After proving herself to be a valuable utility player working with Dirty Projectors and Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks, among others, Angel Deradoorian has stepped out as a solo act with her first full-length solo album, and 2015's The Expanding Flower Planet gives a sense of how much she brought to other people's work as an accompanist. Recorded under the collective name Deradoorian, with Angel playing most of the instruments herself and her sister Arlene Deradoorian providing backing vocals, The Expanding Flower Planet delivers music that's at once languid and deeply rhythmic, with the subtle but insistent beats prodding these ethereal melodies downstream as the melodies and Deradoorian's splendid vocals (which sometimes resemble a more polished Judee Sill with a very different set of spiritual obsessions) recall a 21st century version of exotica, suggesting an unspoiled tropical paradise that somehow has banks of vintage synthesizers handy. Deradoorian and David Longstreth, her former boss in Dirty Projectors, clearly share a passion for vintage electronics and tuneful constructs that suggest other cultures while having a sound of their own, and it's not at all difficult to see how these two artists would feel sympatico, with each constructing different music founded on similar notions of how world music influences can be reshaped into contemporary indie pop. However, while Longstreth's fondness for juju guitars and R&B rhythms makes for music that you can dance to even as it explores continents that may only exist in his imagination, Deradoorian's music is intelligent and often quite beautiful, but often relies on a hypnotic minimalism that only remains compelling for so long. The Expanding Flower Planet makes it clear that Angel Deradoorian has the talent and ambition to make an album that's decisively her own; however, she hasn't yet released one that's consistently exciting and satisfying from beginning to end, though there's more than enough here to make this worth a listen and to suggest that Deradoorian could have more interesting things up her sleeve for her next solo effort.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming