"If they ever remake Blade Runner, Don Meers is the man for the soundtrack" [TimesOut]


DON MEERS
SPLINT

 

DON MEERS - 'SPLINT'

donmeers
[click above to download CD cover + promo shots]

REVIEWS FOR DON MEERS' SPLINT:

"Don Meers, having done work producing tevevision and film soundtracks,
has meticulously studied his blueprint, slid his faders and sequenced his heart out on his clean-cut fourth release. Lead single Dum brings to mind the bass-heavy prowl of Air's Sexy Boy - he'll win some fans there. Vocoder test Ready To Download aims to be futuristic but falls short - regardless, it provides a doomy thrill before the hi-octane pursuit that is the appropriately titled Spy Theme. Don Meers drops slick, majestic grooves and lays down polished electronic tunes to enchance those hot and heavy moods that reasonable adults have amongst themselves after a few glasses of the good stuff. There's even a remix of Inga Liljestrom, and All India Radio pop in for a welcome visit. Splint does have tracks which reek of faux European detachment, and moments synthesising all the traits of chill-out/comedown mixtape staples, but every instant is flawlessly executed."
[Adrian Trajstman, Mess + Noise Magazine]


"Dark beats, spacejunk samples,
realised dreams and imagined honesty are the diverse and beautiful backbones of the 4th release from the Australian producer. Meers, working commercially in cinema and television has crafted an album that feels like the soundtrack of a yet-to-be-made cult film. Tracks like 'Pocket Full Of Pills' and 'Somebody' stand out as great examples of Meers' writing and production skills."
[Hamish Ta-mé - Crema Magazine]

"Don Meers has declined the
opportunity to be put in a neat little box. If you want to call him a maker of Bowie/Eno-styled moody music, as with the tracks such as 'Dum', 'Eyes Ahead Don't Turn Around' and 'Electronique Mascara', he will introduce a few more glitches and robotise his voice to make something more disembodied, such as 'Ready To Download'. If you think the pulsing brass-meets-squelchy synths of 'Spy Theme' suggests a local version of a David Holmes soundtrack, then 'Neverland's blips, beeps and indistinct voices-off or 'Pocket Full Of Pill's heavily treated vocals and stalking atmosphere puts you in another film completely. There is more where that came from, too. 'The Road To Rehab's bare folktronica juts against 'Cinematic's bubbling retro-futurism and 'Film Noir' (The Don Meers' Remix) by Inga Liljestrom offers hints of Bjork. 'Somebody' suggests Meers could do Jeff Buckley heartbreak if he wanted. However you find him though, Meers pleases."
[Bernard Zuel, Spectrum-Sydney Morning Herald]

"Splint is a quantum leap for Don Meers,
the electronica wundakid with a cinematographer's mind. If previous album Train Noise was arresting and original, Splint confidently goes further, higher and wider to create a singularly satisfying sonic experience. The most obvious difference is the presence of vocals on several tracks, by Meers himself (who reveals such a likeable vocal ability it's a wonder he's not sung before), the unique Inga Liljestrom, and collaborator All India Radio's Chloe Hall. Given that Splint also contains some delicious pop-savvy melodies (first single Dum and Ready To Download being the best of several), in a fairer world chart action wouldn't surprise. But more than a collection of songs, Splint, like all Don Meers releases, is a textured work that engages emotionally as well as musically. Add some darker moments like Crash, Neverland and Film Noir (Meers' remix of Liljestrom's song) and the sum of the parts is far larger than, say, the single Dum alone would suggest. Although Meers revisits the futurism of that single throughout the album, he scrapes and embellishes to create a segued aural sculpture that's both smooth and scarred. If that sounds way too serious, don't worry, you can dance (sort of) to this album as well. In fact Splint commands an extensive musical vocab, from Dum's Bowie-esque dance-pop to big screen climaxes (Spy Theme) and private moments (Somebody, The Road To Rehab). But it's Meers' relationship with the future that particularly intrigues. He likes it enough to celebrate it with a song like Electronique Mascara, but at the same time the minor-key vibe of Ready To Download and the transcendentally beautiful sadness of Eyes Ahead, Don't Turn Around, mark his work as a lament for some indefinable loss. Typified by the noir-ish Pocketful Of Pills, Splint soundtracks the lonely frontier of the utopian dream, where a dystopian future reality is already flooding in. Meers is one of Australia's most interesting composers and performers, and has been since his 1999 debut, the 4.30am ep. Splint puts him out there with the world's best."
[Perry Kilmer, Drum Media]

