The recording project of Chicago’s John Daniel, Forest Management makes a perceptive form of experimental music, relying on subtle intricacies to mark out shapes and textures within the sound. The result is creations that contradict the gentle modesty of their style, transportive tracks capable not only of thematic but narrative development.
Released via Whited Sepulchre, Passageways sees Daniel work in his most personal manner yet. Inspired by the secluded apartment complex his parents managed in Cleveland, the album is one of stillness and hidden spaces, the quietness just a front behind which life both familiar and strange unfolds. Therefore, while built from solitudinous echoes, the record is permeated by an ever-present fondness that is anything but alone. “This is my folk record in a way,” Daniel explains. “It is not musically obvious, but more in terms of how I approached the writing: A sense of sentimentality about home, about a place and time.”
Passageways could be said to refer to the corridors of the apartment complex, its songs a slow walk along their labyrinthine course. The silence there is tangible, a sound unto itself, yet each closed door represents not restriction but possibility. The sound maps such an idea through suggestion, an indirect recreation of Daniel’s own experiences. The album is one of hindsight, something of a retracing, Daniel charting his current position right back to a childhood spent imagining life behind closed doors. His role as an artist is not to show us the potentialities that exist, but rather remind us that they do. For we all have our own hallways to wander, our own homes to return to.
Passageways is out on now via Whited Sepulchre and you can get it from Bandcamp.
Photo by Jared Britton