Much of the music I have enjoyed this past year comprises of two themes: reclusiveness and forests. Whether it is the Antler’s account of loss and isolation on Hospice, Animal Collective’s earthy tones on Merriweather Post Pavilion, or the burly heir of everything rustic and secluded – Bon Iver, all uphold the premise that forming any sincere art must revolve around woodlands and solitude. Logos though not overtly dressed in plaid and flaunting a frost-laden beard exudes a familiar sentiment. Bradford Cox, the voice behind Deerhunter, returns to his solo project Atlas Sound to release his follow up to last year’s therapeutic shoegaze spectacle Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel. 4AD and Kranky Records will release Logos in Europe on October 19 and in North America on October 20.
Logos comes off as dynamic collage of sounds fusing together to form an interesting pattern – much like the aforementioned plaid garb. The record ties together a broad range of influences imparted upon Cox:
“My last album was a bedroom laptop type thing. Very introverted. Logos is an album that was recorded all over the world. It’s not about me. There are collaborations with other musicians. The lyrics are not autobiographical. The view is a lot more panoramic and less close-up. I became bored with introspection. Each song on the album has a similar story. That might be my favorite thing about the album. It’s a collection of songs. There are little scrapbook details everywhere.”
The tracks on Logos in contrast to his previous effort Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel shine as mature pieces rather than successful experimentation. The eerie ghosting moments scattered throughout ‘The Light That Failed’ bear resemblance to Deerhunter’s Lockett Pundt who released The Floodlight Collective earlier this year as Lotus Plaza, while Logos is then able to effortlessly swing to tracks in the vein of ‘Criminals’, leading listeners to believe a hallucinating Zach Condon is strumming a backing ukulele in a psychedelic daze to the cadence of Cox’s whispers.
The album flourishes in a style expected on Feels, the vocal distorts and patience in developing melody create shining peaks backed by a murmuring Bradford Cox on ‘An Orchid’. Considering Logos was a one-take project, the album exhibits a spontaneity that is lost on polished studio recordings. The impulsive approach creates a soundtrack that is simultaneously a candid reflection of all those involved, while enigmatically focused. The booming headliner of Logos, ‘Walkabout’ features Noah Lennox of Panda Bear; a light-hearted refrain layered in carefree optimism and swelling vocals coaxes out hip-swings, entices head-bobs, and heartens an aimless frolic. Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier joins Cox creating pacifying echoes that parade atop of swaying percussion and passive snares to sedate listeners for nine minutes on the shining ‘Quick Canal’.
Logos captures beauty in a way that teases refinement and mocks the notion that time and effort equates success. The feeling is lost in thought and the expressive imperfections hide, appealing to head rather than heart. Atlas Sound proposes intricacies of composition to tangle with repetitions that implore patience, just as each tree and leaf is unique, drifting away with Logos becomes an experience of renewal instead of monotony. Bradford Cox allows the record to uncover definitions on its own, statements are neither implied nor affirmed, significance is to be created, and with an entire forest worth of meaning to explore, it blossoms. Perhaps Logos is about the joy of coming to terms with being lost – it does not require a reason to run away, maybe it is oblivious to its own separation, it does however call attention to the details missed, and in discovering that the album finds an undeniable charm in withdrawal.