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Album review: 'Loop Paintings' 

Seth Faergolzia

"Loop Paintings"


Seth Faergolzia is a creative chameleon. The songwriter's expressive versatility spans multiple projects, including the freak folk chamber band 23 Psaegz, the idiosyncratic art rock quartet Multibird, and experiments with vocal looping and digital sound manipulation, which he showcased at last year's Rochester Fringe Festival. It's that last venture, documented in his latest album, "Loop Paintings," that finds Faergolzia at his most experimental and bizarre — which is saying something for an artist whose résumé includes a rock opera called "Fun Wearing Underwear."

The 11-track album is an edited, live recording compilation of Faergolzia's meticulously crafted soundscapes, performed at local venues like Abilene and Photo City Improv while simultaneously creating colorful, abstract paintings that recall the primal energy and cryptic iconography of Jean-Michel Basquiat. While certain moments capture the spontaneity and creative flexibility of the live performances, most of "Loop Paintings" feels deliberate and purposeful.

The music itself — less like a collection of songs and more like a series of sonic vignettes — plays like a stream-of-consciousness hallucination in a cavernous, abandoned cathedral. The album is best experienced in one, uninterrupted sitting. Silliness and eclecticism abound, with tracks like "Oh, Carrots!" and "Architect? Sure." accentuating the weirdness.

But this unlikely a cappella album nears transcendence when it shines a light on Faergolzia's knack for weaving densely harmonic, multi-textured vocal tapestries, while also drawing attention to his underappreciated strength as a singer. A strange musical amalgam of Meredith Monk, Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus, and Julianna Barwick, "Loop Paintings" is a serious entry in the world of avant-garde vocal composition.

Faergolzia will play a solo show with Swamp Trotter and Passive Aggressives Anonymous on Saturday, March 24, at ButaPub. 10 p.m. $5.

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