A musician who is most well known as a guitarist for Bon Iver, Andrew Fitzpatrick used his pandemic downtime for Belief Diagram, a peculiar synthesis of glitchy melodies, unique progressions, and found sound. The effect is a delightfully dizzying, yet intriguing instrumental album.
Switching gears from touring with Bon Iver in early 2020 to staying home due to the pandemic, Andrew Fitzpatrick has much more time on his hands than he is used to (or not, he recently had his first child). From that downtime came Belief Diagram, a solo album loosely similar to his previous works, many of which pull cards from a wild deck of experimental hybrid type music and rhythm. Belief Diagram is an album for deep listening with its mostly formless nature while still considering purpose and shape. The result is a record full of what Fitzpatrick calls “musical rhythmic phrasing,” which combines instrumental music and experimental, improv rhythms to create movement and narrative.
Similar in some ways to heavily altered electronic music and techno, Belief Diagram is solely instrumental, but the record does not follow the general conventions of any formal genre. Instead, the album takes you on a trip through sound and music, successfully crafting setting and mood with each track, unreliant on the crutch of lyrics. While the tracks can be described as bizarre at times, Belief Diagram sits well in the broad scope of experimental music, contradicting the norms of mainstream albums and what connotes music.
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If you like Björk, Éliane Radigue, Yoko Ono, Coil, or Merzbow, you might also like Andrew Fitzpatrick, as his album explores similar experimental styles of aesthetic jumble and durational music.
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