Anyway, let's talk about this album for a while because it's fantastic. Jon Sheffield is an electronic music producer from Columbia, Missouri. Besides that, he seems to be a stubborn experimentalist who doesn't care about genre restrictions or classifications whatsoever. However, I have to classify this for this webzine, so here we go. What we hear on 'Springboards' is a great blend of experimental electronics, ranging from ambient over old school industrial EBM to trip-hop and electroclash with a little bit of IDM, chiptunes and techno thrown into the mix. Happy now?
The album opens with 'Sally', which mainly functions as intro and shows some of the elements we'll hear on the rest of the album, namely synths and beats. 'What's A Battle' then comes up with strange samples of children's voices and a quite happy sounding melody. At this time the tempo is still pretty slow but somehow you get the feeling that's about to change soon. In a certain way, we're still warming up, this is still an intro.
'Amber' opens with acoustic guitars and modest, clean vocals. At this point I'm actually starting to wonder where Jon Sheffield is going to with this. Then the song turns into an Autechre-inspired piece of IDM, before going back to the ballad-feel, combined with strange sounds and melodies. This is a very alienating song, that's for sure. 'Avocado' isn't any less weird by the way, but it's dance-able weirdness, reminding me of some 8-bit and experimental noise album I've listened to a few years ago.
So does 'Chasing Birds' but this great track reminds me of something else as well. I guess Mr. Sheffield has been listening to acts like Cabaret Voltaire and Crash Course In Science a lot. This is the kind of old school industrial I really dig, and we're not done there. 'Retour' brings more analog beats driven insanity and 'Two Meds' digs a bit into the world of dark ambient. Since we reviewed every song so far, let's just continue in that fashion.
The most radio-friendly, and even summer-hit capacity, song is 'Cranky Graig'. Graig doesn't sound cranky at all but is an uplifting dance song with some old school happy hardcore vocals. Let's just call this 'Merchants Of Air's Summer-hit of the year', shall we? Because we're going to plunge into darkness again with the next one, which is my favorite. 'It's the End of the World' is a gloomy dark dance floor hitter in the vein of people like Tommi Stumpff or Fad Gadget.
'This Martian Cap' returns with electronic ballad atmosphere that made 'Amber' a nice song. 'Amber II' is another otherworldly dance tune and closer 'Feelningz' returns the dark electro approach, making it another one of my favorites on this album. Yes, I like dark music but I also like the other songs on this album. In fact, this album has been playing a lot in the past few days. It's currently my 'happy' album and I'm sure I'm going to play it a lot more from now on.