This is what you get. A gate-fold sleeve which opens up to reveal, on the left - nine paper squares of photography by Jeremy Cowart; the photographs are of abstract out-of-focus 'surface wreckage' (torn posters); on the right - nine paper squares of paintings by Scott Erickson; the paintings are splash paint with graffiti. Each of these nine reproductions on either side is captioned with a part of the Lord's prayer. In the centre is a CD of instrumental music written and played by Derek Webb, who of course is best known for his work with Caedmon's Call but has also released a swathe of critically praised solo albums down the years. So, is 'Feedback' a good concept? It's hard to say as in truth none of the elements communicates much. There is no evocation and it isn't enough simply to feature a short paragraph telling the buyer that this is what it's about. It is poor artwork (or poor reproduction) and pedestrian music at best. Simply adding the ruse of the Lord's Prayer (in three 'movements') to the work does nothing to rescue things. It all lacks narrative, heart, and above all, artistic integrity. I blame the format. The industrious Erickson produces imaginative staged art pieces which address difficult biblical themes - using Radiohead, for instance; Cowart's outstanding portrait portfolio includes Sting and Kris Kristoffersen - now that's form. Derek Webb himself is no stranger to class - hooking up with film director Scott Brignac's 'Self Sabotage' shorts for his last album. Yet here he has ended up with tired musical ideas more akin to the early '80s and a mystifying lack of clarity in the narrative and direction. 'Feedback' promises much but delivers little. It is a misjudged collaboration. Good elevator background, though.
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Ever the musical shapeshifter, Derek Webb has once again expanded his musical boundaries and redefined his artistic expectations to produce 'Feedback', arguably his most ambitious and most creative project to date.
Described as 'an instrumental electronic album based on The Lord’s Prayer,' the scope and impact of Feedback can hardly be summed up in a tagline.
Derek has managed to supersede the main complaints of electronic music (artificial, plastic, cold, soulless, etc.) with enough creativity and emotion to make it live with a beating heart.
Sprawling, mysterious, weighty and layered, Derek uses organic and non-organic musical elements, along with accompanying abstract pictures and paintings, to express one of the most powerful and intimate moments of the Christian faith.