Tag Archives: Zs

How Isolation Fueled Angel Deradoorian’s Meditative New Record

Angel Deradoorian

Photo by Camilo Fuentealba.

Just as Angel Deradoorian was preparing to release her debut solo LP—2015’s The Expanding Flower Planet—she retreated to Big Sur, California to start thinking about her next record. The New York-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist had finished Flower Planet a year earlier, but it took some time to secure a label to give it a proper release. By the time she inked a deal with Anticon, Deradoorian had already begun looking for new sounds and entertaining new philosophies for her follow-up. Eternal Recurrence is a sharp detour from Flower Planet’s warped, psychedelic pop, trading bouncy drums for droning synths, hauntingly introspective vocals, and lyrics that wrestle with love, pain, isolation, and wonder.

It’s also rooted in deep loneliness. “Being that alone, I was starting to lose an association with my body, where I felt like there was nothing really around me,” Deradoorian explains over drinks at The Lot Radio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “I wasn’t really touching other people, interacting with other people, so I was very much in my mind. In that sense, it took me out of my physical reality.”

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Greg Fox: Keeper of Time

Greg Fox

Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

There’s an old saying that goes, “a great drummer is hard to find,” but New York drummer, composer, and artist Greg Fox seems to have taken it upon himself to single-handedly pick up the slack. Over the past nine years, Fox has gone from in-demand kit mercenary to legend-in-the-making. Though he’s not exactly a household name, his stack of invitations to new projects and collaborations seems to grow by the hour. Fox first turned heads as the drummer for NYC black metal group Liturgy, and he’s spent the past three years working with everyone from free jazz luminary Milford Graves, to Chicago tech house underlord Hieroglyphic Being, to Sun Ra Arkestra member Marshall Allen, and routinely with the preeminent Colin Stetson Ensemble, the exuberantly holistic Zs—to say nothing of his own expanding body of solo work.

Watching Fox hammer away in transcendental focus welcomes the usual comparisons (“Dude is a machine!”), but to stop at his pure instrumental prowess is to ignore Fox’s status as an insatiable music scholar. Starting with the early blast beat vernacular of metal, Fox has gradually expanded into increasingly ambitious stylistic terrain, from jazz to classical to New Age. His technical chops are obvious, and his ability to quickly shift gears is an indication of his skill and range as an artist.

This month, RVNG releases Fox’s latest independent endeavor, The Gradual Progression, a maximal follow-up to 2014’s Mitral Transmission. Though both records are technically of Greg Fox solo, similarities are otherwise few. Mitral Transmission was built from a highly unusual, highly unique series of “recording sessions” that allowed Fox—with the assistance of friend and mentor Milford Graves—to map the rhythms of his heartbeat and extrapolate the results via a MIDI output file. While Mitral Transmission represents a pure corollary to Fox’s electronic heart sessions via virtual instrumentation, The Gradual Progression—as its title may suggest—swells to a nearly orchestral degree, with layers of guitar, drums, tenor sax, upright bass, vocals and a deep cache of sampled sounds. If there’s anything to be learned from Fox’s bio-sensory experiments, it’s that Fox’s heart is wildly expressive, ebullient and relentlessly free of formality.

Though The Gradual Progression takes center stage as Fox’s freshest offering, we’d be remiss if we didn’t seize the opportunity to round up our favorites from his constellation of projects. The following list comprises some additional records handpicked from Fox’s catalogue, a sort of crash course in the Lord of Crash.

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