Album Review: “The New Adirondack Power and Light” by Jason Martin

TROY — The New Adirondack Power and Light, the latest release by Jason Martin, is truly one of the most unique things I’ve heard to date. Highly steeped in experimental, lo-fi, folk, and avant garde genres, the album is quite quirky, to say the least! Its opener, “Under the Water,” is a fairly straightforward folk song, with a severely overdriven bass. The song features nice harmonies, but wild production choices. While the second song, “Over Comer,” is roughly more of the same style of music, it is at this point in the album where things take a sharp turn into the stratosphere.

“Wolf Hound” (track three), is the first track to feature an electric guitar, and there is an interesting change when the music enters a half-time feel around the middle of the song. As the album develops, it almost seems like an underlying synthesizer keeps getting louder and louder. The first example of this growing synth sound is prevalent in track four, “Air Force.”

Original cover photo by Peter Barvoets
Cover Art by Rich Pell

“Geo Logic” (track five), seems like a return to more conventional songwriting. The pounding drum beat throughout proves to be a simple, but effective use of the instrument. Jason’s ambient vocals in the background were a nice addition to this track. This return to conventionality is short lived, as the following track, “Henry Hudson,” has a severely loud and distorted synth. At times it makes the acoustic being strummed in the background, as well as the vocals hard to pick out.

There are parts of this album that I did really enjoy, such as the mid-section of “Mariah Moriah” (track seven). In this listener’s opinion, while the closing track, “River Lake,” has a strong foundation or “bones,” the droning note that remains prevalent throughout as well as the building distorted synth sounds detract from the overall song. One thing that is very admirable about this record is that Jason wrote, performed, and recorded all of the instruments by himself on a 4-track cassette recorder.

The album, as advertised, is a collection of demos that were recorded in 2009, and finally released. It would be great to hear all of these songs in a fully fleshed-out manner in order to truly be able to listen to what Jason Martin created. You can check out the songs in their current form by following the link below.

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