Matthew Gilliam

For Lost Time

It’s a dusky summer evening in the warehouse district along the contentious border of Bushwick and East Williamsburg. The air is balmy. Clothes stick and constrict. A small crowd converges on what was once a two-bedroom walkup that now serves as a modest gallery. Each has come by casual invite or word of mouth to attend the prerelease listening party for Dogwood Last’s debut album, Time Follows.

Photo by Tristan Oliveira

Photo by Tristan Oliveira

Between live sets from synth-rock band Fysics and rapper Speć Kay, the hum of the crowd fills the 600 square foot space. Artist’s rhapsodize about current projects and future collaborations. Friends reminisce and make plans to eke out whatever moments they can before job relocations put thousands of miles between them. The mood is genial and intimate. Quantitative dimensions of time yield to the quality of the moment. And in this seemingly intemporal space, the album is played, accompanied by the projection of a live video synthesizer provided by visual artist, Michael Sidnam. The mood shifts to one of meditation. Listeners ease themselves onto the floor in cross legged cloisters. Reverent. Patient.

Later, as the final track winds down, the crowd winds up like organic clockwork and the gallery whirs with chatter and applause.

Such a deferential scene seems a rarified atmosphere for contemporary music. However, a patient and mindful approach is not only what the album inspires, but its method of composition. Recorded over four years, Time Follows is the passion project of Kory Burrell who performs under the pseudonym Dogwood Last. Between producing tracks for other artists at DuckHead Records, including tracks for both Fysics and Speć Kay, Kory was arranging and perfecting his own collection of compositions. He also collaborated with talented musicians and engineers he met along the way, including Volcano Choir’s Thomas Wincek who provided some instrumentation and additional mixing to Time Follows. In fact, the credits of the album read like the cast of characters in a long running soap opera. Daniel Holter, a sound engineer from Milwaukee with over twenty years’ experience, who recently produced the album Summertime Songs by Field Report, also lent his talents as mixing engineer. Prolific Minneapolis drummer, JT Bates, provided drums, and Chris Rosenau provided compositions of his unique textural guitar style. This list goes on.

In an age when the sonic climate seems divided between club bangers and unobtrusive background music, Time Follows is neither. Without a catalog of hooks paraded ad nauseum, the album plays out like a cantata with elements that span the gamut from Frank Ocean to American standards like “The Cuckoo Bird,” while still consistently showcasing a talent that is uniquely its own.  Mastered by Huntley Miller, who also mastered Bon Iver’s seminal album 22, A Million, this multitude of disparate elements blend seamlessly into lush soundscapes that metamorphose from one movement to the next. There is nothing cheap or rushed in this production. This is a precise masterwork in form and style, infused with overt passion and euphonic drama. Time Follows feels like a return to an estranged home after years of wandering.