Things begin slowly and primitively with howling winds and baying wolves at the door, but it isn’t until the metronomic beat drops on ‘Meat in the Markt’ that the album finds its sound. ‘2007’ is more minimal than full throttle, interested in slowly evolving changes and subtle percussive manipulations that ping and echo around the popping beat. It sounds like being in a doctor’s waiting room, and something must be very wrong with you because the walls keep closing in and rushing away…
But its minimalism is also where things get tricky. With such a narrow bare-boned sound, Dear walks a finer line than most, more so for this being a one-man show. Compare ‘2007’ against ‘Something More’ the recent Minus best-of mix compilation. There, the same minimalism (and even the False track ‘Fed on Youth’) is able to crossbreed several sub-species of the genre and evolve into a new beast altogether. Yet with only one man at the helm, you almost lose the evolutionary chain. Almost.
No matter how many times you listen to ‘2007’, you just can't quite get a hold of what’s going on or where you will end up. One day you need volume to ‘get it’, the next intimacy and quiet. Another day it's all too slow and without flesh, the next it is pure sculptured genius.
Dear pulls the strings with finesse, sometimes inserting enough 4/4 vertebrae to keep the beast upright, yet sometimes content to just give the primordial ooze a stir, such as on 'Disease/George Washington'. Amidst it all, ‘Fed on Youth’ is comfortingly familiar, and like evolution itself, the album climaxes with something closer to human: an amorphous mass of voices on 'Forgetting'.
But is it a satisfying listen? This is the frustration, and perhaps the genius, of ‘2007’. It is nearly untouchable in a way, dodging every effort to be understood. It is almost not danceable, or ambient even, and yet it could only ever function as a sequenced whole, almost as if it really were a live piece.
In the end, what is certain is that Dear has done himself proud. The best albums are those you can keep coming back to, they never quite let you make up your mind, and I'm betting many will still be intrigued by this one well past 2007.