Razors for skin

I'm not one for categorizing music, and folks like Adam Fligsten are one reason why. On first listen, this album sounds like regular electronic ambient fare. And then there is the slow realization that many of the instruments aren't electronic. They just sound like they are.

Adam Fligsten

On this album, Fligsten lays down an electronic base. Usually a set of keyboard chords, and maybe a subtle beat. But there are plenty of acoustic and electric guitars, piano and other stringed instruments. Fligsten manipulates their sound--so in that way, they are "electronic", I guess--which lends a dark color to the compositions.

This is not shiny, happy music. It's not dreary, but there is a hint of menace. I like the hint; it's very effective in providing tension. Do these songs tell stories? Some do, and others seem more like scene-setting. Either way, this is not easy listening.

Fligsten isn't always so dark. He's got an album on Bandcamp titled Play This Music to Your Plants If You Want Them to Live Their Best Plant Lives. My house is a place where plants come to die, so perhaps that would be useful, too. In any case, Fligsten's versatility within an often stilted sound is impressive. Get immersed.

Jon Worley

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