For every experimental and eccentric moment on Not Earth, there lies a calm and contemplative response.
Even though all your instincts scream out in fear and danger, a rhythm beckons you to take a small, first tentative step onto this vast alien land in front of you. The sights are strange. Ahead of you are peculiar but convivial landscapes that emanate a soothing ambience. Questions about how you ended up in this unfamiliar cosmos are unnecessary; you know that it’s not Earth. Literally. Not Earth is the latest album from Madoc, ON songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Como, the mind behind Sing Leaf. If his 2018 album Shu Ra was a blueprint on how to prepare to leave Earth, Not Earth is the journey itself.
Mastered by Sandro Perri, Not Earth shares similarities in its supple rhythms with his 2019 album, Soft Landing. For every experimental and eccentric moment, there lies a calm and contemplative response. With so many subtle intricacies layered through the album’s eight tracks it’s okay if you miss something on the first or second listen; each stroll through Not Earth will reveal something new and surprising.
For Como, it’s all about the spark. All about spontaneity. He allows the visions and inspiration he receives to naturally guide him, rather than excessively meddle with progressions. He claims the concise folk-psych “Forever Green” came to him abruptly while sitting in the backseat on a road trip with his wife. Rely on your gut. Wander wherever you like; take in everything you can, much like Como did while crafting this record.
The opening track, “Easy on You” is like a richer, more savoury Mac DeMarco ditty, which gives way to the acoustic ambience of “Little Magic”. Como ensures this adventure doesn’t stray too far from Earth at the start, though he encourages your mind to wander freely as he sings “the night that we met, had a dream about you, played like a movie running over my eyes”. This melts into “Honeyeater” and “Magnetic”: the former an instrumental that blossoms from an array of synth oddities and peculiar percussive sequences; the latter opens up its arms in acceptance, encouraging you to let go and just sway to the captivating groove.
“Out of the Dream” is the perfect title for the closing track’s gentle return to earth. In that way, Not Earth comes full circle, safely sending you back to the place from where your journey started with an open invitation to escape and return to its elegant foreign pastures whenever you need.