The Sound of a Dream
About five years ago, drummer Jerome Dillon began having a recurring dream. Over the years, the dream grew in complexity and intensity until it haunted his waking life as well. Finally, in 2005, a sudden health crisis gave Dillon the free time, focus, and drive to reconcile himself to his nightmare. Enlisting the aid of key collaboratorsâ€šÃ„Ã®most significantly 12 Rounds’ Claudia Sarne on lead vocalsâ€šÃ„Ã®Dillon took the moniker nearLY and wrote reminder.
Part concept album, part personal exorcism, reminder. plays out like one forty-minute song rather than twelve individual tracks. The album opens with a sharp intake of breath (the only lead vocal contribution from Dillon), a somber string instrumental, and then the breath repeated. Each song following is a brooding rumination on loneliness, hopelessness, and loss. Almost all feature the same leaden drums, minor key melodies, and Sarne’s low, unobtrusive voice. This singular feel among tracks creates a cohesive whole while sacrificing each song’s individuality.
Dillon’s goal in this project was not to create a mere collection of songs, but rather a means of conveying his own emotional turmoil. To this end, Dillon offers mood-setting advice in the liner notes: “[the album is] solely intended for nighttime listening, at a loud volume.” Going further to make hearing the album an intimate experience between artist and audience, two instrumental tracks, “Black Wing” and “Up in the Trees,” feature unheard lyrics offered only in the liner notes for the listener to consider privately as the music sounds.
It’s easy to find such an ambitious debut pretentious, but if Dillon’s purpose in creating reminder. is to connect with his audience by sharing his dark dream, one need only feel the heartfelt melancholy lingering in the air after the notes have died to know he has fulfilled his ambition.