Deep Magic: Reflections of Most Forgotten Love

Reflections of Most Forgotten Love, the third Deep Magic album by LA-based, Sun Araw live band member Alex Gray, perpetuates the blissed-out sunblindedness of the project's previous output. The forty-three minute set's a dizzying, kaleidoscopic swirl of skittering fragments, synth shimmer, fractured pianos, guitar shards, warm organ tones, and fragmented voices. It's a restless shapeshifter whose ten tracks typically seem to want to splinter off into multiple directions—more often than not within a single piece. Dramatic contrasts of mood abound, with serenity and agitation juxtaposed as if it's the most natural thing in the world.

“Only Me” stands out for its relatively straightforward folk-styled arrangement, and at times, a single instrument dominates, such as acoustic piano during “I've Been Thinking” and acoustic guitar in “Only Me,” but more often than not a Deep Magic piece plays like an episodic swirl of hazy, dubbed-out drift. Adding to the trippiness of the material, the tracks' elements swim to and fro within the stereo field, their forms typically mangled by liberal doses of processing and other treatments. “Only You,” “She Can Feel My Sadness,” and “Something in Her Eyes” sound like the titles of sentimental vocal ballads, but that's obviously not what you're gonna get from Reflections of Most Forgotten Love. Having said that, a strong emotional undercurrent can be detected within Gray's fluttering, cosmic-folk pastoralia, as evidenced by the sunny quality that imbues “Brighter Days” with uplift.

August-September 2013