4 STARS "Sydney's Don Meers invited us
on a lush journey of dense cinematic beats on his previous album Train Noise. This time Meers ventures into a vast city of sound that swiftly moves from the smooth futuristic electro of Ready To Download to the heavy hangover beats and distorted vocals played on Pocket Full Of Pills. Halfway through the album, the mood lifts with early morning melodies, the exhilarating journey concluding with the acoustic guitar of the simple, reflective piece Somebody."
[Chloe Sasson, The Metro SMH]

"If you're familiar with the lush electronic soundscapes
of Train Noise, Don Meers' debut album, Splint will surprise you at first. The first shock is that Meers sings, with a fine voice that falls somewhere between David Bridie and David Sylvian. Then there is the single, Dum, which unashamedly mines the synth-heavy, metronomic pop of the early eighties. Once you get over the shock it's a rather good song. The vocoder-driven Ready to Download keeps the surprises coming. As the album unfolds it becomes clear that Meers is never going to be easy to pigeonhole. Splint is an intoxicating, freewheeling musical roller coaster ride through a retro sci-fi head movie. It's a feast for the ears that includes funky digital jazz, Blade Runner blues, synth-pop, and 21st Century torch songs sung by haunted chanteuses. Meers' underlying melodic sensibility pulls together an astonishing array of electronic and organic elements to make compelling music. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but then you just may want something more interesting than tea."
[David Curry, The Canberra Times]

"...Splint represents a significant stylistic
step forward for Meers as well as his most diverse collection of tracks yet, with Meers' own vocals entering prominently into the mix for the first time and adding a new lyrical/pop dimension to his lush, highly-detailed instrumental soundscapes... upon repeated listening they soon fuse smoothly into the darkly-hued cinematic downbeat ambience being conjured up here... Meers' hallmark cinematic attention-to-detail is firmly in place, with the vocal elements serving to amplify the world-weary and melancholy atmospherics, rather than dominate them... Storming highlight track 'Cinematic' represents the second chapter of the ongoing story... with Meers' jazz-bop tinged vocal detailing the story of a conman who wins the lottery heading into the sunset in a 1965 Valiant with a "pocketful of pills", as drum and bass rhythms power their way beneath, epic Sun Ra Arkestra-esque horns suddenly bursting into epic life around smoky spy-jazz double bass runs... The achingly poignant All India Radio collaboration 'Eyes Ahead, Don't Turn Around' ...provides one of this albumÕs absolute standout highlight moments, Chloe Hall's disembodied-sounding vocal floating over a beatless backdrop of brooding synths and delicate ambient washes, evoking an atmosphere that's sinister and beautiful in equal measures. ... 'Splint' is an excellent third album from Don Meers that shows the Sydney-based producer adeptly incorporating the use of vocals into his established highly cinematic blend of electronic and instrumental elements, bringing a heretofore unseen skewed pop presence to the fore and adding to the rich atmosphere generated on many tracks here. Throughout the fourteen tracks gathered here, an extremely diverse range of stylistic reference points are touched upon, ranging from dark spy-jazz loaded drum and bass, through to brooding New Romantic pop and ambient guitar explorations, and perhaps one of Meers' most significant accomplishments here is the care with which the tracklisting has been sequenced, yielding a listening experience that flows coherently, without semblance of anything approaching a duff moment from start to finish. Definitely worth the wait for this one..." [evilchris2, InTheMix - read full review]

"...Dum layers a rich, almost crooned male vocal that
sits somewhere between David(s) Gahan and Sylvian... An excellent first taster for 'Splint' that certainly ups the anticipation levels"
[InTheMix on 1st single 'Dum']

