didn’t ever… hasn’t since
My Own Planet
Replete with a haunting, small-universe, personalness, the songs of Marc Olsen ring with an easy authenticity. A muted mural in earthtones made bold by the artisan’s deft brushstrokes, didn’t ever… hasn’t since… is a Sistine Chapel ceiling of the soundsmith’s art, and as such, the artifices underpinning the creation are masterfully concealed.
On this, his second CD since shedding the skin of the lumbering prog-rock kimodo, Sage, which he fronted in the mid-Nineties, Olsen employs a rock stripped bare, a subtle homogeny of textures with just enough backing instrumentation and soundcraft niceties to provide gripping movement within his heartbeat-paced songs. “San Antone” uses the mournful wail and contraction of some understated lap steel and the barest suggestion of backing vocals by Anne-Marie Raljancich to create and punctuate, respectively, the tune’s communication of overwhelming longing. The more uptempo “No Surprise” crafts a bona fide rock riff out of some intensely warbled, arpeggiated guitar runs. On “To Sleep,” it is Olsen’s soulful vocals alone which create the ethereal hook under which runs, in stark contrast, a crisp and straight-ahead, dark pop backing.
didn’t ever… hasn’t since… is that rarest of songwriter discs: it is self-referential without stooping to self-pity, it strides at low volume without plodding at low energy, and it is undeniably American (with Jim Roth of the Delusions on pedal steel as a credential thereto) without becoming irreparably cornpone.
My Own Planet Recordings, P.O Box 95921, Seattle, WA 95921