Monday, December 03, 2007

Under the light

Dimmer - Drop You Off

Dimmer’s records have always been nocturnal affairs. The term ‘Noir Pop’ is used on the sticker on the front of new album There My Dear but Shayne Carter coined it himself. It’s not just pop with a dark streak, its stylish and sensual. If Dimmer was a photograph, it would have been taken by Gregory Crewdson.

I remember night drives on the hills and streets of Christchurch, (not far from Carter’s home town Dunedin) with their first record (from which the bonus tracks on the new one are taken) I Believe You Are A Star loud on the speakers and it just being perfect. It’s evocative and somehow very New Zealand sounding, furthering the murky pop of his first band, Straitjacket Fits, part of the revered Flying Nun ‘Dunedin sound’ of the 80s and 90s. I'm not a huge fan of this new Dimmer record but it took me back (thanks, bonus tracks) to I Believe You Are A Star which is nothing short of amazing. Shayne Carter's a chilled out guy with a humble approach to songwriting, unpretentious which is sort of surprising given the slick nature of Dimmer's moods and tones.

“I’ve always found that if I make music that moves me in one way or another, then to me, that’s the whole point. A song can be technically correct and tick all the boxes but they may not have a soul that moves you. I’ve written those too, but thankfully they don't make it beyond my room. But I just want to make music that has some mystery to it and kind of nails something inexplicable. I think that’s the whole point of music and good art, really, without being pretentious about it. But you know what i mean with inexplicable things. Great art and great music - not that i'm saying what we do is great rt - but that stuff taps into that transcendent kind of thing."

It's hard writing about that stuff sometimes though, without using those cliched words. It's probably very tricky to make it, too, without coming off like some wacked out Bono soundtrack to the soundtrack of yr life sort of shit. But it just seems so important that people are making this sort of stuff. Those vaguely transcendental moments that take you away from where you are even for just a second.

"Yeah I think so too bro. When you do listen to a great bit of music, its uplifting and beyond the everyday mediocrity. and great music is also beyond the everyday mediocrity of most pop music. it all depends what you think is uplifting, though. Some people think Maroon 5 is uplifting, and well, good on them. We all go for different kicks".

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