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      Homeshake in Portland


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      August 17, 2019

      Saturday   9:00 PM

      1300 SE Stark St
      Portland, Oregon 97214

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      Homeshake

      with KeithCharles
      When you walk alone, youre never lost. At least, thats the operating principle behind Homeshake, the recording project of Peter Sagar. Over his first three albums, Sagar followed his own idiosyncratic vision, a journey thats taken him from sturdy guitar-based indie-pop to, on 2017s Fresh Air, a bleary-eyed take on lo-fi R&B. Now, with Helium, Sagar is putting down roots in aesthetic territory all his own. Landscape that he once viewed from a distance now forms the bedrock of his sound, and from here, he looks back out at the world as if through a light fog, composing songs that feel grounded and intimate, even as they explore a dispersed feeling of isolation. Its a feeling that comes through not only in the gauziness of the production, but also in the vulnerability of the songs themselves. Sagar began writing Helium shortly after completing Fresh Air, and in the middle of what he calls a binge reading of Haruki Murakami. Its not hard to picture the narrator of these songs as a distinctly Murakamian character: He moves through time by himself, bemused by and insulated from a world he doesnt quite seem to have been made for. Everyone Sagar encounters here including himself seems to be a step removed from present reality, whether by technology (Anything At All), solitude (Just Like My), or sweet fantasy (Like Mariah). The record is stitched together by a series of instrumental interludes, synthesizer explorations whose haziness adds to the suspicion that this is all an uncanny dream. Which isnt to say that Sagar is unmoored in his own world. In fact, much of Helium is the result of what he calls a much clearer mental state than the one hed experienced shortly following Fresh Airs completion. I had a better idea of the sound that was working for this record and what it was turning into as I was writing the songs, he says. Thats owing in part to the albums genesis. Where his previous three records were recorded directly to one-inch tape in a local studio, Helium was recorded and mixed by Sagar alone in his apartment in Montreals Little Italy neighborhood between April and June of this year. Freed of the rigid editing process hed endured before, he was able to lose himself in pursuit of tone and texture. I didnt have to book time, compete for good hours, wait on availability. I did a lot of it at home in the middle of the night, he says. It made me get more obsessive about details. A budding interest in ambient and experimental music particularly Visible Cloaks, DJ Rashad, and Jlin pushed him to tinker with the micro-sounds that surround the songs here. Its a process he found creatively invigorating; even the tinkling boom-bap of Young Thug informs All Night Long. Its a far cry from the chorus-laden guitars of his earlier work. Ever since I started introducing synthesizers into my music, Ive gotten more interested in texture, he says. Id hit a creative dead end [with guitars], so synths took over. The warm chords of a Roland Juno 60 form the albums base, and gave him a clean palette with which to work. No tape hiss, no humming power outlets and shitty mixing boards, as he puts it. Everything just came out nice and pure. Still, for all the growth it demonstrates and the ways it luxuriates in its discoveries, Helium is at its core a record that isnt beholden to any particular set of sounds, textures, or instruments to get its point across. In that sense, it feels closer to the bone, at once assured of its vision and remarkably vulnerable. Its perhaps our purest view yet of Homeshakes home country.

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