"...An electronic smorgasboard of different beats and vocals. A slight pop feel pervades throughout, but this is creative stuff, for me epitomised right bang at the start... Don's miserably great vocal filters through the vocoder before a stomping bass comes on like New Order's house party was being gate crashed by Air's first album. This track is super strong; it's been in my head for days, and wouldn't be out of place on Video Hits (that is most definitely a compliment). The '80s vibe remains stark throughout, whether on the poppy tracks, the opiate downbeat ones or the frantic scramble of others.... In all, Don achieves a good mix of styles... from fatastic moments where the hairs almost stand up on your neck... I'll most probably be chucking this on again in the future. Which you sure can't say about everything."
[Bill Code, 3D World]

OTHER REVIEWS FOR DON MEERS

"..A wicked world of wild jazz samples ...ambience,
and sensually pulsating rhythms... beautifully atmospheric..." [Review of 4.30AM]
[Capital Q Magazine]

"Soaring. Sad. Superb. ...Road-trip cinemascope " [Review of Train Noise]
[BarTender Magazine]

4 Stars Pick Of The Week
"One of the most impressive releases of the year...
saturated in a syrup of jazzy influenced melodies, soothing beats
and swathed in a deep cinematic clothÉ" [Review of Train Noise]
[3D World Magazine]

4 Stars: Sydney Morning Herald
[Train Noise]

"A lush, ambient tapestry ...so evocative you can almost step into it..."
[The Canberra Times on Train Noise]

"...This first single to be lifted from Meers' imminently
released fourth album Splint... offers a taste of the considerably different trajectory he's apparently pursued making this latest record, with title track Dum venturing into brooding synth pop territory and New Romantic-tinged vocals, while B-side Crash presents a slice of sinister cinematic ambience that's more in keeping with the sorts of territory explored on Meer's previous two albums. With dark buzzing synths that call to mind mid-period Depeche Mode and slow metronomically punching drum machine beats, Dum layers a rich, almost crooned male vocal that sits somewhere between David(s) Gahan and Sylvian through shimmering layers of burbling electronics and dark ambient drones, the entire effect calling to mind the moody theatrics of John Foxx-era Ultravox, while the stretched out phrasing during the chorus vocal adds an intangible touch of American influence that I couldn't quite put my finger on. By comparison, Crash ventures down into dark instrumental atmospherics, with skittering digitally-edited live snares tracing a path through eerie droning ambience, stretched-out reversed guitar textures and twinkling percussion, calling to mind some slo-motion meeting point between Amon Tobin's dark filmic lushness and the post-rock experimentation of the Thrill Jockey label. An excellent first taster for Splint that certainly ups the anticipation levels for Meers' upcoming fourth album; while Dum certainly signals a considerable change in direction compared to his previous two records, in this case both production and approach are carried out with aplomb."
[EvilChris, InTheMix]

THE PRESS RELEASE:
D O N M E E R S : SPLINT
the score to an imagined future, is now ready for download

For Don Meers' 4th release on Groovescooter Records,
the Australian producer builds a sonic bridge between the frenetic beats and electro-jazz of his debut ep 4.30am, and the lush cinematics of his much lauded longplayer Train Noise. Also included are collaborations with Martin Kennedy's All India Radio and remixes. The result is not only Don Meers' most personal audio journal to date, but his most diverse. The 14 tunes also include a freshly mined vocal direction. Although fronting bands as a vocalist in the past, for his solo career, Meers has almost exclusively crafted instrumentals. Coupled with his work in TV and film, the result has meant the name Don Meers has become synonymous with the new vanguard of soundtrackers. In fact one review for his Train Noise CD aptly said: "If they ever remake bladerunner, Don Meers is the man for the soundtrack". This new album Splint will therefore surprise some of his dedicated fans, but it won't disappoint. With a certain urgency, the album's first single Dum, comes early on and showcases an almost aching vocal approach, kick starting a string of tracks with dark, pop-like appeal. These include the 'apopalyptic' Ready To Download and the former vinyl-only Electronique Mascara [used recently for Iceland Fashion Week and released in an older version through BMG in Europe this year].

Split into two disctinct 'sides' and clocking in
like one of those precious vinyl LPs you've hauled from grouphouse to grouphouse, Splint tails Don's earlier outings like a spy, craftily moving through numerous moods, whilst always staying one step ahead of the listener. As always, those carefully controlled atmospherics are bound together by strong melodic threads which fuse his distinctly European leanings with cold-war themes, '40s jazz, back-alley electro-blues, warm acoustics, razor-sharp electronics and a legion of samples. along with his strong D.I.Y aesthetic, the dusty samples and home-studio particles accumulate on the LP to add a telemetric history from decades of musical innovation. From his deep space ambiences, the guitarscape synthesis of his instrumentals or the roadmovie tale of Pocket Full Of Pills, through to the sample heavy bop-beats/electro-jazz of Rum Boogie and the naked sadness of closer, Somebody, Don Meers again takes the listener on an imaginative journey.

