Michael Johnson Nonsense Goes Mudslide

[Must!Delicious; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles:  electro-pop
Others: Fog, Resplendent, Holopaw

Michael Johnson is best recognized as the drummer of the indie-folk experiment Holopaw. Their debut record was a lo-fi explosion filled with melodic harmonies and gorgeous music. Pioneered by John Orth, famous for his collaboration with Ugly Casanova and his affiliation with Modest Mouse, Holopaw convincingly settled within the parameters of alt-country and folk while dabbling with several rustic sound structures and composition.

My first assumption of Michael Johnson was clear from the start. Prior to receiving my copy of Nonsense Goes Mudslide, I assumed that his musical output would remain consistent with Holopaw's minimalist alt-country fetish. Furthermore, I was convinced that this record was going to be a duplication of Holopaw's debut offering. Imagine my utter shock and astonishment when I began listening and found that it's a daring experimentation into electro-pop, summoning comparison to the lo-fi minimalist of The Resplendent, the hushed beauty of Andrew Broder of Fog, and the electro-fusion hip-hop of Dosh.

Nonsense Goes Mudslide is a 30-minute journey to a higher level of conscience and being. Although Johnson isn't tremendously extraordinary with his vocal contribution, his musicianship is extremely compelling. "And Now, the Sequel" properly begins the album, after a short introductory song, and quickly establishes the pace and conviction of the remainder of the record. Drum pounding is accompanied by several musical elements, including violin, noise samples, and organ, creating a vast and spacious sound that draws the listener within the album's complexity.

Songs like "Awful Side" showcase strong elements of vocal harmonies, but ends too promptly and leaves the listener questioning its unexpected conclusion. In fact, the only unfortunate factor of this album is that each song seems entirely too short and quickly dissipate to make room for the next. The momentum of each song is reached rather quickly, but often brings disappointment due to its length. Yet, each song is a well-crafted electro-pop concoction that will leave listeners baffled at its beauty and exquisiteness.

Michael Johnson's Nonsense Goes Mudslide is a perfect sunny mid-afternoon record for sitting back on your porch and gazing at the blazing sun warming your face. Accessible and charming, this record is definitely a sweet mystery.

1. Faulty family
2. And now, the sequel
3. The third line
4. The staring contest
5. Awful side
6. Transistors and gravity
7. Extra crispy
8. Modern comforts
9. The natives going under
10. Cram in flux
11. Nowhere (that whore)
12. Dilly dally
13. A caveman's embrace

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