Grande Prairie native and Victoria resident Jordan Soles is a man with fingers in a variety of musical pies. As well as being involved with Derek Janzen’s First Nations/Wand/Island Eyes and being part of the Peace Country Diaspora group, Soles records under the moniker Butterbones and has released music under his own name.

Doomking is a new synth-based project about “about being trapped by ones surroundings and spending too many late nights stuck in the internet”, which I’m sure is all too relevant for many of us. The sense of being stuck, both physically and mentally, runs through the record, clear thoughts and actions enveloped by a vague inertia and confusion. The general atmosphere is summed up by a quote on the Bandcamp page:

“I was out walking on the first hot night of the year. I was heading in the general direction of my old friends’ house, who I hadn’t seen in a while. My friend moved away last year. Realizing this I start to head back home. It’s 2 am, my friend would have been sleeping anyway.”

In a way similar to the Island Eyes record, A Mark of Something No Longer In Existence paints the familiar in a grand mythic way, late-night fever-thoughts turned fractured poetry. The desperation here is underlying yet abundantly clear, as if pushed backwards by the superficial stimulation of technology and the dull passing of time, long days turned short by the contemporary narcotic routine of information consumption.

Opener ‘Fernwood Detachment’ serves as a perfect example, the odd imagery and ambiguous visions swathed in expansive synths. The narrator is cast as alone, separated from the other character (a nameless ‘you’) by time and space. “I want to see the ocean,” he sings, lonely. “Without feeling like I don’t / Have anyone around”. ‘Ruin’ is similarly solitary, playing like the soundtrack to a walk through an abandoned town.

“Oh man, I don’t know
What to make of these dreams
I thought I saw
Something come to light
As though transfixed by these projections
And the path was open wide”

‘The Infinite Eye of Mount Douglas, I See My Love’ brings to mind Concatentating Fields by Trouble Books, its simmering synths feeling simple yet strangely organic, like some prehistoric sea. Dreamier still is ‘Home of the Ray Lake Dancers’, Soles’s vocals weaving in and out of finger-clicking percussion and synths which ebb and flow like a tide:

“Reading old emails
To get through the winter
Dragging my body
Behind you, behind you
I will stay inside
This empty room
I know it well
I saw a dancer
Waiting for summer
I saw a dancer
Waiting for summer”

‘Old House’ swells gently like a sunrise, like a city at night, before the vocals enter quiet yet prominent. “This, this is the house,” Soles sings, “where I plan to die”. The words are sung without fear, as if voiced from the clutches of an ever-deepening dormancy that numbs both mind and body. The end of the track sounds like a surrendering to this sensation, and album closer ‘Mark of Something’ is a 13-minute continuation, a float through a foreign landscape gently warped and obscured, the first footsteps into the final dream.

With its mixture of impassioned sentiments and general despondency shrouded in a haze of confusion, this is a release very much of and for our times: Where technological connectivity is driving, paradoxically, isolation and detachment, where words and videos from faraway places are piped into our silent twilit bedrooms like prescribed dreams.

You can buy A Mark of Something No Longer In Existence now from the Doomking Bandcamp page, including the novel and rather lovely picture frame/digital download format.

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