by Molly Larson
Going Going Gone is the third album of Alex Brettin’s solo project, Mild High Club. It comes five years after his ambitious sophomore album, Skiptracing. Brettin’s musical style seamlessly fuses indie, pop, psychedelic, and jazz elements to create layered tracks that defy genre. Though originally from the Midwest, his new Los Angeles roots shine through in his aesthetic – picture a man at the beach with a handlebar mustache and a Super 8 film camera.
Going Going Gone asserts ‘70s electronic and jazz styles as a dominant influence in its character and production. At times, the album feels like a modern retelling of the ideas that artists like Herbie Hancock explored in the 1970s and ’80s – adding Brettin’s own interpretation, modern pop elements, and production. Specifically, Mild High Club’s “A New High” draws strong parallels to Hancock’s 1979 track, “Trust Me,” with similar vocal effects and foundations of bass and piano. Overall, the album features stronger jazz influences than Brettin’s previous releases, which allows him to play around with more complex chord modulations. Brettin leans into this complexity more with each project. After Skiptracing, he described this growth as a pool: “Timeline was me putting a toe in the water, Skiptracing is me diving in, and on the next one, I’ll finally be doing laps.” Though it took a five year hiatus, Brettin made good on his promise to outdo himself once again with his new arrangements.
A casual, preoccupied listener will enjoy the atmosphere and grooving, slight head-bobbing energy of the album. But the tracks on the album are deceptively complex. If one delves into the songs and takes in all the moving parts, modulations, instrumentation, and effects that Brettin has poured into it, they are left with a much deeper appreciation for his style of composition and production. And it shouldn’t be too hard to devote full attention for the duration of a track, as the average track time is only two and a half minutes and the whole 12-song album lasts a little less than 30 minutes. This sets the fusion project apart from its jazz foundation, as most jazz albums feature longer songs that delve deeper into the ideas within them. Brettin utilizes shorter explorations with the depth coming mostly from the layers and modulations within the track, a denser approach that he keeps accessible by infusing pop and nostalgic influences. Standout tracks include “It’s Over Again” and “Dionysian State” – both saturated with groove and nostalgic timbre.
Going Going Gone feels like a good morning with a cup of tea and a warm breeze. The album is the perfect soundtrack for walking around town and losing all track of time on a nice day – though you may have to loop it to make this daze last.