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A stroll down Fathom Lane

The local indie rockers’ philosophy revolves around being relatable
March 14, 2013

What: Live Letters, feat. Fathom Lane

When: 7 p.m., Thursday

Where: Live Letters Loft, address revealed with purchase of tickets at brownpapertickets.com

Cost: $10

 

Michael Ferrier’s last band, Electropolis, didn’t make the most relatable music. While being inarguably original in its experimental musical stylings drawing heavily from jazz and punk, Ferrier was told that people “just didn’t get” the band. The same traits that made the band original also made it inaccessible.

Fathom Lane, his new seven-piece band, is almost as far from that group as musically possible. Ferrier traded in the electronic woodwinds of Electropolis for guitars, and the dissonant musical influences for more easily meshed genres of indie rock, folk and country.

“I was yearning for a project that I didn’t have to explain to people,” Ferrier said. “You listen to the music, and that’s all there is.”

The album, “Down by Half,” is inspired by Ferrier’s recent divorce, but the lyrics are vague enough that it could also be about your last break-up. The CD offers a skeleton of a concept album and asks the listener to flesh it out with their own experiences, creating a dialogue between listener and musician.

“We all have a lot more experience in relationships that don’t work out than those that do,” Ferrier said. “There’s something in all of these songs that people can relate to.”

To hammer home that desire to reach a more basic human feel, Fathom Lane distanced themselves from technology during the process of recording the album. Instead of working with new-fangled computer programs and the ilk, they recorded to tape, using a process more common to the ’60s than today.

“We’re not fetishist about being vintage,” Ferrier said. “But the sound of old wood to me is better than the sound of new plastic.”

The album makes this contrast clear by offering a cover of Polica’s “Wandering Star” as the final track. While the original version is an ambient, auto-tuned synth ballad, Fathom Lane finds a simple folk song at the heart of it.

“It’s interesting to give voice to someone else’s words and give them your own perspective,” he said. “I learn so much when I get into the DNA of someone else’s song.”

To go with the bare-bones production, Ferrier tried to make not a CD but an LP. The music is meant to be listened to on a record player, preferably alone and after everyone else has gone to bed. He laid out the release to be best experienced with the intermission offered by the flip from side A to side B, furthering the feel of a dialogue between the musicians and the listener.

“I wanted to get back to music as a shared experience with the audience,” Ferrier said.

 

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