Four years in the making, Mots, the debut disc from Eastern Son (which is the adopted name of techno-savvy Madison, Wis.-based musician and longtime record-store owner David Benton) gently overflows with a cornucopia of electronic sounds that are more song-oriented than you might expect from an album created largely with synthesizers, programming and loops.
Benton draws on his pop-rock/surf-rock background - years ago, he played guitar in a band called Spooner with future Nirvana producer and Garbage drummer Butch Vig - to craft surprisingly mystical and captivating melodies by incorporating acoustic and bass guitars into "PJ's Mood," "Versailles of the Spiders" and "The Long Reach." Other pieces, namely the thoughtful opener "Mull" and "At Lost Hope," a mournful tearjerker, create the perfect musical moods their titles suggest. Benton also dabbles in modern electronica, with submarine beeps set against snare-drum beats in "Reg/Erg," the funky staccato notes and steam room eruptions of "The Gray Goo Problem" and the ambient droning of "El Malpais."
While primarily a solo effort, Benton does call in a few musician friends, most notably tenor sax man Hanah Jon Taylor, who turns in one of the warmest performances on Mots in the eight-and-a-half-minute closer, "Magic Fountain Mighty Atom Flower Bomb" – the trade name of Sri Kaliswari fireworks, which are made in India. Eager to prove that Eastern Sun is more than just a midlife crisis for the 50-something Benton, a sequel to Mots is already in the works.
2) Une (Version 1)
3) El Malpais
4) More Tone-X, Elwin
5) PJ's Mood
6) The Gray Goo Problem
7) Versailles of the Spiders
9) The Long Reach
10) At Lost Hope
11) Magic Fountain Mighty Atom Flower Bomb
12) Une (Version 2) (Bonus Track)
Total Time: 63:49