dirty projectors

January 15, 2016 4:20 pm

The first time I ever heard Angel Deradoorian was when she was a backing vocalist for Dave Longstreth’s Dirty Projectors on their breakthrough album, Bitte Orca. Each song off Bitte Orca thrives off the wild energy flowing within each jangled guitar riff and jaw-dropping hocket from Deradoorian, Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle, except for midway through when everything stops for “Two Doves.” In the most stripped down song on the album, there’s nothing but a plucking acoustic guitar, a sporadic string section, and Deradoorian’s smooth and elegant voice at the forefront. Ever since then, I was completely hooked on any project she made herself a part of.


She’s since left the band and has went on to have an eclectic string of collaborations, from Flying Lotus to Brandon Flowers as well as some very intriguing solo work. On her first EP Mind Raft, she took what made her such a special piece to the Projectors and expanded the minimalistic beauty. “Carry The Deed” sees her filling such a large portion of the space in the song with layerings of her voice alone, but then on “Holding Pattern,” it takes somewhat of a backseat to the droning guitar churns. Throughout the EP, her taste for psychedelia is apparent, most notably with “Weed Jam.” And the lack of convention in song structure adds to the free flowing feel of her voice.

While she does add some hooks to her first full length, The Expanding Flower Planet, it’s just another ingredient in the a bouillabaisse of glitched psych-pop and traditional folk, to where it’s not overwhelming, or even noticeable at times. Her work with Avey Tare on Slasher Flicks seems to have influenced certain aspects of her work, such as repeating key phrases or notes over and over. That’s a very Avey Tare/Animal Collective-ish move, but the dark and sparse nature of the album makes it in no way a facsimile. 

‘DarkLord’ has a similar disjointed nature to a Dirty Projectors track, but the pace is slowed to where you’re able to live in each off-kilter pattern happening. Each moment’s meant to be savored. And though an outlier in many ways, the slick pop atmosphere of “Beautiful Woman” doesn’t take away from the rest of the album in any way. It’s still a very bare song that just happens to feel more intricate because of its pace. And because she takes so many unexpected turns throughout Expanding Flower Planet, “Beautiful Woman” is just another part of that.

The beauty in the songs from Expanding Flower Planet comes from how she’s able to spread out so many layers while still keeping a minimalist feel. “Grow” gives each instrument its own moment alone with Deradoorian. She makes sure that her voice is always dictating where the song is going. it shows that she’s fully in touch with her own talent and has created a soundscape to compliment it perfectly.

November 6, 2015 1:00 pm

Here We Go Magic reemerged a couple of weeks ago and it seems they’ve been hitting the gym since their last record – slimming down from a five piece to a duo. It is only fitting that the band, now consisting solely of Luke Temple and Michael Bloch, titled their new album Be Small.

sc315-hwgm-fc-hr-1425 You may know Here We Go Magic from their extensive touring history, opening for big name acts like The Walkmen and Grizzly Bear. Or perhaps you know their most popular song “How Do I Know” off their critically acclaimed 2012 record A Different Ship?

Be Small opens with an “Intro.” So does A Different Ship. However, the two records don’t have much in common when you get past the first 30 seconds. Inspired by Brian Eno and John Cale’s collaborative album Wrong Way Up, Be Small is a mess of genres. But it’s a welcomed mess, one that makes the whole record feel familiar and comfortable. The album is a true hybrid, with each song tapping into the realms of Prog-rock, Soul, Electronic, Americana, and of course Indie rock.

The true opener of the album, “Stella” begins with a psychedelic looping synthesizer riff bouncing back and forth through your brain, and gradually layers on soaring lead synth, vocals, and plentiful pads. Although it lacks a traditional chorus, it builds energy throughout and is a song that immediately demands your attention.

The band then jumps into the title track “Be Small.” Again eschewing the use of a traditional verse-chorus-verse structure, Here We Go Magic here leaves the electro-pop stylings of “Stella” behind for a unique blend of the lush chordal orchestrations from bands such as Earth Wind and Fire with the earthy approachability of CSNY. As Temple advises the listener “stay low to the ground,” it’s clear thathere-we-go-magic Here We Go Magic is looking backwards for inspiration while striving forward towards new uncharted sounds.

Every song on this album has its merits, but “Tokyo London US Korea” strikes us as being particularly noteworthy, drawing on Steve Reich-esque layered rhythmic patterns while somehow including the earthen tones Here We Go Magic is known for. Some may find the title combined with the constantly shifting rhythm a bit too on-the-nose. But we find the approach refreshing and unique. Much like the album itself.

Find yourself a good pair of headphones, and listen to Be Small today.