There’s lots of things that you can’t quite name but you feel.
Those instincts that raise your blood pressure. The smell of spring that’s nostalgic in a way you can’t recall. The chilled air evoking some sort of child-like adrenaline kick. Everybody feels these things. But not everyone is capable of grasping these yearnings and channeling them into art; let alone art that’s challenging and raw and elucidating.
Some stare into abstract art and find nothing of substance. They find little emotional bearings or have no visceral response. These people live in a world devoid of the manic extremes that art gives you. Those that warm you, that confuse you, and those that destroy you. If you don’t feel for art, do you feel at all?
Never one to play by the rules, Fog Lake’s dragonchaser is also an abstraction. It’s a perversion of pop music. It borrows its form and pays homage to it, but it also filters the bright lights and bombastic nature to become a quaint, effervescent alternative.
The result is the complete opposite of everything pop holds dear; it is a release of creative webs that work to evoke emotion in the listener, however innate or basic. It doesn’t try to entertain people. It doesn’t even try to connect with them. Its only prerogative is pure creation; the product of a perpetual need for catharsis and renewal.
That might be why it’s so hard for some to understand Fog Lake’s rise to prominence. While we take pride in what seems to be some sort of cultural musicality, the foundations of Newfoundland’s music scene pride entertainment and community as cornerstones. There’s a method that works, has been continually adapted, and, apparently, was in no need of any changes.
But in this case, technology broke down that mindset. It allowed earnest and real songwriting to flourish in a digital space, one somewhat outside the confines of St. John’s bars and Arts Council grants. Fog Lake managed to slip in behind all of that, and still remains an anomaly.
Coming on the heels of a steady flow of digital releases, dragonchaser manages to continue that subversive nature. I always thought that repetition was the bane of Fog Lake’s previous releases, and while I appreciated everything in short bursts, the lack of diversity always held it back just a little. That’s not the case here. It’s really and truly beautiful.
It has a face but wears many masks. It’s emotive but not replete with sentiment. It’s a powerful, authentic work that is so far beyond everything else that’s happening. Like I said in the preamble though, it’s not for everyone. It’s only for people who like for their art to make them feel something. Who appreciate the discomfort of creative relief. Who need to feel, who want to feel, who want to glimpse into the mind of a real artist. In due course, everyone will come around.