When a person locks himself in a room for a week in order to create a grand work, one of two things may happen. One may go stir crazy (as in this classic clip from The Shining), or one may produce something of great value. Fortunately, Lawrence Lindell‘s latest experiment falls into the latter category. The 15-track, half hour A Nomad Story is billed as the artist’s autobiography, and unfolds as a sonic suite.
We greatly enjoyed Lindell’s last release, Eclectic Frequencies, and the follow-up is even better. While self-imposed isolation does not work for everyone, it certainly did for Lindell. The improvements are in the areas of consistency and flow; were it not for the (very small) spaces between tracks, one might receive this work as a mix tape. The overall impact is that of two albums playing at once, one piano-based and one electronic-based; the ivories are never far from the foreground, but neither are the beats. A glitch flavor is apparent, as no pattern is allowed to continue for very long. This lends the album a nomadic flavor consistent with its title. It’s unclear whether Lindell moved around a lot as a child, but he’s moving around now. At various points in the album, one hears hints of drum ‘n’ bass (“The Blue Walls”, “Knowledge Beyond the Stars”), dub (“Soul Food”) and video game soundtracks (“Family and Music”). In this case, the references can be considered influences rather than current leanings; all are incorporated in his aural recollections.
One thing that is not present in this autobiography: sadness. The mood remains positive throughout, implying that Lindell has either been happy his whole life or that he chooses to focus on the positive aspects. It seems that he enjoys his period of isolation as a break from the outside world: a chance to reflect, to reevaluate and to refresh. We imagine his joy as a child, being sent to his room, where all the toys await. On A Nomad Story, he’s revisited his past and recaptured this joy. (Richard Allen)