Music has the power to center us. To set us in place with both feet on the ground. When Canadian sound artist Michael Scott Dawson (of Library Voices) experienced a severe bout of vertigo in 2017, he had to momentarily abandon his various musical projects before ultimately learning to appreciate everyday objects and rediscovering the healing power of close listening. His new album Nowhere, Middle of reflects this therapy - a minimalist piece of art in the ambient vein, complete with warm hues and soft textures.
While Nowhere, Middle of zooms in on small sounds (insects, bicycle noise, scratches on organic material), compelling the listener to lean in, there is also a great vastness to the album. Dawson wanted to capture the open spaces of the Saskatchewan prairie, too. Images of empty fields, unbroken horizons, and lonely structures carry through the album, as Dawson uses tape, synth, piano, guitar, found sound, and so much more to interweave everyday items with the romantic and grand. Lead single, All The Things This Isn't captures this interplay perfectly, but really, Dawson manages this blend on each track of the album. None of the nine compositions rise too high or dip too low, instead maintaining consistency from the opening minutes to close. If it was Dawson's intention to settle the listener with Nowhere, Middle of, creating a momentary peace, he has succeeded. Mastered by Taylor Deupree and released through Toronto's We Are Busy Bodies, close your eyes and breathe deeply while appreciating it this Friday. Hear a preview track below.