Music

Hayden Pedigo Delves Deeper Into the Elemental on 'Valley of the Sun'

Photo: Driftless Recordings

Hayden Pedigo's fifth LP, Valley of the Sun, raises the courage to return to an even cleaner form of the fundamentals he's proven so adept at

Valley of the Sun
Hayden Pedigo

Driftless

19 April 2019

Hayden Pedigo's music has, in the past, focused on a sifting of time, seemingly acknowledging a collective yearning for different paces and structures. Last year's Greetings from Amarillo thrives on this desert dusted neo-primitivism. Valley of the Sun, however, threatens to make peace with this desire by peeking around corners and wearing away the shadows.

Pedigo's fifth LP raises the courage to return to an even cleaner form of the fundamentals he's proven so adept at. Turning to echoes, empty spaces and found sound, Valley of the Sun revels more than it yearns. Where tracks like "Horns" and "Brother" present an excellent guitarist gently succumbing to successful patterns, "Mill" and "Channel" do just the opposite, opening the record up to restless experimentations.

A four-and-a-half minute psychological horror-drone, "Mill" at first carries something jarring and unexpected. It isn't until we're relieved by the jangly pop riffs of "Glider" that its full drift takes effect. Mixed and muddled, Pedigo gathers listeners to an almost unbearable height before the break arrives. We can take a breath and move along, kept present without force or conscious attempt. This is less calculating than it is perceptive.

Though not usually one for synesthesia, Valley of the Sun is composed of shapes, blunt and sharp, a stark contrast to the clouded wisps of Pedigo's previous releases. The jagged geometry of "Channel" pulls and stretches, winding in and out of feverish anxiety. Haunting voice samples blend with dreamlike reverberations and, all at once, the margins have disappeared. This boundary-bending follows through to the listeners' experience of Valley of the Sun, which effortlessly meets with the environment rather than pulses through it.

Rather than the John Fahey-era acoustic meanderings that Pedigo's work has so heavily been compared to, dropped prematurely in contemporary cosmic American pools, Valley of the Sun would be better suited to the leagues of Chicago's Patient Sounds. Like M. Sage and his hallucinatory wanderings, or even Basinski's Disintegration Loops, Pedigo's newest work is the result of a pride-less searching. To reduce the record to a simple modern-day rendering of American primitivism is to lose grasp of the thread that winds quietly throughout the record.

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Television

'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Is  Better Than Okay

The first season of Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a funny, big-hearted love letter to family.

Music

Jordan Rakei Breathes New Life Into Soul Music

Jordan Rakei is a restless artistic spirit who brings R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and pop craft into his sumptuous, warm music. Rakei discusses his latest album and new music he's working on that will sound completely different from everything he's done so far.

Reviews

Country Music's John Anderson Counts the 'Years'

John Anderson, who continues to possess one of country music's all-time great voices, contemplates life, love, mortality, and resilience on Years.

Music

Rory Block's 'Prove It on Me' Pays Tribute to Women's Blues

The songs on Rory Block's Prove It on Me express the strength of female artists despite their circumstances as second class citizens in both the musical world and larger American society.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 3, Echo & the Bunnymen to Lizzy Mercier Descloux

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part three with Echo & the Bunnymen, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu and more.

Books

Wendy Carlos: Musical Pioneer, Reluctant Icon

Amanda Sewell's vastly informative new biography on musical trailblazer Wendy Carlos is both reverent and honest.

Music

British Folk Duo Orpine Share Blissful New Song "Two Rivers" (premiere)

Orpine's "Two Rivers" is a gently undulating, understated folk song that provides a welcome reminder of the enduring majesty of nature.

Music

Blesson Roy Gets "In Tune With the Moon" (premiere)

Terry Borden was a member of slowcore pioneers Idaho and a member of Pete Yorn's band. Now he readies the debut of Blesson Roy and shares "In Tune With the Moon".

Books

In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.

Music

Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.

Film

Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.

Music

Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.

Music

Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.

Music

'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.

Music

Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.

Music

Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.

Music

Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".

Games

On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.