To speak of the works spearheaded by John Dwyer without commenting on the tidal wave they exist on would be to leave out an important piece of context. In the past year alone, he has released an Oh Sees album, a Damaged Bug full-length, and a 12" release under the OSees banner. His jazz-fusion/krautrock-adjacent project Bent Arcana hasn't even released its full-length debut and an OSees long-player has already been announced. Along with a baseball team's worth of musicians -- including veteran musical visionary Kyp Malone, best known for his work in TV on the Radio -- Dwyer helps take Bent Arcana to reaches outside the realm of our existence; more spirtual than astral, jazzier than the prog-influenced direction he has taken for the past several years.
Each of the group's many players, through virtue of their talent, explore these long instrumental passages with the verve of soul seekers walking along busy city streets like wanderers in a desert seeking the clarity of the world's meaning with the help of a peyote and ayahuasca cocktail. Like suited-up ensemble players dwelling life's big questions every night in a hole-in-the-wall jazz club reeking of the foulest of dank smells, clouds of smoke filling its tight space.
The doomsday oracle represented in "Oblivion Sigil" sounds much like a soundtrack for urban decay, an eleven-minute journey through ruins of concrete and glass. Built around the foundation of the rhythm section of Ryan Sawyer (whose drumming on Bent Arcana is absolutely fantastic), Peter Kerlin (bass), and Andres Renteria (percussion), the players feel their way through the landscape, making space for each other as random honks of saxophone, eroding and twinkling synthesizers, and multifarious guitar lines guide the jam session through its vast expanse. The beauty lies in the unexpected turns, enhanced by the group's formidable talent as a collective.
John Dwyer had the following to say about "Oblivion Sigil." The track is available for listening below his words.
the song was not written it was lived in the moment
we improvised for 5 days and this was one of the highlights
|oblivion sigil seemed an appropriate title as i am a glass half full kind of person and i had the pen in hand
and i am living in this world
Bent Arcana will be released on August 21, 2020 via Castle Face Records.
KEXP interviews John Dwyer about championing other artists, the duality of running a label and running a band, and burnout while debating the age-old question: how many drummers is too many drummers?