Exclusive First Listen: Rocketship, “Outer Otherness”

It’s been well over twenty years since the seminal indie-pop band Rocketship released its superb debut album, A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness. In the years since, visionary Dusty Reske has taken on a very low-key approach, releasing music as part of his Nonstop Co-Op–either digitally or very limited-edition releases. What he hasn’t done, however, is release a widely-distributed proper follow-up to his debut album…until now. Darla Records will release Thanks To You this week, and it’s a heady, dreamy affair that doesn’t skip a beat in the twenty-three years since A Certain Smile so impressed the world. Our favorite song on the album is “Outer Otherness,” and we asked Mr. Reske his thoughts on the song and the album. 

 

It’s hard for me to fully enjoy a vacation because there’s such an emphasis on relaxing and consuming, which, although otherwise enjoyable when well measured, can bore by the routine monotony and lethargy. I like a balance of consumption with production, so on vacation one year at Mt Hood because of the generosity of my ever considerate in-laws, I brought along my laptop to compose during downtime. I had been quite interested in several forms expressed in the popular music I was listening to at the time, mainly the arpeggios of Yaz in lieu of polyphonic synthesis, the minor key verses of some favorite roots reggae, and the “logical” melodies of Spanish sensation Jeanette. “Outer Otherness” smooshes together all of these things into a sad, hopefully epic, though short, “dance”-pop song about the alienation one can experience when walking down the street approaching another person whose eyes are inaccessible.

Most of the songs on Thanks to You, it occurs to me now, deal in some way or another with a modern alienation so prevalent it seems normal, which “Outer Otherness” explores. So many of the subjects in the songs on Thanks to You long to have healthier, closer relationships, but learned dysfunction, past trauma, and low tastes and ethics undermine this desire. These subjects display the effects of the dislocations of civilization which accrue so that, over the course of a lifetime, its captives are but wrecked, dispirited seekers, forever discontent and wandering randomly away from our old shared and now long since obliterated tribalism.

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