Proudly Atlanta-based is Joshua Worden, an indie/electronic artist and producer who takes being a solo act very seriously. On top of writing and arranging his own music, Worden also records all of his tracks in his home studio. His ambition alone is astounding, his professionalism quite something else; his latest album, Into Fog, is perfectly recorded and mixed. It’s hard to believe that this album was completed in a home environment—I’ve listened to signed artists and bands whose albums aren’t nearly as clean-cut as Worden’s independent effort.
But sound-wise, Into Fog lives up to its name. This is the kind of album that’s highly listenable, yet drones on into the background. It’s more exciting and lyrical than elevator music, but it’s still kind of like elevator music in the sense that it plays in the background while you’re thinking about other things.
This is not necessarily a bad thing; artists like Grimes are totally capitalizing on the ambient nature of their music, even if fans aren’t always listening or understanding their lyrics. However, I’m unsure if Worden was aiming for that effect. His beats are more defined and his voice is smooth and clear. At the same time, there are lapses in which he samples random soundbytes of people talking, like in “It Ain’t Bad,” or starts singing in falsetto like in “Right At Home.” It feels like Worden is challenging his listeners to tune in to something they’d normally tune out, and not everybody feels likes rising to the occasion—hence, elevator music.
Into Fog has its highlights. Its title-track serves as the album’s opener and hooks one in with its spooky feel and beats, perfectly capturing fog-induced ambiguity with distant sirens, wind chimes and lyrics about night and “misty hues.” Closer “Dark Horizon” is equally catchy and lyrical, painting a vivid picture of train tracks at dawn. By the end of Into Fog, you’ve warmed up to Worden, and maybe a little bit to his style.
However, I fear that after one listen, the album will be shelved. And consequently, Into Fog and Worden will get lost in the shuffle among other artists.