DANIEL SAYLOR “Plastic Present” C45 (Third Kind Records)


It’s the answer to a question nobody asked. Plastic Present represents a counterpoint to southern electronic rock, the point being … what’s a good electronic rock band from Florida? Never mind. Daniel Saylor lives three hours from me over there in Orlando, and somehow he finds a way through the heat and humidity, the tourist season, the constant construction and traffic, and the just south-ness of Floridian life to actually form a coherent thought, record it, and make it sound good enough to release. Not only that, he made it sound so good that he released it through Brighton, England, label Third Kind (one of the best). How’s that for a cultural surprise?
Plastic Present takes on a lot of the characteristics of electronic Radiohead or solo Thom, but without the constant barrage of depressing vocals. It only starts there, though, and spirals out from there. And sometimes there are vocals, but not often. And sometimes Saylor has help from erstwhile bandmates, but a lot of this work is really on the solo tip. Breakbeats and synths do battle for the tonal high ground, and both win and lose constantly, bringing about a tenuous balance that shifts one way or the other depending on how the next track begins. A second battle occurs between the syntheticness of sound sources and the obvious human manipulation of it (not to mention the playing of actual instruments at points) – the cross-section of human anatomy adorning the cover suggests that humans win. But the “plasticness” of Plastic Present suggests otherwise. Again, there’s no winner, but everybody wins.
So … what was the question in the first place again? No idea. What I do know is that Plastic Present is very good, and I still can’t believe it came out of a middle-Florida swamp. A paved-over swamp, sure, but a swamp nonetheless.
PS: The last song has some rap.