March 15, 2017

Alex Dwyer always cuts beer lines at Miller Park.

When talking about his lesser-known miniseries Show Me A Hero, David Simon, the creator of The Wire and Tremé (and soon to be The Deuce), told Mark Maron he was patient with his less acclaimed projects because of their “slow burn,” potential.

Since there are only so many HBO shows to scroll through, he might be right (Show Me A Hero is very, very good television despite none of your friends demanding you to watch it or else). SoundCloud is not afforded the same luxury, as evidenced by Topia from Milwaukee-based producer Thane.

The full-length debut dropped in September of last year, a couple months after his Gravity EP, missed a lot of year end lists, despite features from household hype including Anderson .Paak, BJ The Chicago Kid and Mick Jenkins.

The Bandcamp description of Thane’s sound, “mix of electronic, jazz, soul, r&b, and left field electronic,” does a great muddying disservice to his work. Each track is a choose-your-own-adventure trip to a U- or Dys- Topia of Thane’s choosing, sometimes both at once, calling on accordions, strings, and brass as needed to point the way toward home (via his guest host vocalists) or further away from it (via his meandering beats). The full effect is more deliberate than scattered, more poignant than saturated, and far more refreshing than you’d expect from the basic beer capital of the world.

Does SoundCloud’s architecture afford the opportunity for releases to burn slow? I don’t know but grab a cold one of your choosing and consider for yourself.