Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Adrian Knight - Vacation Man (Galtta Media, 2018)

This gentleman is a Swedish ex-pat who lives in New York and is a mainstay of the Galtta Media empire, which is helmed by one David LacknerAdrian Knight may call NYC home, but he truly resides in a universe where corporate training videos, Club Med advertising, and a sort of post-nostalgic, morose funk all collide into a broken-down version of the American Dream.  On the surface, everyone is all smiles, with perfectly coiffed hair, the right clothes, a great car, and a bronze body.  Dig deeper and wage slavery is the rule, and we are all pining for some time away, all-inclusive, where we can plow down cocktails and gorge ourselves at the buffet trough.  Enter Vacation Man.

The artwork accompanying this cassette is a painting of either a waiting room at a travel agency or the antechamber of a timeshare sales enclave.  Fluorescent lights are dispersed in a T-bar drop ceiling, and the flat screen TV is probably displaying thinly-veiled advertising on a loop.  The magazines on the coffee table most likely offer maximum relaxation and all-you-can-eat.  Perfection, at a price.

Sonically, Adrian Knight and friends (Lackner on woodwinds, Michael Advensky mans drums and percussion, Alice Cohen provides backing vocals, and Nick Stevens plays the trombone) echo the illusion of unlimited pleasure masking a woozy collective sadness.  The music is almost polished, but cracks in the fa├žade pop out frequently: an off-beat rhythmic element here, an out of tune synth there, a hint of melancholy in the lyrics.

But as much as Knight acknowledges the gloom, he’s sanguine and asks us for a similar perseverance.  Be positive!  Revel in the illusion!  And his music leads us to succumb.  We close our eyes, a wan smile on our faces, as we dream of our next escape.  Thank you, Mr. Knight.  Vacation Man – with its smooth rhythms and luscious woodwinds – might just get me through the rest of this brutal winter.

Released in an edition of 125, Vacation Man is still available from the Galtta Media Bandcamp, so head on over and drift into an alternate plane of existence.  Don’t worry, be happy!