Andrew LaVogue clears his mind and finds his center on the peaceful Surrounded by the Northern Lights.
LaVogue, a resident of Portland, ME, recorded this EP of psych-leaning solo guitar pieces as a way to musically describe his experience of escaping from the world of 2020 into the wilds of Acadia National Park, and his journey to regain composure and clarity out in nature. This loose narrative certainly comes through in the songs, which progress from stoic electric guitar meditations to joyfully spacey fingerpicking.
The album’s ambient and post-rock elements, like the strong use of reverb and cosmic drones, help to push the music into a more heady zone, truly nailing the sense that you’re hearing a reflection of the musician’s state of mind. Even on the acoustic “Sun at Sand Beach” has just enough echo placed on it that you get the feeling that LaVogue is taking the listener through a memory, and a very pleasant one at that.
However the EP’s theme really hits home when you compare the bookending title tracks, “Surrounded by Northern Lights Part 1” and “Part 2.” The album opens of course with “Part 1,” which at times is tense and restrained, like the guitarist is still feeling closed off and detached from the world. Yet, the concluding “Part 2” is more upbeat, with fingerpicking that sounds almost like something from an Elizabeth Cotten tune, showing that he has indeed come out of his shell and developed a new found happiness and inner peace. It’s a beautiful journey to hear from start to finish, especially for those of us who can’t take a similar trek in the outdoors right now.
If you were a fan of the latest records by the likes of Reticence, Prana Crafter or William Tyler, then this is an EP that you need to try out. Give it a try right here.