Soft Airplane

Soft Airplane

Chad Van Gaalen isn’t your ordinary singer-songwriter. Sure, he writes on keyboards and guitars, but from there he diverges from the usual path in unexpected ways. Each of his previous solo albums were culled from a rich catalog of existing home recordings but with his third album, 2008’s Soft Airplane, he sat down in his home basement studio with an old tape machine and boom box and deliberately put together this eclectic mix of lo-fi acoustic strumming and exotic synthetic keyboard magic. “Rabid Bits of Time” recalls the lonesome whine of Neil Young. “City of Electric Light” sounds like a man barely surviving the 4 a.m. hour, while “Old Man + the Sea” channels a primitive 3-dimensional world where the electronics haven’t quite been mastered and are likely to short out at a crucial moment. Van Gaalen loves these sudden distortions and interruptions; much in the spirit of acoustic Pink Floyd, there is always an unexpected room noise or ambient touch to bolster or upset the placid surface.

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