Chattanooga musician Sean King seems to experience the world differently than the rest of us. For him, the various contours of roads, forests and skylines seem inextricably linked to echoing guitar strings, pattering percussion and glitchy melodies. It should come as no surprise then that his work under the Parking Lots moniker turns these environmental impressions into inexplicably moving and complex musical landscapes. The rhythmic details stretch out for miles while the emotions are poured out in unending tidal movements.
There’s an ethereal weight that unravels as he gently bends and shakes the strings of his guitar — the sound lopes along at an unsteady gait, often tumbling around without a clear direction. But it’s this seemingly lackadaisical approach that really hammers home just how wild and complicated his relationship is with the influences that spark his musical interest. He doesn’t simply let this noise appear and fall apart at random; his songs are filled with cracks and fissures wherein an unwary listener could fall without ever knowing where they misstepped.
On his new debut LP, “Ouroboros Ad Nauseum,” King creates a vivid and often unnerving look into the mechanisms that propel his work forward. These 8 tracks aren’t bound by the dirt beneath our feet but are freed from those earthly confines by the sheer force of his creativity. And he’s certainly not afraid to go places where other artists are hesitant to venture. He doesn’t set out to antagonize the expectations of his audience, but through a series of spoken word asides, post-folk rumblings and a certain languid theatricality, he fashions a melodic slow burn that clings to the back corners of your memory.
The opening track, “Chaos Falls Into Place,” provides an entryway into King’s warped and elastic perspective. His voice echoes in the darkness while slowly clanging beats swim between subtle guitar lines. The effect is almost narcotic in its paralyzing beauty. Other tracks like “Dreamland” and “Modern Fantasies” bear the mark of King’s need to explore a more song-oriented aesthetic. They’re still constantly shifting and hard to pin down, but they show that King isn’t afraid to embrace more traditional structures while still carving out his own mutated musical niche.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.