Brooklyn-based musician Dave Fischoff has recorded under his own name for Secretly Canadian records, having released three albums (1998s Winston Park, 2001’s The Ox and the Rainbow, and 2006’s The Crawl) with the venerable Bloomington, Indiana, based label. Armed usually with a guitar and a mic, Fischoff’s hunkered down these days behind a laptop and pedal board (probably, anyway) and using the moniker Jettison Tape instead of his God-given name, because it sounds way cooler than “Dave Fischoff,” or, er, “Dave Wold Peace.” Or “Dave Ocho Cinco.” Perhaps a legal name change is in order? “Hi, my name’s Jettison. Jettison Tape. Pleased to meet you. Of course I’ll help you recover your family’s missing priceless heirlooms.”
Radical Dave Fischoff fanfic forthcoming.
Where was I? Well, look, if you’re gonna come into this Second Sleep thing, Fischoff’s first release under the moniker, the first thing you should know is that it’s instrumental, no vocals to muck it up. Second, this is the kind of all-over-the-map songwriter stuff that gets used as incidental music in films, and though it’s not true noir fodder like my Detective Tape would have you believe, it’s certainly perfect for noir-within-a-film kind of kookiness, à la Wes Anderson or Spike Jonze, that kind of ultra-stylized meta representation of what noir, or anything, would be. To simplify, it’s music that also demands visuals. It’s emotionally resonant but not emo, it’s nostalgic but not cloying, and it conveys meaning without words. It would fit comfortably on a playlist in someone like John Vanderslice’s iPod, or maybe Jon Brion’s.
Because of this, there’s quite a range of style on Second Sleep, and much of it passes quickly. The album begins with a sad-sack waltz, “Welcome to Fort Tundra,” setting the mood as potentially somber for the duration, but piano and string runs inject the minute-long track with some whimsy, offering the imagination outlets other than the suggested dimness. “Blowout Beach” recalls Nomadic Firs’ beat-oriented bedroom pop, and “The Walls” suggests indie pop at its finest, injected with just the right amount of twee spirit to appeal to the child in all of us. So it seems, then, that Second Sleep is primed to serve as the soundtrack to a dreamlike state, or a waking dream, wherein the collective sifting through shoeboxes of childhood memories under beds by everyone in the world is elevated to a meditative practice, the distilled nostalgia a sweet “om” served up as pop music. So if I’ve somehow mishandled the philosophy behind Jettison Tape and Second Sleep, screw it, I like my version better.
Gah, I’m just going to call it. Directors (meaning you, Anderson and Jonze): You’ve got an entire album from which to choose for films here. I hear “Somersault” and “Ghostboxes” all over your shit, Spike. The contemplative “Calling the Dust Back Home,” too. And hey, Sofia Coppola, why don’t you try out “Paraffin,” or the majestic string arrangement of “Burden of Bloom,” the latter of which is just asking for dawn over a cityscape. And maybe the best of the bunch is closer “There Are Always Gaps,” an overdriven-guitar indie rock/krautrock hybrid, a fuzzbomb at the end of the album. “Use me anywhere,” I hear the tune proclaiming.
Obviously I’ve got some pretty good ideas for how Second Sleep should be used within popular culture, and I should be listened to for goodness’ sake. It’s too bad I’m rubbish behind a camera (or with any visual medium for that matter), because I’ve got an ear for what goes with what. If I do say so my damn self. And I know what Jettison Tape goes with – Dave Fischoff is clearly begging for a movie deal. Let’s make it happen, shall we?
[Ed. note: Turns out I’m right on the money – Fischoff’s already doing film score work, for all kinds of stuff including television, commercials, documentaries, and short films.]
RIYL: Nomadic Firs, Jon Brion, Power Animal, Youth Lagoon, early Black Moth Super Rainbow