On May 1st producer and musician Slow Dakota will release his album Tornado Mass for Voice & Synthesizer, a record he wrote while attending law school. Unsurprisingly, the album is at least partially inspired by the law. Yes, the law. Today, we’re premeiring one such track with a legal theme, the slow-burning, meditative song “Coming To The Nuisance.” The title is a legal term that’s an old legal maxim that basically says, if you know someone is loud and messy, you can’t move in next door to them and then complain about them being loud and messy.
The song begins with an extended instrumental intro, filled with a hypnotic synth line that recalls some of Mogwai’s spacier moments. The song is only three minutes long, and it takes until past the one minute mark for Slow Dakota mastermind Paul Sauerteig’s vocals to enter the mix. Over a backdrop of animated biblical figures, moving astrological diagrams and random clips like a model walking down the runway. In contrast with the space-y, almost post-rock sound of the song, Sauerteig’s vocals have a certain early 00s indie feel to them, think Ben Gibbard as a reference point.
“A song I wrote years ago, and a release date planned months ago – it’s a strange coincidence to release ‘Coming to the Nuisance’ right now, in our current and collective state of crisis,” said Sauerteig. “After all, the song is about trying to prepare for a looming, mass disaster. Battening down the hatches. I had global warming in mind, but COVID-19 has stolen the show, I suppose. The song’s narrator is preparing for a disaster that he knows is coming, but no one around him takes it seriously – not even friends and neighbors. I had Noah in mind, from the old story of Noah’s Arc. He was shrugged off by his community, and no one wanted to wrap their heads around the “flood” he was warning them about. I think a lot of people feel like Noah today, for a lot of different reasons, in the bated breath before a lot of different floods.”
Sauerteig started Slow Dakota while he was a student at Columbia University in New York. He’s released a few albums and an EP already – Our Indian Boy in 2012, Bürstner and the Baby in 2013, and The Junior EP in 2015. The name Slow Dakota has an interesting origin, coming from his great grandfather who frequently in his final years spent time in hospitals and occasionally a psychiatric institute. Sauerteig’s great grandfather wrote letters to presidents, many of which were no longer in office or even alive. He’d conclude these letters with the sign off, “Your’s, Slow Dakota.” One day when he was 5 or 6, his great grandfather slipped him one of the letters – addressed to Abraham Lincoln – and asked him to deliver it. When it came time to find a moniker for his music career, Slow Dakota just seemed like the perfect choice – writing long letters to no one.