It’s a Hit!
“Playing music in the mornings just after waking up, or late nights when the city goes quiet can be fruitful.” Perhaps that could explain the dreamy quality of Stephen Brodsky’s newly released EP Hit or Mystery on Little Black Cloud Records. Pensive and sublime, the collection of songs weaves a transfixing tale of relocation, exploration and re-invention. Hit or Mystery is a quietly confident addition to Brodsky’s discography, which continues to grow in both quality and quantity. Released April 14 on limited edition vinyl (digital download card included), Hit or Mystery contains eight songs, simple in structure, rich in ambient texture and languid in mood.
Mixed by Phil Palazzolo (Okkervil RIver, St. Vincent, New Pornorgraphers, Ted Leo) and mastered by James Plotkin (Tim Hecker, Gary War, Jodis, Atomsmasher), the instrumentation effectively Zens the listener into an introspective state in which they find mantra melodies and stark acoustic accompaniment. From the first rolling sitar-ish drone of the title track “Hit or Mystery” to the noise background of the single “Real Surreal Beauty”, this creative offering documents the songwriter’s migration from his home town in Massachusetts to the king of American cities, New York, New York.
Brodsky made a name for himself fronting the Boston powerhouse alt-metal band Cave-In. Cave-In, as well as other Brodsky-infused projects like Converge and Kid Kilowatt, have been writing, recording , touring, breaking-up, re-uniting and recording again since the mid-nineties. But riding side-car the whole time has been Brodsky’s solo career, starkly contrasting yet complimenting the character of his harder material. Often compared to Elliot Smith’s alter-ego indie career, Brodsky’s prolificacy has led to myriad releases including 1999’s double disc Escape Your Overdubs and 2006’s Stephen Brodsky’s Octave Museum.
How does a man busy with so many projects maintain such a constant level of inspiration? Brodsky says, “I usually work the kind of jobs that allow me to listen to music for most of the day. It keeps the gears greased in my creative mind.” He adds, “Physical exercise is an important part of my routine. I can meditate on ideas more clearly during a long run.” Whatever it is that Brodsky is doing is working. Word on the street (or, more appropriately, online) is that Hit is in its second pressing, having sold out of the first run on pre-sales alone. It sounds like Stephan Brodsky has more of a hit on his hands than a mystery.