Dax Pierson // Nerve Bumps
(A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction)
(Dark Entries)

Dax Pierson is a West Coast synth-jammer with a storied past that reaches back to collaborations with bands like 13 & God and Subtle in the glory days of Anticon. If you’re not familiar, Anticon was a rag tag collective of art school hip hop heads like Dose One, Sole, Sage Francis, Jel, Odd Nosdam and Why? who intermingled in a myriad spread of projects in the 00s. While scattered works of Pierson’s have appeared here and there, Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) comes on like his debut album proper.

His earlier associations may not exactly point to the sound on his album, but there’s a fierceness of identity and a desire to be different that shines through and calls to mind his former bandmates.  Pierson’s experiences as a quadriplegic are embedded thematically in the album, in titles, artwork and so forth. Musically, it charges forth with a dazzling technicolour urgency, reaching bombastic heights as huge, gleaming daubs of oscillation cavort with each other in off-beat time signatures.

There’s enough acidic licks and crunching beats to make this feel like electronica, but there’s something more elegant and composed at work here. Without slipping into Hopkinsian levels of cinema-tech, Pierson’s vision spans a vast landscape and tugs at emotional cores. It’s quite simply a revelation – a powerful statement of identity imbued with restless movement and an engrossing sense of narrative expressed through some of the most beautifully sculpted synths you’ll hear all year.

This review was originally published as part of Juno Daily’s Albums of the Week round-up.