Brian Borcherdt is not a name you’d typically associate with acoustic folk; the man has spent the last six years of his life touring with Canadian electronica outfit Holy Fuck. However, he has since stepped out from behind the synth and 35 mm film synchronizer to try his hand at something new. The result is the raw and crunchy folk record Total Dust, which he released under the name Dusted.
Total Dust‘s first single, “(Into The) Atmosphere,” might shock fans of Borcherdt’s previous work because of the song’s brightness. The soft vocals and incandescent guitars give the song a fun, light, tropical feel while still remaining rooted in folksy ground. “All Comes Down” and “Pale Light” are more tonally heavy-hearted, with darker, bluesier guitars gently kissed by a distortion pedal. Borcherdt’s vocals remain clean though as he repeatedly resounds, “When will it all come down,” creating a perfect balance of somberness and light.
The album peaks with the guitar-driven “Property Lines.” The clank sound of the strings during the riff and the harsh blend of chords come together to showcase just how raw Dusted can get. Dusted also shows its softer side on Total Dust. “Bruises” mellows out the earlier half of the record with a slowed-down drum-machine beat and humming piano lines. “Low Humming” gently drones over a simple and melancholy guitar.
When the album closes with “There Somehow,” Borcherdt ends on a quiet, optimistic note. Clocking in at a short minute and a half, he sings in a low range but with high hopes. “Whatever it takes to know you/Whatever the lengths we’ll go to/We’ll get there somehow,” he sings before kicking into a higher and more triumphant sound. It’s almost like a prediction for his future: Borcherdt has achieved success in the electronic world, and now he’s set on making it work in a new realm.