I discovered John Praw through a split he did with I Am The Architect some time ago. Thought I wasn’t really crazy for his own contributions on that album, his remix of “Walk In Regret” is still one of my favorite post-rock songs to this day. I was really happy to get his email about his latest release, and I’m even happier to share it with everyone, free to download at the bottom.
Named after my favorite holiday (anyone who’s been reading will find the humor in that), Four Twenty Twenty Twelve is an interesting piece, to say the least. The opening is a prayer to Isis, read by what sounded to be an elderly woman, and it was the precursor to the eeriness that is the next track, “Nøkken”, a very minimal track accented by uptempo electronic glitch sounds. They juxtaposed each other quite effectively, utilizing the glitches to not only demonstrate how quiet the rest of the song was, but also preventing the listener from getting too spaced-out and lost in the track. Following that is “Four Twenty (2012)” , which sounds like John Praw’s tribute to Boards of Canada (think Geogaddi). Much more full and rhythmic, the sounds warp like Mr. Praw used the world’s largest wammy bar, and they play over the chirping of birds; although cool in concept, the execution made me want to hit skip so many times it hurt.
Track 4 is “My Precious Red Hair”, a cross between the previous two songs. It has the ambient sound and computerized glitching (only this time more feint) of ”Nøkken” and the ending had what sounded like creepy organ in the realm of the title track. Probably the most interesting piece, filled with a constant rumble that reminded me of rustling wind over a deserted plane in the desert, it doesn’t prepare you for what comes next. Finally, “Young One, Young” caps off the album with some really strange audio. It begins with a dog panting, throws in some high pitched squeak, and adds in a recording of a female voice singing in a language I could not decipher. Then, it plays a combination of John Praw’s classic ambiance and an instrument like a wooden xylophone. This little bit right here is my favorite moment in this album, and it comes to a conclusion when a minute and a half-long interview between what I’d assume is the artist and a writer, talking about his family and how he write his music. Rough.
Rating: There are bits of genius scattered around John Praw’s Four Twenty Twenty Twelve, but they are so clouded by the rest of the album that it’s hard to pluck them out. Mr. Praw can be so talented in his ambient work, but when things start getting experimental is when I feel I lose my desire to listen. He is so much more intelligent than I am, and so I will continue to listen and figure out the meaning of Four Twenty Twenty Twelve, but as I’m still discovering what the concept was, I can only give this a 2/5 kegs.