Since the departure of Angel Deradoorian in 2012, Dirty Projectors have been on a steady path into self-importance and simplicity. Deradoorian has conversely carved her way into quiet, playful and more experimental territory than ever before.
Disembodied Improvisations Vol. 1 seems to have been released as a sort of non-album; a nebulous collection of noodles. But it should not be dismissed as some kind of side-project. It's a narcotic, mysterious and foggy thing. There is far more to peel back here than on Projectors' recent Lamp Lit Prose.
The album is as broad and strange as it is understated. The best description of its sound would be an ecclesiastical reimagining of the Doors. It's loose, improvisatory and freewheeling, but has a breathy delicacy never really attempted by the Lizard King's band. Images are brought up of water gardens, temples; placid, pastoral scenes and sublime nature.
In some moments, Deradoorian approaches the gentility of Liz Harris. It's hard not to think of the Portlandia sketch 'Battle of the Gentle Bands', given how feather-light the artist's touch is here. But even then, simple bass riffs underline songs. These grooves ensure a trot, rather than a trudge. Avoiding the ambient pitfalls of 'wishy-washy'-ness, Deradoorian has knocked it out of the park. Here's hoping her former bandmate can turn things back around soon too.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe