By Moon Unit Zappa
With head in the clouds and feet firmly rooted in quicksand, Funkiller’s album Tropical Depression is an existential freefall into the raw id of musical and human liminality.
One part surf numen, one part stargazing thrash with a droning hypnotic interplay of rhythmic interruptions, discord and harmony, David Gordon examines the architecture of his life, taking it down to its bolts and studs and upcycling it all into a ghostly, antagonistic neo soul album with his one-person band Funkiller. Florida transplant by way of Athens and New York, this self-described Jewish caretaker and late-bloomer leans in to his inclination toward poeticized, dancey dirges that explore the recognition and ownership of one’s fatal flaws, the power and strength of family as foundation, homage to ancestors, and ultimately themes of reckoning and redemption. “There’s seeing and there’s taking something in. There’s listening and there’s deep hearing with heart from the heart by the heart and for the heart.” Allergic to self promotion, this recluse relies on his work to buoy himself while simultaneously dropping into the murkier depths and darker colors of unspecific loss, restlessness, the failure to notice what matters before one fades into obscurity. He doesn’t want to sound like anyone else, and he doesn’t. The songs cumulatively are a sonic metaphor for the time spent in isolation traversing what Joseph Campbell described as “the dark night of the soul.” Funkiller’s songs are percussive, cerebral, and textural and lyrically unearth hopeful fragments of existence, conjuring kissing by jukebox light or Clint Eastwood on peyote. Musically Funkiller actively pursues dichotomy and contrast, and, like a black and white photo, reveals something akin to a darkroom negative – blurred edges, smalltime resilience, the promises you make to yourself that no one can ever know, and trying to outrun and outlive self-sabotage. Does landscape play a part in the aptly named (and double entendre) album? “It’s not where you are it’s who you are…but maybe a little. I want to be genuine.” And he is. Funkiller’s strength is its earnestness in Tropical Depression. Like a tempest that decimates all in its wake then delivers the light of a new dawn, so, too, does Funkiller.
– Moon Unit Zappa
This album was made at Montrose Recording in Richmond, VA and mastered by Josh Bonati in Brooklyn, NY. The players are David Gordon, Dave LeBleu (The Album Leaf, The Mercury Program), Rain Phoenix (Venus & The Moon, Aleka’s Attic), Brent Delventhal (Warren Hixson), Taylor Mott, and Davis Hart (Pulp Arts). Design by Tom Reno. Art by Amy Grantham.
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