There is something mind blowing about Dusted and his new album III. For a guy who was shortlisted for the Polaris Award for his 2012 album Total Dust, yet may be better known for his electro-experimental work with the band Holy Fuck, Brian Borchedt’s new album seems to be the anthesis of everything you might expect. Despite of that, or perhaps because of it, III is an album that may actually work its way into your brain in many of the same ways, strange as that may seem.
The album opens with rain bouncing off a lake in Ontario as Borchedt’s guitar is heard a field recording. Yet there is more at work here, voices have been added, along with what sounds like strings to create something much stronger and sturdier than he would have you believe. Yet at the heart it all is Borchedt layering takes into his laptop at his kitchen table. The subtle beauty of ‘Not Offering’ comes streaming through just the same, proof that studios can’t always reproduce the raw emotions of the music.
Amidst an almost perky blend of electric piano, bass and drums, ‘Baseball’ tells a tale far grimmer than the music. “I was emotionally detached/ it’s not your fault I was born like that.” The tale continues to unravel as Borchedt sings, “I was running from my past/ I was sleeping with a baseball bat/ I had one eye on the door/ And always wanted to be sure/ that I could pass my other half.” Again and again moments and phrases burrow into the recesses of your mind.
The album came together in a way that reflects some of the strangeness and mystery of at its heart. Listening to recordings on a 24-hour drive from Toronto to Nova Scotia, he discovered previous versions of himself that didn’t always reflect favorably on who he was. “I was struck by how much of it was about letting go. It was a time capsule of the most important parts of me. It was all the lost friendships, the let-downs, the things that turned sour.”
There is a fragile, dream like quality to these recordings that reflects the nature of these moments. At times it feels like we are listening in on moments that reflect not just this musician but the subtle intimacies we all experience. Yet these times also reflect the intricacies of relationships and the shared nature of experience. To that end Borchedt closes the album with another field recording, this time the sounds of the morning commute going on outside his window.
Brian Borchedt continues to pull in opposite directions, following paths that may not always be clear to us or to himself, yet such is the glory of Dusted III, it follows its own path and as we listen we are transported to times, places and experiences that leave us changed.