This ‘Deradoorian’ article was written by Ben Harding, a GIGsoup contributor
Angel Deradoorian has had quite the interesting career. Primarily known for her work on a few Dirty Projectors records, providing bass along with her unique and luscious vocal talent to the eccentric songwriting styles of Dave Longstreth; you could say Angel has made quite a mark on the indie rock scene. Besides her work with the Dirty Projectors, she has made collaborations with some of indie’s most recognizable characters such as Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, Vampire Weekend etc. With these selection of artists providing a mixed bag of genres for Angel to work with, fans of her collaborations have been wondering if this eclectic approach to music will translate over to her own music.
It’s been a long wait since we have been able to get an answer to this question. An inkling of what this approach may sound like however came roughly 6 years ago in 2009 when Deradoorian released an E.P. of a mere 5 tracks with some remixes thrown in for good measure. The E.P. was obviously short and sweet, with sounds that was somewhat reminiscent of what could be heard on those Dirty Projectors records. But Deradoorian added something quite unique which made the E.P. it’s own, and that was her voice and approach to instrumentation. Now 6 years later, we finally have her debut album and it’s definitely been worth the wait, as The Expanding Flower Planet is an impressive example of what Deradoorian could potentially achieve as a solo songstress, and is most certainly one of the most interesting albums of 2015.
Unlike her debut E.P., Deradoorian is definitely heading for something more engaging as far as songwriting goes, as a lot of the tracks here demonstrate creative, unconventional song structures. These structures come off very progressive, but are somehow incredibly accessible at the same time. This accessibility directly comes from within Angel herself, and that is her incredibly beautiful and diverse vocal range which complements the sometimes very odd instrumentation. The opening track A Beautiful Woman demonstrates this oddness right off the bat, with a song that is fore fronted by drum and heavy basslines, combined with the album’s signature feature and that is Deradoorian’s layered vocals. A production trick which is sometimes used lazily, is used almost genius like throughout this record, as it manages to pull off the illusion that the Angel era of Dirty Projectors is still very much alive and well.
Although the overall production isn’t that reminiscent of her previous collaborations, the vocal layering on each of these tracks says otherwise. This production technique is used perfectly throughout and continues to be the utter highlight. Track Violet Minded one of the catchier numbers combines all of these elements. Although it is fairly slow moving, it’s progressive nature manages to keep it incredibly interesting and fresh until it’s closing jam session. A strong influence of world music seems to be a common theme and an inspiration to Deradoorian as the title track demonstrates. It’s almost Sgt. Pepper/Ravi Shankar like due to the Indian music esche instrumentation, to the point where George Harrison would most certainly be proud with this eccentricity.
Komodo, a track that tells the story of a dragon seeming to be very fond of destruction, is very haunting and beautiful despite it’s dramatic and violent story it seems to tell. Lyrics such as ‘Komodo coming through, run for your lives, run for the hills, don’t close your eyes’ is delivered with a sense of urgency, but under the lush instrumentation keeps the listener believing that everything will be perfectly okay, despite the potential horrible encounter. It’s the contradiction on this song which makes it perfect, with a middle section providing subtle horns and swelling bass lines adding to this beauty.
The back half of the album with songs such as The Eye, provide a grooving element to Deradoorian’s songwriting abilities. It’s consistent upbeat tempo with a somewhat distorted vocal, is incredibly flamboyant in its direction throughout the course of the track. Synth work also comes into play here complementing the glorious bass work; although the bass line itself is fairly simple in its structure, the roaring vocal and progressive song nature allow it to flourish into something quite special. It really is a testament to the continuing variety this album has to offer, and it truly makes it incredibly memorable.
The Expanding Flower Planet is certainly an oddball of an album, the production is layered brilliantly and is perfectly creative, the instrumentation is eclectic and pays a very nice homage to world music. Angel Deradoorian is certainly ticking all right boxes concerning her musical progression, and this impressive debut proves that she can stand her own ground despite being most well known for her prestigious collaborations. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take her another 6 years to put out another album with influences that Ravi Shankar and George Harrison alike would be most proud of.
‘The Expanding Flower Planet’ is out now on Anticon