Seattle country-rock vocalist/guitarist Brent Amaker has made an extreme detour into electronic music with Android Amaker, a newish project with local electronic and hiphop producers Vox Mod and P Smoov. They've just finished their self-titled debut album, which RodeoCorp, Ltd. will release on clear vinyl on Oct. 21. Android Amaker will play one show (and that's it, they say) to commemorate the LP's release, on Nov. 7 at Neumos.
As for Android Amaker, it's a concept album about Amaker's obsession with the singularity, as prophesied by inventor Raymond Kurzweil. In the album's story line, Amaker is downloaded into android form in order to explore outer space and search for resources. "[T]echnology is advancing exponentially every day," Amaker says in a press release. "Artificial intelligence may provide answers to these problems, or technology may lead to our ultimate demise. But any way you look at this, we are on the verge of massive change and our very way of life will never be the same. Android Amaker is gathering like-minded artists to tell a story about that. This vision of the future is just one of many possible outcomes. And why not insert my future self into the equation as an Android?"
The music for such a scenario should be totally futuristic, perhaps unprecedented in its rhythmic and textural expressions. But that would require a very rare sort of genius. Such is not the case with Android Amaker. Instead, it's something of a throwback electronic record, a sonic vision of the future that producers from the '80s and '90s often projected. (Amaker's deep, deadpan voice reminds me of Detroit radio DJ Electrifying Mojo, who inspired that city's techno innovators with his selections.) And as a somewhat kitsch simulation of that style, Android Amaker works. This is more of a fun record more than it is a serious exploration of unfathomable states of being about which we can only speculate. The live elaboration of Android Amaker will include photography, film, and fashion aspects. Fashion designer Chris Jones, technology specialist Matt Hickey, choreographer Molly Sides, light designer Josh Black, and photographer Frank Correa will augment the musical performance.