[Reviewed by Damiano Lenzi]
Dat Rayon’s music is inspired, as it’s written in the project’s Bandcamp Page, by ‘the American automobile design of the 60s and 70s. This statement may seem bizarre, but any form of art can be synaesthetic in some way, most of all music, and in this case the synesthesia works just fine. The sense of automation behind Dat Rayon’s ambient music is more mechanical than digital, and in this sense he succeeds in creating the idea of vintage motors by using modern instrumentation.
The album title itself pays tribute to the city of Detroit, home of General Motors, Packard, Chrysler, Ford and other major American producers in the automotive sector. There is surely a hint of nostalgia for the classic cars of that period, for their lines, their power and the way they are entrenched in the collective imagination, but this album seems to be more focused on what happened then, on the obsolescence and abandon. After the oil crisis of 1973 the automotive industry had a strong decline and so did the city of Detroit, that in the following years fell in a state of urban blight and poverty, losing a huge part of its population and transforming wide areas of its suburbs and industrial facilities into apocalyptic wastelands.
That’s the scenery that I imagine while listening to the desolate opening track “Town & Country”, and I can see the legendary Chevrolet Belair Convertible of the eponymous song being abandoned for decades in a backyard and devoured by rust. The layers of glitches and deep pads sound like a machinery that only dimly recalls its past splendor and sparkle.
It’s interesting to take notice of the duality between the two parts of “Motorcity”, that seem to mark the rise and fall of this industry. Part 1 has a persistent kick drum and basses that incessantly go on like a factory working at full speed, while in part 2 the rhythm becomes more and more sparse, leaving ground to a sweeping sound that’s like the wind blowing over an abandoned industrial area, with all the factories shut down.
Dat Rayon – Motor City
Zoharum, ZOHAR 062-2