Even in quarantine, life can sweep time right out from under us. We try to appreciate each and every moment, but mindfulness and presence cleverly evade our efforts. Brandon Gomez, aka Ark Patrol, knows this struggle well. Charmingly philosophical, the new Ark Patrol LP Geode tackles timeless human questions. The struggle for meaning in life. Unfair judgement. Love.
Brandon Gomez faced unusual challenges on his road to success
Brandon Gomez grew up in Hawaii but moved to Seattle four years ago. In 2018, Gomez finished recording a slew of piano and guitar riffs for his then current project, Ark Patrol. In the throes of production, Gomez was diagnosed with cancer. Uncertain of his future, Gomez began working against the clock to put out the album before time ran out.
“Whereas before it would’ve been premeditated concepts, instead it became a snapshot of the present. … Emotionally, I was freed, but I was also neutered, just because there’s no future.”
– Brandon Gomez, Seattle Times
Gomez finished Ark Patrol. Entropy, a slow-burning six minute track, starts in a quiet, dark place before opening up to a rolling beat. The lyrical mantra gains power with each repetition, taking the listener into a trance-like state. The raw, honest emotion of Ark Patrol earned Gomez new management, tours with Baynk and Big Wild, and his first headlining show.
He also beat cancer. No biggie. In the early stages of remission, Gomez set some goals for his now salient future. Top of his list? Improving his singing voice.
Producers such as Mura Masa and San Holo inspired Gomez to take the plunge and use his own vocals, a trend seen across the electronic scene lately. (Remember how Myrne and Manila Killa bonded over their fear of singing?) Geode displays Gomez’s undeniable success in this venture.
The uplifting spirit of Geode breaks through the clouds of depression
Geode opens with a slow, melodic soundscape reminiscent of Ark Patrol as if to remind listeners of the pain we’ve gone through to get to this moment. Voodoo immediately lightens the mood with a cozy mix of field recordings and punchy beats. Then we hear Gomez’s voice – confident and personal.
“A big part of this record I think is being in love but not making the record about love, but channeling that love as energy into the creation.”
– Brandon Gomez, EDM.com
Gomez has been vocal about his ongoing struggles with depression. Yet Geode feels like a light at the end of the tunnel. We feel his determination, his ability to remain hopeful even amidst pain.
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A year ago I was dying in a hospital bed and now I'm mid tour with amazing and talented artists getting to play the music I make to people who care. . . Thanks Jackson, thanks Austin, Shak & Rasheed. Thanks Lisa. I still suffer from depression but I could never leave this world while such amazing people like you exist. Thanks everyone who listens to my music. 📸: @thatswhenisnapped.photos
Listen to new Ark Patrol LP Geode now
The feeling of being in love yet struggling with inner turmoil permeates the album. Tracks like Dance the Night Away and Falling from Heaven meditate on debris left from a religious upbringing. Can You Hear the Future captures both nostalgia and a hopeful eye towards the future. Each song is exquisitely conversational yet up tempo and decidedly musical.
Pleasantries and Refusal give the listener brief sabbaticals from the pondering lyrical pieces. Almost like smoke breaks, these tracks capture the milky, carefree vibes of the PNW underground electronic scene.
Overall, Geode feels like a late night hangout by a crackling fire. A cure to loneliness, a place to admit uncertainty without letting it consume you. The meandering melodies soothe while honest words poke at your inner psyche. Racing beats run away with you while calm vocals bring you back to the present moment. It’s a balanced and much needed work of art.
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