The moniker of Chicago musician Jaime Fennelly’s Mind Over Mirrors seems to contain a philosophical idea that hints at a mind’s ultimate “victory” over experiences in a world of mirrors and illusion. Yet at the same time, such an idea inherently contains a philosophical flaw if viewed logically; for what, truly, is “mind”, and what is experiencing the illusion if not for the mind?
Steeped in analog and digital drones from a harmonium and varying electronics, the landscape of Fennelly’s latest album, Check Your Swing, provides a listening experience that seems to riff on the contradictions inherent in his project name (if indeed my interpretation is even remotely correct). It may not be intentional, but Fennelly’s music incites within a listener a battle between conscious and subconscious mind spaces, as certain moments flow on without demanding much thought and others dominate one’s experience completely.
On first listen, album opener “Breaking A Jam” and the sparse “Pass Into The Driftless” both seem to fall back towards background music territory. Though excellent, they — like most tracks on the album — are most significant when viewed as a part of the entire record spectrum. Others like “Memorander” and “Check Your Swing” seem to insist on being front and center in one’s aural line of sight. These two tracks don’t capture one’s attention for being more erratic or bizarre than the others; they just drone on heavier, by possessing a nuanced, burning intensity that becomes notably more eerie and fiery with every second, as though preparing listeners for an explosive introspective revelation. Never do the sonics actually explode in any ostentatious sense, but their ever-building tensions do crest to a point where they absolutely demand’s attention even if they had begun without it.
The album’s sequencing seems to produce a curious effect in a listener, where tracks will alternate between capturing one’s conscious mind and releasing it, all the while dipping in and out of one’s subconscious. Hence, like moments in life where revelations about the nature of existence come and go, Check Your Swing ebbs and flows, creating an ever-changing deep listening experience.
Mind Over Mirrors – Check Your Swing Full Album Stream
Check Your Swing, which will be released via Hands In The Dark Records on November 13th, is well worth repeat listens. It is limited to 300 copies of vinyl with MP3 download coupons. Get yours.