SELECTED ALBUM NOTES BY DON MEERS HIMSELF:

When: "I seem to carry an affinity with the Cole Porter/big band sound; melodies that sound old and sad, for me, are the greatest catch in any music. This was a shot at writing an old sounding song, yet wrapping it in new technology. The vocoder really opened up the use of my voice as an instrument, which previously had been something I have always shied away from."
Dum: "Written in the last century with Marcus Child, we wrote over 40 songs together. Writing usually involved several beers, two guitars and a note pad. The song's style owes a lot to Bowie (note the silver skin reference from Bowie's alien in the Ashes to Ashes filmclip) and Radiohead (the descending chromatic melody in the verse is a tribute to the melody of Creep). I think its a song about tiredness, world weariness and it really summed up the way we both felt come the end of the 20th century. From memory, however, the song came in one hit without provocation. Possibly the easiest and most honest song we have written."
Ready To Download: "Written on the day I first bought a vocoder, whilst testing my new toy; very annoying really. There I was playing like a kid when this song forms. I was like an obstinate child told to stop playing and clean his room. 'Oh, alright, I'll record the damn song but then I want to play with my vocoder!'"
Pocket Full Of Pills: "The lyrics of this track are from a short story I wrote called 'Richman', About a down and out substance addicted conman who wins the lottery. Instead of blowing it all extravagantly, he settles all his debts quietly and turns his back on all he knows to travel for the rest of his life. Giving away all he owns, besides his new bank balance, he allows himself one material indulgence; a 1965 AP6 Valient with a slant engine and extractors, decked out in a bone, oven baked paint job, tinted windows, low profiles, mags and a stereo system to kill for. Arming himself in a new Armani suit, a bankbook safely tucked in a top pocket, a suitcase full of cash and a pocket full of his pills of choice, our hero sets off into the unknown."
The Road To Rehab: "Recorded in the 'Missing In Eden' days, we used an interesting writing technique: I brought in Chris to play guitars over Walk Across The Water [Train Noise] then pulled out the original track, leaving the guitars. It was engineered by Thilo Rupprecht."
Cinematic: "A child of Rum Boogie. Lots of curious timings and Sloth lending some horns to the equation. I like to think of this as part two of Pocket Full Of Pills: Our hero is now on the road and realising that those same old ghosts that used to haunt him when he was standing still, can still touch him at 100mph."
Rum Boogie: "Reworked from 4:30am, this was a real programming breakthrough for me. Also, my first and last piano solo; The piano's still recovering - so am I!"
Film Noir: "A remix of Inga Liljestršm. Her voice has been lowered and slowed down, giving her a real snarl. I wanted her to sound like a black diva; someone from the 1940's. I really think this track stands on its own even though it originated as a remix. It just conjures up so many romantic images. I listen to this and almost hear the bombs of the second world war go off in the background as the upper class kick up their heels in a castle ball, choosing to ignore the depression around them for one glamorous night."
Crash: "First track I've programmed not using an MPC. Technology has finally found me."
Eyes Ahead,
Don't Turn Around:
"A remix that evolved into an original. I love the way you're not too sure whether the vocalist's saying "could've walked away" or "couldn't walk away" - it hooks the song for me. Again it's another chapter in the "rich man" tale, where we learn that, even with all the money in the world, our hero is still on the run. The lyrics resonate the Pocket Full Of Pills lyric."
Somebody: "Possibly the saddest song I've ever written."


FULL TRACKLISTING:
Don Meers: Splint

01
When
02
Dum
03
Electronique Mascara
04
Ready To Download
05
Spy Theme
06
Neverland
07
Pocket Full Of Pills
08
The Road To Rehab
09
Cinematic
10
Rum Boogie
11
Film Noir (The Don Meers remix)
12
Crash
13
Eyes Ahead, Don't Turn Around
14
Somebody

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