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Album Review: Jake Borgemenke - Close to Obscurity

Lofi semi-acoustic one man operations are… not so much common place, but easy enough to come by, right? More difficult is finding something, or someone, that stands out enough to pay attention to. There can be a sameness, an oversimplification of the process and the creation that really makes it tough to get through. Then, on the flipside, there are some so well done, and so interesting from the start, that it’s easy to keep listening… and listening. Enter Lo Fi City’s upcoming release of Jake Borgemenke’s Close to Obscurity.

The album starts from, in my mind, a truly inspired point - “Straight To My Head” - which was featured prominently on the last Lo Fi City compilation. It’s a great way to enter the world of Jake Borgemenke, who meanders through a slowly unwinding, highly effective 9 tracks of acoustic guitar driven bedroom rock.

Dotted with fuzz, synth, mellow keys, easygoing drums and a delightfully monotone vocal delivery, Close to Obscurity feels like tiny, hazy vignettes taking place in his life that somehow transformed themselves into music. My favorite track, “Just Dreaming,” comes into play just shy of the album’s halfway point, and is a great encapsulation of what works so well with this album. A great sense of melody and playfulness, but shockingly straightforward in its execution. It’s dreamy, as the song title indicates, but the sum of all it’s parts gives it a neo-classic rock vibe that really makes it stand out. And there’s just the right amount of fuzz on the electric guitar - that always helps. Frankly, the entire album is immaculately produced and works in large part because everything is so well put together.

The back half of the album is minimalist and, not really quieter, but feels quieter somehow. “Memories” is a bit of an outlier in execution and function - largely percussion-less, driven by keys over guitar, his voice a slightly higher register. It’s layered, spacey, and just… delightful.

Also, a live performance of tracks from this album would play terrifically with perennial Cincinnati favorites - and personal favorites - Frontier Folk Nebraska. Let’s make that happen, y’all.

Head over to Bandcamp to check out a couple tracks now, then go ahead and hit ‘purchase’ this Friday when it releases proper. It’s a great listen - and one that I think you’ll go back to for more than a few times.


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