Ian Morris’ “Parking Lot Manuscripts”

Holly Etchison calls Ian Morris’ “Parking Lot Manuscripts” a notable stand-out. Check it out.

Holly Etchison

out of 10

Ian Morris
Parking Lot Manuscripts
January 31, 2013

Being an enthusiast for the singer/songwriter genre, my foray into the world of electronica has been limited mainly to Soundscapes, New Order, and more recently bands like Fol Chen; my tendency is to dismiss it as emotive background noise. I like definition and parameters. You won’t usually find me in a dance club with a glow stick. Once in a while, however, you have to switch hats, a lesson I observed as soundtracks from movies like Drive wound their way into the musical subconscious of the listening public or at least this folky stalwart’s. Ian Morris of Charleston, SC’s entirely self played set of songs, Parking Lot Manuscripts, sweetly threatens to become a similarly notable standout in the field of reverberation.

Indeed reviving memories of the dark atmosphere enhanced by Cliff Martinez’s beats from said Drive score, “We’ve Been in Exile,” the first track on Manuscripts, has you passing through lonely streets, streetlights glaring on your windshield. The action builds from a solitary keyboard to layered sounds increasing in intensity. Returning to the simple refrain, there is a journey to be had here and an abrupt resolution.

Alternately, the beginning of “The Ultimate Creative” sounds like a game of “Simon,” the electronic memory game. It continues as a lighthearted merry go round of happy notes and a steady drumbeat.

The pace quickens with the downright catchy, foot tapping “A functioning Hemingway,” whose compelling title demands a glance at the silent verbage found alongside the song:

And what happens when the soul dries up,
and the words stop,
and you don’t know who you are anymore?

The last bit of guitar is convincing as well, and encourages a replay.

Things take a plaintive turn with the gentle “I Like the Way We Whisper Even When No One Is Around.” The piano is touching and the aaah’s create an ambiance of longing and respite. Clapping beats hold attention and piece the tune together nicely.

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The real departure, however, is found at “Van Gogh’s Dangerous Gamble.” Sure, the artist’s dilemma finds its typical pinnacle in Van Gogh, but here we have an interesting guitar intro eerily reminiscent even of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.” It is brief, but memorable, and a lovely way to end things.

The challenge of compiling sound to create emotional response and define an experience, wordless, is taken on favorably in the six tracks presented by Morris. Though poetic reflections accompany each song as a manuscript, they will doubtless have an incarnation unique to the hearer. Or at the least leave a little growing room beside the art of this expressive multi-instrumentalist.

-Holly Etchison, July 5, 2013