Navigating through life’s tangled, beautiful web is often confusing and uncertain. Dylan Parkin, the one-man-band behind A Paper Corner is well aware of this as he favors the journey over the destination in his new EP, I Don’t Know. Parkin, who recently moved to Golden, CO from Pensacola, FL, embraces the vulnerability of change in both his music and his persona. Despite the deeply personal narrative laced throughout Parkin’s music, there is something refreshingly candid about his delivery. It’s clear in the music video for “I Don’t Know” that he doesn’t always take himself so seriously.
Although Parkin’s music might be categorized as dream-pop or shoegaze, his unique sound transcends these traditional labels. His music feels like a strong mixed drink after a tough day, equal parts sweet and intoxicating. After listening to I Don’t Know, you’ll be sure to want another round.
The two-track EP takes inspiration from psychedelic indie bands like Washed Out and Mk.Gee,
featuring layered, heavily reverbed-laden vocals and psychedelic guitar passages. For approximately eight minutes, A Paper Corner accompanies the listener on a journey towards a beautiful,
desolate place. Perhaps he’s taking us to the dark side of the moon, or perhaps it’s another planet entirely. Parkin acknowledges he is not quite sure of his final stop on his personal and artistic journey but he finds himself embracing the moment, regardless.
The psychedelic synth-pop song “I Don’t Know” is a self-reflective, slightly chaotic experience that represents life’s unpredictable nature in both its sound and lyrical structure. “Well the truth is I don’t know where we are until we get there,” Parker sings as he introduces his unique voice. As the tambourine continues, the distorted baseline suspends the listener in mid-air. The song maintains a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet until Parkin strips back the instrumentals in the last 30 seconds, coming down for a smooth and successful landing.
The second track “Slick Richard and the Dream Disease” is an expansion of Slick Richard, a character who is previously seen on A Paper Corner’s Humans album, released last year. While Humans’ first track “Slick Richard and the Sloopy Machine,” begins with an obtrusively psychedelic guitar, “Slick Richard and the Dream Disease” takes a more subtle approach in favor of an alternative, ambient sound.
A sentimental letter to old friends, Slick Richard’s return on the I Don’t Know EP is a straightforward representation of nostalgia and gratitude. “Hello old friend, it’s been a while, I don’t miss you as much as I used to,” Parker sings. “But I don’t think nothing’s wrong, cause I see you still.” As we grow older, old friends fade into the memories of our past lives, but they are never truly gone. Parkin embraces this feeling, chanting “you make it better, you make it better.”
I Don’t Know serves as a brief reintroduction to Parkin and his artistic direction. What makes these songs so special is the delicate balance Parkin reaches between introspective lyrics covered in ambiance and the slightly candid nature with which the project was created. It’s clear Parkin embraced this singular moment as his chance to introduce himself to the Colorado scene. His distinct and solitary sound continues to provide a pleasant experience accompanied by intriguing themes, and I look forward to hearing what he’s going to do next.
You can listen to A Paper Corner here, on Spotify.