duo, Nigel & The Dropout).

Old Parts, New Beginnings comes out February 16.

Ficker has always been about the sonic smorgasbord, which is on display here... Subtle elements from a diverse batch of genre-ingredients get stirred together into the wake of propulsive arrangements of aerobic dance beats, celestial synths, atmospheric guitars, and expressively jolted phrases from a nimbly wielded saxophone.

But Ficker has always brought a bit of the anthropological to his song creation process. He's a markedly more avid live music event attendee than others can claim, particularly being drawn to thousands-crowd-sized/acres-wide spanning spectacle music festivals. It's field research, in a way... Ficker has always been attuned to how powerful live music can be, not just for the audience's engagement, but for the performer to find something of a deeper substance inside themselves, or in their existence. Yeah, it can be powerful. That's why he's singing about contemplative, and even urgent, pressurized notions like the present, the future, and what role any of our "potentials" play in successfully bridging the former to the latter...

The saxophone surging into the choruses on this track gives an uplift into the funkier beats of the bridge. The synths make this ghostly flute-like sound, oscillating in tone as curl up and then slink down a scale, giving space in the verses for a shimmer of guitar to pour in over chopping live drums.

There's all these audible intersections between the instruments, where one part comes up to meet the beginning of another, manifested most powerfully around the 1:45 mark, when the saxophone is at it's most declarative. This song, just like another song on the EP ("Potential,") find Ficker in these very contemplative lyrical moments, giving a sense of a singer on some kind of verge or at some kind of turning point, and feeling as though tailed by doubt. But then you make that turn. That next part begins. "It's a better day to step away...." And the wind at your back can take you home....

Stay tuned

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