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We may be nearing spring, but Minneapolis’ Magnetic Ghost is back and relishing the remaining winter chill, with the stoically atmospheric Pixels.

Magnetic Ghost, AKA Andrew Larson, has expanded his unique brand of loner folk here to a fuller, near-cinematic scope that features deeper shades of dark psychedelia and post-rock. It is through the surreal aspects of these two genres that Larson characterizes and portrays the distorted and slightly fractured perspectives of our own realities that we all have gained as a result of modern technology. This seems to be the central theme of this record (hence name Pixels…)

This is perhaps most evident in the cold, yet hypnotic ethereal rock of “Thrall.” Waves of spacey slide guitar and disorienting drones sway and pulsate behind ghostly harmonies, which ask, “is this simulated? Is this even real?” The existential crises of the smartphone age has never been depicted musically in such a clear and frankly, enjoyably listenable way…possibly ever.

Potentially the one aspect of this record that steers it into a different direction from the prior Magnetic Ghost releases is its emphasis on vocals. Larson’s singing takes center stage in most of the songs, serving as the emotional core for each composition. Some of the album’s most beautifully haunting moments are when his reverb-slathered multi-tracked voice harmonizes with the back-up singer, Holly Habstritt-Gaal. Those little instances of sonic magic alone make this album worth the buy.

If you’re moved by the more realistic episodes of Black Mirror and the works of Radiohead and Sigur Ros, then Magnetic Ghost’s Pixels is an album that you’ll definitely be obsessed with forever onwards. Pre-order this stellar record ahead of its February 28th release date here.

-KH


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