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Arroyo Low to Release Debut Album '2020'

The new album will be released on July 29.

Arroyo Low to Release Debut Album '2020'

"I didn't know I was making a record," mulled L.A. multi-instrumentalist Dane Sandborg of his solo debut as Arroyo Low. "I was making music because that's what I wanted to do, and realized I was creating something unique to the times."

The former IRONTOM/Foxtrails bassist will release his debut album, 2020, July 29 via Bodan Kuma. Straddling alternative and lo-fi electronic expressions inflected with Dane's broad array of influences, the hugely atmospheric album is accompanied by monthly singles and videos, art installations, and NFT content.

Dane's musical odyssey began with saxophone at elementary school in famously bohemian Topanga Canyon. Eventually gravitating to bass, he's today a busy session musician who has toured nationwide and internationally.

Arroyo Low began in bucolic Three Rivers, California, to where Dane retreated during the early pandemic - "I was just really enveloped and influenced by the space and the calm that that isolation was able to create."

The record's evolution, unconscious at first, continued at his studio in Topanga. Highly collaborative, with both musician friends and visual artists, Arroyo Low has blossomed into an unusually authentic multimedia expression driven by emotion rather than ambition. "It all kind of just revealed itself," Dane recalled.

Arroyo Low features three songs with vocals by longtime collaborator Cory Yamashiro (aka Minoru), while Alex Seigel mixed much of the record and played guitar on meditative first single, "Windsor." Contributing instrumentalists also include Aaron Westine, Blake McLeod, Michael Brenner, and Dylan Grombacher, plus artists Amanda Espy and Michael Rollins.

"I love the chemical reactions that happen when you have musicians in a room," said Dane.

Arroyo Low captures art leading the artist; bottling a mood and a moment rather than forcing what went to tape (often literally, as the album features tape machines and vintage synths, alongside an array of sometimes exotic organic instruments.)

"I'm just trying to protect what is wanting to be expressed, versus sitting down to create this idea of what I want," Dane explained. "Each song indicates a very palpable moment in time. I remember exactly what I was feeling."

This semi-aware channeling of time and place permeates Arroyo Low. The introspective, outdoorsy "Windsor," one of seven instrumentals, exudes the reflection of Dane's Three Rivers seclusion. Second single "Limousine" delves into the duality of self through Minoru's alternately ominous/ethereal vocals, a sparse lo-fi backbone, and smears of lurking synth.

"The 'Limousine' video tells a story ... of how it's hard to run from ourselves," Dane revealed. "Being at conflict with oneself ... like addiction."

Optimistic third single, "Change," benefits from the spontaneity of being tracked with Westine in just 45 minutes. Follow-up "Moments," Dane's first foray into recording to tape, massages an ostensibly awkward 5/4 groove into a hypnotic escape. "Mount Cedar," which drops simultaneously with the album, pays homage to Dane's love for modern jazz, recorded mostly in first takes with McLeod (Foxtrails, mycoves).

"There's a similar story for each of the songs on the record: making something, taking space away from it, and coming back to it," Dane said. "I was really trying to honor the space between [while] not getting overly perfectionistic about it."

What began as a creator's lockdown indulgence is morphing into a long-term, maybe lifelong, exploration of both music and media. As well as performance art elements, visualizers, and videos, Arroyo Low embraces the metaverse, including NFTs with tangible value in the physical realm (granting access to limited-run cassettes and concert tickets, for example).

"It's been a long time coming and I want to go as far as I can with it," Dane enthused. "Who I bring around me to create, charts the course of where the music will go. It continues to evolve right in front of me."

From This Author - Michael Major

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