Returning to ancient times when a pair of Goliaths battled to control the vast expanses spread before them, these two behemoths named MySpace and Facebook, I discovered a four song EP on Myspace of intriguing electronica featuring a duo including male and female voices. I found it very compelling, and the lyrics very introspective without falling into an ‘Emo’ or ‘Goth’ impression. These four songs proved personally compelling, and I contacted their page. From this action, I met and conversed with Mike Indest, the songwriter, composer, and main singer of Motonaut. We developed a friendship as I continued to follow and appreciate his skills as a songwriter.
His latest release, 4 Track Diaries, collects simple versions, perhaps early demos, of much of his material released elsewhere. This includes songs from the Motonaut EP in pared-down versions. The music is fun to hear in this context, and definitely pleasant to listen to, often entering sounds reminiscent of the MOOG development music of the late 60s through the 70s. Much food for thought, offering contemplation on struggles and brief-yet-satisfying glimpses of the divine.
1. “Tendencies” – a ukulele number examining the path of a woman until she finds, “everything she thinks her heart is looking for.” A nice opening song, using a synth sound I fail to identify, yet I guess to be a KORG monotron. There’s a bass drone utilized with this, as well as an instrumental solo.
2. “C-Instrumental” – Utilizing the aforementioned, unidentified synth instrument. A bright melody with an interest back-beat. The intriguing synth use continues throughout the record. The synth and ukulele continue throughout the album.
3. “After All” – Are there any answers, after all? Added tambourine.
4. “Sister Big Boobs” – This song is about an attractive church lady, distractingly endowed. It’s an engaging and honest portrayal discussing the struggle between religious concentration and temptation (editors note: the song never blames the woman for how she looks. Mike is too intelligent for that). Mike Indest told me an interesting side note on this song. If I recollect the details well, it goes something like the following. While The 77s (or Michael Roe) were working on a GoFundMe (or some funding site) project, someone purchased the option for Mike Roe to sing any song. This song was requested, yet the recording never occurred or never found release. I, for one, would have enjoyed hearing the performance. Alas.
5. “Sirens” – One of the tracks found on the Motonaut EP. “I sing along with the sirens. As they lead me to destruction.”
6. “One of Them” – “They flatter themselves in their eyes. And I feel like I’m one of them. Do you see me as a man after your heart? Or do you see me as one who cursed your name?” Examining cultural hypocrisy in the church, and self-examination.
7. “Inside Jokes” – A carnival feel to this tune, appropriate and likely intentional. Relationship of friends in a musical project reaching for success. “Staying up all night long. Listening to Art Bell and trying to write some songs.” R.I.P. Art Bell.
8. “I Guess We’re All Gonna Find Out” – “When you’re stuck between the now and the not yet, does it all start to make sense?”
This being a 37-song album, descriptions of the first eight will hopefully compel the curious to check it out for themselves at the Bandcamp site for Mike Indest, where much (all?) of his music is offered for free. Mike has much to offer with thought provoking lyrics and well-constructed music.[[2019 Independent | Download: mikeindest.bandcamp.com]