Archer Black is a music project by Dustin Morgan, former bassist of indie rock band The Autumns, that can be best described as elaborate and orchestral modern pop music reminiscent of indie pop outfit Beirut.
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Morgan’s debut album titled “Forgiveness is a Weapon,” released in late 2012, showcases Morgan’s ability to hone his brand of aesthetic effortlessly. Each track is elaborately crafted with the embellishment of melancholic horns and emotionally jarring string sections combined with lyrics with emotive and descriptive power.
The single “Onward and Down”, as well as the majority of the tracks on “Forgiveness Is A Weapon,” contain thematic content regarding warfare, primarily since Morgan’s brother enlisted to serve in Afghanistan.
“A lot of the imagery is based on wars or battlefields. It didn’t start that way. I just set out to write songs about relationships. However, during all this time when I was writing, my older brother enlisted and went to Afghanistan and Iraq, and that had a big impact on me,” said Morgan.
“So consequently I watched the news a lot during that time period… and I became so seeped in that imagery, that when I went to write about relationships that was what was on the tip of my tongue! My reservoir was full of these images of explosions and bombs so it was a very natural expression,” he said.
Particularly “Onward and Down” explores these themes in depth and applies these notions to the scope of a relationship by juxtaposing it with militaristic imagery.
“The smallest kernel that started the lyrics of ‘Onward and Down’ was when I found out a fact that during World War II, 65 percent of soldiers could never bring themselves to discharge a fire arm. When it was time to fight, these soldiers just didn’t have it in them to open fire. Later in Vietnam, they did psychological training to remove that lock from their brain and the numbers went up astronomically to 90 percent. Then from that point, the soldiers did not even hesitate to discharge the fire arms… This fact really stayed with me for a long time,” said Morgan.
“To bring this into the realm of relationships, I just thought about how terrifying all that is. A part of the lyrics to ‘Onward and Down’ are ‘we should run away from this.’ However, they don’t and they just march and follow the sound and they go onward and go down. It’s a yearning to not follow the sound and run away. It’s a lament. ”
Another strength of “Forgiveness is a Weapon” is its emotional directness in exploring the nature of relationships and the concept of vulnerability.
“The central theme of the record is all about building relationship and the potential of that leaves you really vulnerable. A nuclear arms race is a metaphor for a relationship because the more you invest in each other, the more likely this could lead to your mutual destruction,” said Morgan.
“It’s like both of you have your finger on a big red button that can basically destroy both of you at the same time,” said Morgan.
Morgan claims his main motivation for crafting music is for his music is for his listeners to develop their own individual interpretations of his songs.
“There is an intention behind my music, but I want people to have their own experience with my music. I don’t want to give the listener everything. It’s like opening a door and showing the listener an interesting part of the world… like hey, look at this song and feel free to reflect upon it,” said Morgan.
With its cinematic tendencies, “Forgiveness Is A Weapon” is compelling and relentlessly sophisticated like a evocative and sonic day dream with its ability to immerse its listener into heavy bouts of nostalgia and catapult the listener into a visceral register of sentiment.
“Many have considered my music cinematic in a sense. I basically strive to create an environment for my listener to immerse themselves in,” said Morgan.
“Onward and Down”- Archer Black, directed by Scott Cronan
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Source: Santa Clarita News