Deradoorian Mind Raft [EP]

[Lovepump United; 2009]

Styles: experimental rock, folk
Others: Low, Beach House, Dirty Projectors

Those who have followed Dirty Projectors’ journey from small shows at Brooklyn outposts to crowded festival extravaganzas may be surprised to learn that Angel Deradoorian, the band’s bass player and vocalist, is only 22. Despite Dirty Projectors' seemingly full-time touring career and the release of their forthcoming album Bitte Orca, Deradoorian has found the time to record and release her first EP, Mind Raft. Released on Lovepump United -- home to Clipd Beaks, Crystal Castles and others -- Mind Raft may not signify any one typical genre, but it does show a predilection for glittering rock, religious chant-inspired vocals, and R&B.

Deradoorian’s lineage encouraged musicianship; her parents performed as a piano-and-saxophone jazz duo in the 1970s, and she eschewed her final moments of high school to focus on music. Certainly the wide-ranging yet studious aesthetic of Dirty Projectors main man David Longstreth, the executive producer of this EP, has contributed to her real-world development. In addition to Longstreth, she’s supported here by her brother Aram, Projectors drummer Brian McComber, guitarist Robby Moncrieff (who also helped produce), and drummers Ben Greenberg and Marc Goodman.

Deradoorian’s music is delicate and brooding, even at its loudest, such as when the undulations of the singer on her own and in chorus with herself creates a shrill, barely verbal yearning on the EP’s final track, “Moon.” The only challenge to the listener, something that fades with successive listens, is the pace of the song set, which is constrained to a slow tempo range and can, as with the hanging-head guitar strums on the first half of “Moon,” sound plodding. But the turbid atmosphere of this song and “Holding Pattern” is warm and enveloping, bringing the melodic and lyrical content into sharper focus. On “Holding Pattern,” the slow-as-molasses building harmonies of Low and the smoke-and-glitter instrumentals of Beach House come to mind.

The only song that feels unpolished and demo-like is “High Road.” It becomes more complex and layered as it rolls along, but it’s particularly slow, and the electronic decals speckled over the drums and vocals could be further refined. In contrast, “You Carry The Deed” is acoustic and pared down, but needs nothing else. Until “Holding Pattern” asserts itself, “Deed” is the star of the album. Deradoorian’s voice, which is slightly softer than her band mate’s and impeccably in tune, embellishes as the best R&B singers can, snaking up and down the scale without a hint of showmanship.

1. Weed Jam
2. High Road
3. You Carry The Deed
4. Holding Pattern
5. Moon

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