Mike Cooper – Raft

The wealth of life experience we capture in our rem sleep – where sleep thoughts are most welcome to burrow into my account about us – loses its relationship with fixity at an hourly rate. Often we are adrift like a raft… and often the unpleasant journeys once experienced become seen afresh, anew. Mike Cooper’s new “Raft” lp flips this scriptural logic, full of magical, nascent ideas. The slow reply of the work matches a slow start, a sludgy middle and an overall stoner folk finish.

But first, the sad news. In the info provided one finds out the story has a tragic dedication – the raft helped to build by Cooper caught fire and Mike’s friend’s children could not be saved. Mike dedicates this record to that family. It’s a very lovely album. The pastoral essence is bottled and releases in places like a genie granting us wishes of redemption. In life we make the bread and we do the dishes, but mortality is not internal despite the comparable wishes for health and prosperity. The exit gate of life among loved ones can become clouded by sorrow, the opposite mood happily of this record.

With a range of floral titles like “Vitali Alsar” and “Honey Hunters”, the music is prettily imbued. The opening piece latches electronic comb filter tendrils onto synths and guitar. Guitar gets brought into the picture a lot here. With genuine melodic genius on display, the sound is much like a fully fledged fun fair. The melodies are sherbet-rich, candy floss capers abound. Indeed, the gentleness of the compositions is what invites repeat hearing. Like hazy provocateurs Zelienople and Jan Linton, this musical magic is doused in the springs rather than left to spread, to mark the loss, like wild fire. A truly stirring artwork, “Raft” reminds us our locus of evaluation may become exhausted at points, but when the music is this comfortingly psychedelic, who is worried about that?

Genre wise, that comparison matrix recalls Colin Lindo with his Nubian Minds Detroit techno project…also the music of G.A.S is called to mind. Although that’s to compliment Cooper rather than discredit him. The genial philosophy of free flowing thought is a strong potion here, one the water carries with it as an ode to brighter days. “Raft” in the end succeeds not because of backstory, but because of forefront realisation. The dedication is done, the tragedy is washed away…hope re-enters that one day a natural disaster will not impeach so many good – old and new – memories.

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