The feeling you get listening to Light Fronds, Grapefruit’s ninth LP(and first with Moon Glyph Records), is that of quiet euphoria. Trippy loops, shimmering drones, and hazy electronics come together in a sea of sonic beauty to put your mind in a far peaceful headspace. Light Fronds was written and created by Portland musician and painter Charlie Salas-Humara, working under the name Grapefruit. With elements of ambient, new age, and sunlit psychedelia woven together using viola, guitar, synth and piano, this 8-song collection feels like a dip in warm waters and silence after a long day. Muscles relax, stress dissipates, and the world comes into hazy focus.
Grapefruit’s Light Fronds is the kind of album that fills a darkened room with light. You get the impression that Charlie Salas-Humara found much inspiration in the works of minimalist composers Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass. I would also venture to say there’s some elements of Vangelis in there as well. The wonderful thing here is that you don’t sit and try to figure out who inspired what, as Grapefruit has created something quite unique and all-encompassing here. You merely hit play and let the music wash over you.
“Divine Invasion” opens the album with looped guitar and droning notes. It’s hypnotic and peaceful, putting into play some “Frippertronics” vibes(the looping guitar techniques created by King Crimson leader/guitarist Robert Fripp.) With each listen you seem to pick a little more out of the mix, things hiding just under the surface. “Time Drips” is short-but-sweet, cascading warm synth tones on the listener. It’s dream-like quality taking you straight into “Sokal Affair”. If an instrumental track can give off optimism, then it’s this beauty of a track. I do hear elements of Klaus Schultze and Cluster as well.
Elsewhere, “Valis” reminds me of the work of Jonas Munk and Nicklas Sorensen, in-particular their excellent 2019 album Always Already Here. The synth/guitar work here is phenomenal. “Transmigration” closes Light Fronds with some heavy synth work, bringing out the spirit of Mort Garson’s 70s cult-classic Plantasia. Like what came before it, this track seems to transcend the genre of electronic music and take on something far richer and far deeper.
Grapefruit’s Light Fronds taps minimalist classical, 70s Berlin School synth work, and experimental guitar touches in order to create and all-encompassing listen. A world of sound, elegant and visceral, that adds a touch of light to your day.
8.3 out of 10
‘Light Fronds’ is available now at Moon Glyph Records. Buy it here.