Damien Q & Granular Injections – “Aftermath” – Single Review
With all due respect, I say humbly…I think I’m starting to catch onto this.
Let’s be real here though…my experience with the music of Damien Q is about three singles long right now – which includes this new cut “Aftermath” – even now, it’s still hard to say that anything I might write would be more than a theoretical assessment of what I’m hearing…but I think I’m getting there. Let’s also keep in mind, only one of those two previous tracks I had heard was in collaboration with Granular Injections…”Slow-Motion Dosing,” which we reviewed last month. The point I’m making is that no music-career could ever be summed up by just a couple songs…but we can get a good idea of what that full story might look like through the snapshot lens of a single or two. And I’m learning.
In fact, not only am I learning about this collaborative effort over time, experience, and listening, I also feel like I can sincerely relate to it. I remember coming to a point where I wanted to challenge myself in every direction as a singer & songwriter…and I’d either experiment with the instrumental music of other bands/artists I liked to create new songs with my vocals, or I’d be waiting around for my cohort to send me some tracks to work on for our band at the time. Same rules applied there…no limitations in the pursuit of art. As an artist looking forward to the challenge, with no restrictions on what came my way, I’d often pop open my inbox to receive a new instrumental cut from my bandmate…and quite honestly, sometimes I’d play them and just laugh out loud. Not because they were bad songs…no…not at all in fact…it was because they were built in such a complex or completely different way than most typical songs were…almost like an audible puzzle I had to solve in order to find the place where I’d belong in it. Some of the melodies and music he’d send would sound so far removed from what I thought would even be possible to create a tangible song or vocal-melody around…and something about that challenge inspired me so damn much it’s hard to explain it in words. In some ways, I don’t think I need to. Chances are, the one person out there that might relate to all this the most is reading this right now and thinking to himself, “yep, I get that, 100%.” I have the feeling Damien Q knows exactly what I’m on about here.
I’d be willing to bet he opened up the file from the music created by Granular Injections and just started to smile at the opportunity to find his way into a track like this, because there’s no doubt that it would be a challenge. For real…sit back, listen to “Aftermath,” and try to imagine tackling this tune from a blank instrumental canvas…it’s no small task; it requires innovation & imagination to be able to discover a vocal-melody in an adventurous atmosphere like you’ll find Granular Injections has created here. All that being said…the rewards…OH THE REWARDS of taking on such a challenge! They’re artistic, there’s genuine excitement and fun to be had, skills could sharpen up – new musical ground could be BROKEN just in the commitment to pursue such exploratory ends if you’re willing to go the distance – think of it!
But make no mistake…where there is courage & creativity within art, there is always risk when it comes to understanding it all. Take me as the litmus test; I told ya right from the get-go that I’m just catching on NOW…and I’m still only remotely sure that any of what I’ve written here today goes beyond theory. Sometimes those chances taken are bound to strike pure sonic gold and a uniqueness that everyone can instantly comprehend…other times it’s going to lead collaborations like Damien Q & Granular Injections into territory that’s likely light-years beyond what we’re ready for…and they’ll have to be ready for those reactions of course. When it comes to “Aftermath,” I think they’re on pretty solid ground in terms of what the reception will be like, and I’d wager it’ll be fairly positive for them. At the core of “Aftermath” is a slow-burning, melodic, downbeat Electro/Pop type-tune…and not only does it sound great in this incarnation here on this single, but it’s also a style that’s really connecting with the people out there right now. What makes it more complicated to judge is whether or not “Aftermath” does quite enough throughout its entire length to keep people coming back to it…and I’m not as confident in declaring that part a victory for this collaboration just yet. Time will tell on that. My gut tells me that, although it’s actually quite an impressive song and ultimately quite an achievement for it even to exist given the degree of difficulty it would take in bringing a song like this to life, is that it’s still hard to label this cut as what the people out there would typically expect to find in a ‘single’ – know what I mean? Engaging yes, compelling sure, mesmerizing in its own way even…”Aftermath” is the kind of song that you could envision adding strength to any lineup of an album…but out here on its own, it’s harder to say what the impact might be without the context of a set-list of tunes surrounding it. Performance-wise, I’ve got no complaints…the best way I can put it, is that I feel like everyone involved here has done everything they can…and that sometimes the results of that, are as simple as another quality song. It might not set the world on fire, but in terms of a project’s evolution, it can be an invaluable step forward with an impact we’d never even know about from the other side of the speakers while we’re listening. Damien gives a great performance and really does find a spot where he fits into this subtle-electro cut, Granular Injections holds the fort down solid with a highly interesting design for the music, the poetic nature of the lyricism is another massive strength, and the ideas in the backing vocals with effects that pop-up later on down the line were a really smart move to give us a little something extra towards the end. All-in-all, “Aftermath” is art and not pretending to be anything else – and I dig that very much. Whether a song is a ‘hit’ or a ‘single’ should never be the defining factor that determines the validity of its existence…songs like “Aftermath” are a moment of time unto themselves and should be appreciated as such. There’s real creativity & authenticity being generated in this collaboration – I’m definitely still looking forward to more – I’m not gonna pretend that I completely know where this all leads Damien Q & Granular Injections just yet, but I do like where it seems to be going, very much.
Find more music from Damien Q at Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7g9Vaj4bdBRc5YrYuWKfV6
Find more music from Granular Injections here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3YA0Chnxki0WrJk4xENj5C
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