Review: Palmer’s Medic – In a House, Surrounded

Palmer’s MedicPalmer’s Medic, an electronic recording project of a certain Seth David-Andrew Hubbard from southern Utah — Cedar City, Utah, to be precise about things — produces young, fresh music vaguely encapsulatable under genre titles of ambient house, trance, trip hop — terms of that nature. Ambiguous, isn’t it? But that’s the beauty of electronic music, I suppose. At any rate, from the get-go, In a House, Surrounded is an adventurous album: It doesn’t much fit under most specific categorizations (though some would argue that about all music, I am not one of those), which is a bit of a refresher from what’s come to be expected. Of course, most specific genres and descriptions are applied post hoc, so it may be a bit early to consider things of such a nature.

Palmer’s Medic — “M-900″ | download

Another beautiful aspect of electronic music is the fact that it can be recorded by most anyone with a musical vision, and it can sound, well, at least okay. In a House, Surrounded sounds more than simply okay, and that, too, is refreshing. There has been obvious time and thought put into this record, and it’s made quite apparent through listening.

Still, the album is a bit lacking in some aspects, despite its easily listened rhythms and well-timed attacks: It seems to suffer a bit from a lack of utter confidence (some might call it hubris) on the part of Hubbard. He’s still producing engaging, interesting music, though, and that’s the real goal, isn’t it? But at times, it seems Hubbard’s looking to really break out, create something epic, loud, and boisterous — but he just doesn’t quite get to that point. Further production — proliferation, if you will — should prove fruitful for this young artist.

That’s another interesting aspect of electronic music, I’d say: Unlike some forms of music, in which simply writing music, scrapping it, and writing more music will serve only to frustrate, music of this nature has a much greater potential to improve over time. You see, with each experience creating this however it might be created, whether it be digitally, un-digitally (I believe they call it “analog”), through some combination, or through some other mean (I think we might have an exhaustive trichotomy here, but who am I to say?) will breed productive experience and skill through whatever mean. It’s not a style in which you can simply practice riffs, get better as a guitarist might; no, it’s a style in which simply doing it is the best method of improvement.

That said, In a House, Surrounded is an impressive undertaking, and it’s one that listeners will find palatable, at the very least. I find it quite palatable — enjoyable, one might say — and that’s certainly saying at least something, I hope.

In the interest of disclosure, I know Seth and find him to be quite a nice guy. In the interest of further disclosure, I have attempted to remain unbiased, and I believe I’ve done alright. Still, I don’t even know the nature of bias, so such an assumption is a bit frustrating for someone with a wry philosophical bent.

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