A Hi-Def Dive into Art D'Ecco's "In Standard Definition"
There is no “standard” for glam rock. When Victoria singer-songwriter Art d’Ecco uses the term, he’s referring to the way his newest LP, 2021’s In Standard Definition, was recorded: in analog format on a 50-year-old console, an unconventional approach in an unconventional year.
It’s a nod backwards to the pioneering forces that Art d’Ecco has taken inspiration from. He revisits David Bowie’s Berlin period with vintage digital touches, incorporates thick, pulsing New Wave bass lines, growls and whispers like Marc Bolan — all the while never letting go of some traditional rock roots that make In Standard Definition a highly listenable avant-garde amalgamation.
But, as d’Ecco himself has noted, there's still a centralized concept to it all: entertainment and what we do with it. On “TV God,” there’s the sometimes unexplainable obsession with those we absorb on television — “Night fall, it’s on, that face is on the channel … He’ll never come down, he’s a TV God.” Or on “The Message,” the helpless feeling one can’t seem to shake in an era where hours are spent typing away without ever using our actual voices — “Broadcasting messages, my signal’s getting lost.”
It isn’t all so bleak. There’s fun to be had and identity to be created in the age of swift-moving entertainment. “Lightning on the floor,” d’Ecco sings on “I am the Dancefloor,” “I break my back til I’m outta control. When I glide in, I’m a full grown man. When the backbeat hits, they know who I am.”
One of d’Ecco’s greatest strengths is in his avoidance of dillydallying — only one song breaks four minutes. Instead, he gets to his point quickly, entertaining listeners with enough variation to keep them on their toes, but rightfully refusing to take longer than is necessary to make an impact. The resulting songs feel like shooting stars of creativity, here one moment and gone the next.
Thanks in part to the traditional production, In Standard Definition is uniquely nostalgic, but it doesn’t yearn for the old days. You’ll still find all of the enterprising and inclusive elements that Art d’Ecco, an artist with a gift for plucking parts of the past worthy of bringing into the future, has set out to offer.
Author: Allison Rapp