2015 has seen a crazy amount of high quality, sustainable releases from so many high profile artists. With release dates being more or less regulated to Fridays, there appears to be a higher awareness of the influx of music we received, and thus, consumed over the course of the year. So many artists and individuals have come to light, released breakthrough albums, or even released a magnum opus.
We are approaching a sort of modern belle époque of music, in which the art of this generation seems to be innovating at alarmingly successful rates. Along with this era of high creativity and cultivated culture come the figures that make such a time period gain legacy, and that is no different that what I am attempting to explain now. There’s something stirring quietly in the music world, something and someone that has been hiding in shadows for quite a while now, conveniently thrust into the spotlight at exactly the right time.
One of the figures finding himself leading this exciting era under the newly furnished spotlight is Perth, Australia’s Kevin Parker, front man and creative mind behind Grammy nominated and ARIA winning group, Tame Impala. Now, just from a distance, those accomplishments hold some weight already, but the manner in which this recognition was achieved is even more impressive. Tame Impala, essentially, is a one-man project. On his first two records, “Innerspeaker” and “Lonerism”, Parker wrote, recorded, and assisted in producing every aspect of each album respectively. By the time of his third effort, “Currents”, Parker added mixing and mastering to his job title as well, completely the album alone in his home studio in Perth.
What sets Parker apart from other artists currently is the presence of his ability to create self-aware music, and ultimately fully express himself sonically through what he releases. The 2015 release, “Currents”, has one of the most visceral storylines of any album since the start of the decade. Looking inward, Parker examines the duality of a person changing, and battles with the philosophy of how changes are natural, impending, and overall, something to look forward to. His commentary on such internal conflict provides a rare and unique peak inside the mind of a tattered perfectionist, who after critical acclaim still believes the album to be “unlistenable”.
Besides his work in Tame Impala, Parker is starting to gain a reputation as a producer for other musical projects that have gained a significant amount of success under his wing. In Mark Ronson’s Grammy nominated “Uptown Special”, well known for its mega-hit, “Uptown Funk”, Parker is both featured on and produces 3 of the 11 songs, including “Summer Breaking”, “Daffodils”, and “Leaving Los Feliz”. His work is echoed in the French psychedelic scene, where he both produced and recorded drum set for the up and coming group, Melody’s Echo Chamber, who’s success on their eponymous debut can be attributed to Parker’s direction. Back in Perth, he sustained success in producing Pond’s 2015 release, “Man It Feels Like Space Again”, garnering ARIA nomination, and hip-hop group Koi Child, in which he produced their lead single, “Black Panda”.
What I am excited for is not what he has already done, (though I could talk about that for a while…) but what he will do moving forward. Already, Parker has gone beyond the definition of musician, leaving an effect on everything he touches, even catapulting artists into success. Before, Parker hid behind a full band moniker, but is slowly but surely ditching the shell for a much more desirable position of ownership of his work. Now with a permanent recording studio, I can see Parker starting his own record label, with bands wanting to get their album produced by him, a la the likes of Steve Albini and Rick Reuben. Parker is not just one of the best musicians to grace the stage in 2015, but one of the best creative minds. Mark my words and take this as a warning, this guy’s doing some pretty hip stuff.
(image courtesy of Vice)