Angel Deradoorian first entered the spotlight as a member of acclaimed U.S. outfit Dirty Projectors. She helped define the band’s distinctive vocal sound with her and bandmate Amber Coffman’s shared melodies, and playful harmonies flanking the vocal acrobatics of bandleader Dave Longstrength. Not to mention her remarkable prowess as bass player for the band.
Since leaving Dirty Projectors in 2012 Deradoorian has remained busy as a member of Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, as well as providing guest vocal spots for the likes of Flying Lotus and Brandon flowers amongst others.
Her first solo venture, 2009’s Mind Raft EP was a fairly loose batch of bedroom pop, which hinted at Deradoorian’s wide-ranging influences.
Fast-forward to 2015 and her debut LP, The Expanding Flower Planet, seems like a more fully realised vision that represents a huge leap forward in terms of song writing and composition.
The album title, derived from a Chinese mandala tapestry on Deradoorian’s studio wall, is certainly apt, evoking the psychedelic pop of the 1960s, as well as the eastern influences scattered throughout the album’s 10 tracks.
Opener and lead single ‘A Beautiful Woman’ exemplifies the 60s influence with a solid bass/drum groove providing the backbone for the snaking guitar and organ melodies. But the vocals undoubtedly take centre stage with a simple verse melody setting the scene before opening up into a richly layered, sing-along chorus that betrays the personal yearning of the lyrics.
Title track ‘Expanding Flower Planet’ introduces some of the aforementioned eastern influences pairing primitive chanting and repetitive, prayer-circle percussion, alluring the listener with its meditative charm.
Elsewhere ‘Komodo’ is equal parts medieval ballad and traditional Asian music, whilst ‘The Eye’ rekindles some of the upbeat groove of the album opener.
Responsible for majority of the instrumentation on the album, Deradoorian’s musical chops are certainly impressive, and her fondness for subtle imperfections combined with the idiosyncratic style and approach makes for interesting and unusual nuances. In most cases the individual parts are relatively understated, but taken as a whole create an elaborate tapestry, much like the one from which the album takes its name.
The Expanding Flower Planet is an assured debut that cements Deradoorian as a promising solo artist.