The word unique has been so vastly overused in our age of hype that most manglers of the English language feel obligated to add most or very in front of it. Unique is one of those digital words like pregnant. You either are or aren't — on or off, yes or no. Most people and things labeled "very unique" are merely slightly different, not truly unique at all. Then there is Dan Reeder. He is unique, not extremely unique or semi-unique, but simply unique. He makes all his own instruments, writes his own material, records himself in his home studio, and creates music that reflects his own singular view of the world.
One word that will never be attached to Dan Reeder is polished. His songs and performances, just like his homemade instruments, have as many rough edges as a woodworker who never uses sandpaper. Many of the cuts have background noise and hum as well as some tenuous tunings. While not truly low-fi, the recording quality here is certainly far less than current state of the art. The songs themselves are also crude. Some of them, such as "Work Song" consist of just the lyrics I've got all the f****** work I need" over and over again. Others like "These Are A Few of My Favorite Things" displays a dark view of the world that borders on ultramarine. But despite his generally curmudgeonly outlook, the songs are fresh, funny, and infectious. The "Work Song" gets a lot of airtime bouncing around in my cranium.
The graphics on Dan Reeder also deserve some attention. The pictures have a primitive power that echoes his music. Images of a coffee cup in mid spill, a tube emitting noxious fumes, and a portrait of Dan holding his hand over a lit flame echo the primordial directness of his songs. The liner notes also sport photos of his instruments. After seeing Dan's handiwork you'll never think a Dan Electro or EKO guitar is primitive again. His instruments have a certain infantile flavor reminiscent of a six-year-old's first pictures of mom and dad. His DeNAr FLEX amplifier marks a true nadir of industrial design.
Need a musical colonic? Give Dan Reeder a listen. I guarantee you will not waste the word "unique" on undeserving wannabees again.