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Sep 07, 2015

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The Expanding Flower Planet

(Anticon)

Casting her wavy veil of kaleidoscopic pop over the end of this summer’s release season is Angel Deradoorian, previously of Dirty Projectors fame. Yet on just her first full length release as a solo artist, The Expanding Flower Planet, Deradoorian has found a niche for herself outside previous successes in her downtempo wails. It’s her voice, a voice that was a pillar of previous work, that has now evolved into the structure of the work rather than a support. With Gregorian style chanting and a cacophony of organ music, the album takes on a religious fervor in the way Deradoorian sings, writes, and composes.

On the outside, the album is an exploration; charting large, intangible themes like love and knowledge, all through the filter of a ear-tugging experimental style that sounds alien and familiar simultaneously. There is an ethereal feeling about that album, transcendent of just the music. Arguably, this comes from an overarching message of being content with the universe in one's own singularity. The album was primarily composed, performed, and recorded by Deradoorian, adding a few extra instruments for depth. It seems so obvious that, on her first solo work, Deradoorian would wholly embrace her position as mastermind of the album, making it her own with intricate melodies reminiscent of krautrock and math rock. Yet, the spritely jabs on the keyboard flow through the music, gesturing faintly to her time working on Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks as keyboardist alongside genre-bending master David Portner. Her own evolution as a musician has lead the album to take on characteristics of the creator-- chaotic yet in tune with her own strengths, utilizing techniques of her eastern European ancestors. It’s a unique combination of east and west: distinct sitar cascading over synth and electric guitar.

From the very first track of the album, Deradoorian embraces this dichotomy. In a modern track that still sounds as if it could have fit into the Laurence of Arabia soundtrack, “A Beautiful Woman” captures what seems exotic about her out of the box style, yet acts as a self affirming mantra, something completely genre, nationality, and race transcending-- a firm grip on one’s own self esteem.

On “Komodo” the artists opts for a romanticism and what could only be described as the sound a russian ballerina would make while pirouetting-- and also covered in tiny bells. It’s a gentle song, a song of distinct femininity. It combines the gorgeous falsetto of Deradoorian herself, stretching from whisper to open-throated undulation at the drop of a hat. The song demonstrates her range as an artist, and creates a delicate serenity in a lengthy four and a half minute track.

Not to downplay her previous skills, or diminish the amazing work that the Dirty Projectors did with their time in the spotlight, but Angel Deradoorian was always meant to shine alone. In her creative freedom, she has crafted an exemplary album that should be praised by any up-and-coming artists as a manual of non-conformism. Defying genre, creating her own sound, and generally just doing what she wants to do, Deradoorian is still pioneering in a charted world, and The Expanding Flower Planet is just the first stepping stone to a terrific future.

Zach Simon