Jason Lytle's new album "Dept Of Disappearance" plays like an emotionally resonant soundtrack for a non-existent cinematic masterpiece. On it the sometimes reclusive, always intriguing musician has infused the toil of ordinary existence with a sweeping sonic beauty.
Lytle first made an impact with his band Granddaddy. After breaking up in 2006, the revered group has now returned for a series of intensely buzzed about reunion shows which will be followed by Lytle solo dates in the fall of 2012.
As a solo artist, Lytle has built a catalog of inventive and evocative works. "Dept. Of Disappearance" follows up his critically heralded 2009 release "Yours Truly, the Commuter," which American Songwriter called "one hell of a re-emergence."
With a lab full of burbling beakers, flasks and test tubes, Lytle's records may have permanently one-upped Stereolab for best employing the sound of chemical experimentation and "Dept. Of Disappearance" is no exception. "I have a lot of gear, from conventional and traditional to super-fucked and broken. And once those sounds get into the computer, it opens a whole other realm of 'tweakery,'" he says.
The obvious home for Lytle's latest feels like the silver screen. On "Last Problem Of The Alps" he labored long and hard to create, "a violent and howling blizzard on a dark and rocky mountain top in sub-zero temps. And when I close my eyes, that's exactly what I see." One of the album's high points, "Your Final Setting Sun," is soaked in the indelible ink of "film noir." Its hypnotically dangerous vibe, says Lytle, comes from "the raw and unflinching writings of Cormac McCarthy, whose sun-bleached, tough-as-nails characters have a 'this could be you' feeling. It's the one song on the album that had a film playing along in my head as I was writing it. The chorus came to me while I was driving down a deserted Montana road into a beautiful and spooky sunset."
Lytle compares the songs on his new album "Dept. Of Disappearance" to a roomful of "strange, brilliant autistic kids with very peculiar social skills. But there are a few conventional, good-looking ones who go out and shake hands and get the good jobs. Then they come home and help take care of the other weird, wonderful ones," he explains. He then concludes: "Perhaps I will figure it all out someday, but for now I'm OK with it still being one big, elusive journey."