Geographer Takes Us Past Postmodernism to Ghost Modernism

5 Feb

San Francisco indie electro-pop artists, Geographer, will release their 3rd full-length album, Ghost Modern on March 24th. Geographer’s brand of electro-pop is intricate and, according to lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Mike Deni, “past Postmodernism into something darker, something emptier: Ghost Modernism.”

Almost all of the songs have multiple layers of sonic surfaces and textures. Deni truly expresses his artistry in every composition — with sensitive, revealing lyrics and precisely produced arrangements. The tracks can vary from fully orchestrated chamber pop with intermixed effects to catchy melodic pop — and everything in-between.

Other members of the band include cellist/electronics player, Nathan Blaz, and drummer/vocalist, Brian Ostreicher. The band’s two previous full albums include 2008’s Innocent Ghosts and 2012’s Myth, together with an EP called Animal Shapes from 2010. If you’re new to Geographer, my suggestion is to start with “Kites,” “Verona,” or “Original Sin” from Animal Shapes. These are great songs. Then, turn your attention to the more mature Ghost Modern.

After a short intro, the second track of the album, “I’m Ready,” is its first single. It’s dynamic electro-pop with “swelling sonic structures” matched by Deni’s amazing vocal range. He glides effortlessly from his natural voice to soaring falsettos, backed by full string accompaniment. Deni’s lyrics paint a picture of his dilemma as he tries to make sense of life and his presence in the world. “You were staring at the ocean/Like it’s a language you could learn/But the truth is it’s a cruel gift/Turn around and watch it burn.”

“Too Much” is mellow and lighter than air, with a very luxurious feeling. It’s another great example of how Deni glides through his vocal range. The track becomes fully orchestrated — almost to the point of chamber pop.

“Need” has a tribal feel. It’s bigger — closer to power pop than the others, with tumbling timpani drums and amazing vocal gymnastics. “The Fire” is also built on complex, busy drum patterns, with fuzzy synths and ominous vocals that relentlessly climb.

“Patience” is the simplest and most austere song on the album. It features glistening, almost Asian-sounding synth arpeggios and delicate piano, layered with smooth vocals and strings.

And don’t overlook the closer. “Falling Apart” sounds wistful with something of a world beat. The melody swells and builds, together with creatively layered strings and guitar. It’s a very introspective feeling.

Geographer will be appearing as part of Noise Pop 2015 at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Friday, February 27th. I’m sure they’ll do a number of songs from Ghost Modern. Don’t miss them!

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