Dan Alcantara Reviews Protoglitch

After 30 years of making music, Erik Austin Deerly has chosen to go back to his roots, making electronic music that is fused with world music. The result? Pretty spooky. His songwriting process has morphed over the years from working on making pop radio-friendly tunes to taking a more cinematic approach to composing. Where song structure was once king, emotion has taken the throne.

He recorded his album Protoglitch in Pilsen, a neighborhood of Chicago, and handled mixing and mastering at his newly adopted home, Pulp & Pixel Farm in Kokomo, Indiana (not the Kokomo from the Beach Boys song).

The opening track, “Skern Runestone,” could almost be a Bjork song. It’s really interesting to listen to and matches well with the way her music and melodies flow. What keeps it from being a Bjork song, however, is the liberty taken with pitch in the melody. Bjork can get a bit creative with how she sings a song, but this is just way out there. “The Paix Incident” is a true melting pot, there are psychedelic guitars, blues organs, and creepy whispers all together in the same track. It’s unnerving and disarming and grabs your attention. I listened in awe, trying to understand the mind that thought to put all of that together into something so cohesive.

Much of the singing on the album takes the form of looping whispers and occasional chants. They remind me a lot of some Native American singing. Much of it sounds like a foreign language. Coupled with the mellow nature of the music, the effect is very spooky. I occasionally felt that someone was creeping up behind me. This was especially true on “Tendu,”a song that revolves around a groove and works every angle it can of that one groove. “Dermal” is the most organic sounding of the songs on the album, based around a guitar and filled in with atmospherics. It’s quite a melancholy song that leads into an equally melancholy song called “Ghost Station.” It starts off with the sound of a low harmonium and builds with a beautiful string arrangement.

The album continues along the same theme of exploring a groove and figuring out what else can go with that core. For an electronic album, it either has a lot of organic instruments or some very high quality digital reproductions. I was unable to make a decision on what was used much of the time. The sounds are so natural that they almost have to be real.

— Dan Alcantara, The Equal Ground