Shuffle | Stage Hands
Download new music from the comfortably diverse PA duo.
by Joshua P. Ferguson
Brandon Locher's happy place is in juxtaposition. As a visual artist who we discovered through his work with the Ghostly International label—most recently on a series of beautiful wallpaper and screen savers—he is a master of high contrast, blending the intricate with the wide open and bright patches of white with whole canvases of infinite black (or vice versa). As Stage Hands, with longtime friend and proficient percussionist Gerald Mattis, Locher revels in contrast of the musical variety, bringing together the live and the programmed in a cross-genre medley that spans IDM, ambient, downtempo and jazz.
The pair's self-titled debut, due out this week on hometown label My Idea of Fun, is a tight turn through the Stage Hands sound, meandering from the beatific chill out of the album opener, also titled "Stage Hands," to the casual boom-bap of tracks like "The Populating of Empty Space" and lead single "#unabomber," each in their own way recalling greats like Plaid or Boards of Canada. Elsewhere, as on "Regardless," a quirkier sort of IDM-highlife-jazz shines through and let's Mattis' sure hands behind the kit do the heavy lifting.
This may be the debut from Stage Hands, but not so for Locher and Mattis. Locher in particular has a rich—and possibly unsung—history of pushing musical boundaries, of which this project is only the latest. Stage Hands is only a glimpse into what the two are capable of, but it's enough to pique our curiosity and keep us in eager anticipation of what's to come.