David Knowles recent release is a two cassette (yes, I said cassette) set. One, Home, is an interesting compilation of melancholy tunes set against a minimalistic acoustic background. The second tape has a more progressive feel through the incorporation of electronic static and atmospheric drones. The two are an obviously personal story that Knowles is attempting to relay to the rest of us; but the combination of poor recording and lackluster musical talent results in a mildly painful listening experience.
The tapes released by Knowles sound like they were recorded in his own bedroom. His aching vocals are lost in a fog of hazy static, and the tapes are nearly impossible to hear without cranking up the stereo. Initially, I felt intrigued by his use of simple chords with heartfelt lyrics. I was drawn in to his attempts to tell us about important aspects of his life. I stood, I walked, and I saw are the openings to the first three tracks, as he takes you on his raw and unkempt journey.
Unfortunately, it soon becomes obvious that Knowles needs to spend a little more time exploring composition and basic musical skills. His inability to stay on rhythm or to play simple chords consistently begins to replace the image of minimalism with the image of ineptitude. The two-tape set is mainly song after song of the same rhythm, the same chord structure, and the same lack of musical ability. Whether he plays the piano or the guitar, or just fills space with static noise, the format is monotonous and none of it is done well. Knowles has a talent for lyrics and for storytelling, but the framework needs more attention.
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