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Jon Simons
Seemingly Dreamingly (2002)

review by: Glenn Pfeifer
Date: 12/9/02

Jon Simons Seemingly Dreamingly arrived at my door just as I arrived home on a delayed flight from Texas. It was one of those 18 hours traveling for a 3 hour meeting kind of trip, which often results in one large dull tired aching - but also ends up keeping you zombie-like, unable to sleep once you finally do get home. The artist's Bio suggested that Jon Simon's music was perfect for just such an occasion, "when the mind is seeking asylum from the loud machines of the city; [bringing] the listener into a fresh space as a vacation from more predictable indie-pop." So, even though the clock neared 2:00 am, shuffling through the junk mail and actually paying attention to the direct response copy techniques I know so well, instantly paled in comparison to the fresh space I was promised. I grabbed a Harpoon Ale and settled into my basement.

This music can seem nothing but fresh, because its lyrical sentiment and spare, cavernous quiet is too personal to the artist to not feel unique to the listener. I like this disc, and I may grow to like it more when I give it a few more spins…however, the vacation from predictability suggested in Jon's bio did not shine through this first time around. Though the familiarity of the symbolism and folk avenues many of the songs travel down may not be predictable to indie-pop disciples, they are somewhat to your average NPR listener more weaned on folk and jazz.

The disc delivers on many fronts. There is a quote in the bio from a reviewer who likened it to "Pink Floyd in a coffee house," and I would only add that it's the "freshest" side of Floyd seeping through the veins of Jon Simon's work. The best moments are reminiscent of the soul-bearing freedom you can feel inside "Ummagumma" or "Atom Heart Mother," more so than the Floyd of "Meddle" and beyond.

The general satisfaction I got from this disc encourages me to look for more Jon Simons. I'm not sure his debut CD, Through the Walls , is going to cut it however. I'm more interested in his next effort. Seemingly Dreamingly's best parts feel to me like an early Duncan Sheik demo or even a luded-out, ultra-melancholy Mark Cohn at his most despondent. However, the songwriting over the entire disc is still raw; not yet at the level of these more consistently brilliant poets. I'm interested to see if Jon Simons is interested in growing his music beyond its current simplicity. If only, for no other reason, than to escape what may become his own predictability. -gp fife

Jon Simons website
Antara Records

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