Tabs Out | Sunset Diver – Seagulls

Sunset Diver – Seagulls
7.31.18 by Ryan Masteller

Movies are so important. By now you’ve probably noticed I quote them way too often when I’m writing around here, drawing from others the humor or insight I can’t seem to coax from myself. It’s just so much easier sometimes to riffle through my mind’s catalog of movie quotes to make a point than to conjure an original thought. Although, when you think about it, to have such a vast catalog at your brain’s fingertips is in fact pretty impressive. Maybe there’s actually something that I’ve learned from all the movies I’ve consumed that I can apply to legitimate real-world situations. I’d like to think that’s true – otherwise, I’m wasting a ton of gray matter on stuff that doesn’t mean anything. Let’s assume I’m actually a vast library of practical knowledge and leave it at that.

Maybe Sunset Diver is also a vast library of practical knowledge. At least Devin Johnson, the man behind the moniker, would probably be keen on us referring to him in that way, because he and I seem to share the common trait of having a steel trap of a mind when it comes to film information. And he puts that ability to good use on “Seagulls,” his super-fab tape on KMAN 92.5 Tapes. “Seagulls” is a plunderphonic wonderland, drawing beyond the music itself from around forty films – there’s even a handy list accompanying the tape of what’s been pilfered. Among the luminaries are Welles, Fellini, Truffaut, Tarkovsky, Huston, Wenders, Antonioni, Kubrick, Roeg, Resnais, Bergman, and Nicholas Ray – they’re all here!

(And to circle back to my inherent inability to write something new and original, I’ve already made this Simpsons reference, and not even that long ago. I feel like I’m ripping off myself sometimes.)

Woozy beats and moody atmospheres prop up the samples, casting “Seagulls” as a drifting noir more interested in allowing the human condition to spread out and react to its surroundings than plotting a course of action for a set of characters. And that’s what makes “Seagulls” so compelling – like the filmmakers it samples, it’s fully interested in character and tone, a combination that compels repeat listens in order to suss out your own feelings about the work. Not only that, but the film samples are not obvious at all – they don’t come out and wallop you on the noggin with the clarity of their source. They’re woven deep within the material, accoutrements to a greater and fascinating whole.

“Seagulls” is limited to 50 from KMAN 92.5 Tapes, so grab one and then hit up the Criterion sale at your nearest Borders! … My bad, Borders isn’t around anymore. I guess I can’t rely on my memory for everything…

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