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Fort Atlantic

Fort Atlantic

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Album Review

Fort Atlantic is really singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and 21st century home studio producer Jon Black, who assembled, arranged, and put together this striking album pretty much on his own, playing most of the instruments and parts himself. But this is no four-track analog recording full of bounce-downs — it makes full use of all that the 21st century digital realm allows, with laptops, loops, and other digital doodads blended into the mix (Black is even credited in the album liner notes with playing instruments called "atmosphere" and "noise," along with the pianos, guitars, and harmonicas he also played). Recorded largely in his home studio in Birmingham, Alabama (some additional recording and the final mixing was done at Tom Schick's Magic Shop in New York City), Black did use some additional musicians in the later stages of the project (including drummer Josh Cannon, who plays with Black as a duo called Fort Atlantic for live shows), and the resulting album is a wonderful bit of anthemic and melodic dream pop, sounding a bit like Jackson Browne set loose in a Pro Tools playground. But Fort Atlantic is no 21st century Frankenstein project. It sounds like classic rock, free of gimmicks even as it is actually laced with them, and as a lesson in how what's new can be used to make something that seems old and timeless, Fort Atlantic has to get an A plus. Tracks like the opener, "No One Will Know," the beautiful, positive, and hopeful "Let Your Heart Hold Fast," and the closer, "There Is Love' (which opens with wordless Beach Boys-type vocal harmonies), all sound as natural as an ocean, endlessly melodic and constantly shifting into quirky little musical corners with grace and elegance. This is a fine debut album. Black will have quite a task to better it, but everything here suggests that he has that kind of vision.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '10s

Fort Atlantic is essentially singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and 21st century studio whiz producer Jon Black and drummer Josh Cannon, and the duo integrates laptops, loops, and other digital doodads into an experimental yet decidedly grounded modern pop and rock sound. Black is the center of things, and his vision takes into account classic rock styles even as he makes use of what the digital era affords him as a producer, and the band's tracks make full use of the recording studio as...
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