“Grief Point,” like any good conceptual work, was something I knew I’d be a sucker for upon hearing the description alone. The second of two songs on the Archer on the Beach 12” (created with the help of Tim Hecker and Loscil) finds Dan Bejar reading over ambient recordings from his own journal about making the recording itself. Tones pulse beneath found sounds of drinking, walking, flicking a lighter, and the distinct ring of an office telephone. Gentle and relaxed as his speech is, it’s a feat that nothing overpowers it. The song is highly personal, despite the way his informal reflections never stray far from the trademarks of his lyrics.
Above all, “Grief Point” is, for lack of a better word, a treat for his fans, who tend towards strong loyalty. His monologue is that of an intelligent voice filed down with humility, admitting to his own struggles with the creative process.
“Archer on the Beach” continues down the road Bay of Pigs paved with electricity, although no proverbial disco ball lowers from the ceiling halfway through to help it dance along its less cumbersome duration. It seems to confirm Bejar’s transition from wordiness to repetition. In last year’s Enemy Mine, his contributions to Swan Lake included lyrics such as “Spider, spider, spider!” and “Ahm ba da doo da da dum…” But we hear the same indicators of his writing style with his use of conversational phrases and a sort of verbal enjambment, the meanings twisting in different directions from one bar to the next.
Archer contains a sadness that sparkles just enough to keep the unsympathetic rapt.
Both bode well for January’s full-length, Kaputt.
“The problem with Destroyer is…” Bejar sings, trailing off with the tune of a heavy exhale. Twelve records in, I still don’t know how to finish that sentence.