Dave Graw: Abandon Hope LP (Syncro System, 2021)

December 4, 2021 at 11:10 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dave Graw: Abandon Hope LP

Dave Graw has been active within the Detroit music scene for decades, having fronted several punk, hardcore, and emo bands since the ’90s. He also played on some of The Armed’s early releases. His recent solo music is far away from all of that, embracing synths, softer textures, and more meditative perspectives. Having previously released a double CD on his own Aninterval imprint, a digital single on breakcore label Low Res, and a limited LP on Syncro System, he returns to that label with this tightly focused record of expansive instrumentals. Mostly recorded by himself in his plant-filled home studio, along with bass guitar from Seattle-based Josh Machniak, the album reminds me of labelmate Hydropark, but with a far more smoothed-out take on Krautrock-inspired songcraft than that group. Some songs here have hypnotic rhythms, but there’s also more intimate, weightless pieces like “A Sea of Interfering Signals”, which features thumb pianos, melodic chimes, and rushing sea water. Even the more driving songs, like “To The Health of the Wolf”, lift off the ground and drift easily rather than race furiously. The glowing “I May Have Been Swallowed, But I Refuse to Be Eaten” begins the second side, with an insistent synth line wriggling its way through space, and then “High Neighbors” is a crystalline reflection which gradually gains a swirling sequence and an uplifting rhythm. “With Friends” mingles lightly buzzing guitars and synths with thumb pianos which get swept into reverse at one point. “Perihelion (Apsis Warning Signs)” blends the ethereal with the physical, as a steady, shaker-driven rhythm surfaces front and center while cloudy synths flicker and billow, with one particular note sequence lingering like a memory that’s been halg-forgotten but won’t totally fade away.

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