The idea of Arroyo Low all began in the pastoral city of Three Rivers, California, a haven where Los Angeles musician (and former IRONTOM/Foxtrails bassist) Dane Sandborg spent much of his time during the early parts of the COVID pandemic.
“I was just really enveloped and influenced by the space and the calm that that isolation was able to create,” he explains.
His upcoming debut LP under the Arroyo Low moniker, 2020, finds him exploring gorgeous and charged ambient atmospheres. Aided by longtime musical conspirator Cory Yamashiro (aka Minoru) and a cadre of other musicians including Alex Seigel, Aaron Westine, Blake McLeod, Michael Brenner and Dylan Grombacher, the album blossomed under their careful watch, becoming a treatise on the passage of time and how creative expression is dictated by our perception of that chronology.
Featuring tape machines, vintage synths, and array of other exotic instruments, the record allows Sandborg to be drawn along in the wave of his inspirations, letting the music guide him, rather than trying to force a particular perspective to be articulated.
“I’m just trying to protect what is wanting to be expressed, versus sitting down to create this idea of what I want,” Dane says. “Each song indicates a very palpable moment in time. I remember exactly what I was feeling.”
On his latest single, “Mt. Cedar”, he joins with California musician mycoves to create a swirling vortex of ambient patterns and glistening tonalities. The track is oddly dynamic for the genre, evincing a shifting outlook on what can be accomplished by giving the music free rein to move on its own recognizance. Clattering percussion is buoyed by soft keys and blooming synths as the track seeks to completely surround you in a fog of blissful vagaries which acts as a blank canvas on which to lay out all our internal thoughts. The track possesses a keen eye for jazz deconstruction and lets the music tumble around under its own volition. In the accompanying clip, breathtaking desert vistas are overlaid with crumbling video effects that provide a mysterious and fantastical lens through which we can view these landscapes, both sonic and terrestrial.
“The music and art of Arroyo Low is largely influenced by nature and all of its environments,” explains Michael Rollins, one of Sandborg’s visual collaborators. “Taking inspiration from Amanda Espy’s artwork, [we] sought to activate the artwork in a 3D space incorporating live footage and visual manipulation creating a surrealist world. For this video, [we] traveled to the California’s High Desert.”
Sandborg reveals: “[Mt. Cedar] is one of my favorites on the record. I recorded this very quickly with my friend and collaborator Blake McLeod (Foxtrails, mycoves). Blake’s a multi instrumentalist. He played drums and piano on this song. I played bass, charango, saxophone, and percussion. This song is homage to all my love for jazz and more modern jazz. I didn’t know how this song was gonna end up but I love it. Mixed and Mastered by Alex Siegel.”
Watch the video below.
Arroyo Low’s new album, 2020, is out today via Bodan Kuma Recordings. Follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.