Posts Tagged ‘Geographer’

Geographer (Photo by Brittany O'Brien)

The music of Mike Deni — aka Geographer has always been more about emotional terrain than places on a map, but on his new EP “New Jersey,” the two are intertwined.

The new seven-song collection, Geographer’s fourth EP to go along with three full-lengths, is the first music Deni has released since relocating to Los Angeles, but it is not a West Coast album. Far from it. “New Jersey” is a meticulously layered and redolently orchestrated paean to the home state he left 12 years ago. In a way, it’s his origin story and as immersions in the past go, it’s quite possibly the least mawkish exercise in nostalgia ever.

Deni founded Geographer in 2007 in San Francisco, where he moved after the unexpected and tragic deaths of his sister, and then his father. The EP, written in a six-month span in 2018 during a bout of wanderlust, finds him opening the baggage he left in the Garden State. Old dreams, old disappointments, old crushes: All become iridescent anthems backed by Geographer’s characteristic blend of electronic and analog instrumentation.

“Summer of My Discontentment” imagines a brooding youngster, the ache unaffected by time. On “Hideout (Sparrow),” Deni shows he is a wordsmith as well as master arranger: “Listen to the ocean / tell you why it’s there / Turn it into words that / maybe can make them care.” And the closer is perhaps the songwriter’s version of “You Can’t Go Home Again” — a 3 1/2-minute blast of synth and falsetto that reaches M83 heights before receding into a bouquet of strings.

“New Jersey” is out on Friday.