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Find Peace in the Stillness of Brandon Locher's "Slow Steps"

The New York multimedia artist's visual work can feel dark and obsessive, but this single's a respite.

Colin Joyce

Photo by Olivia Locher

Brandon Locher's best work is obsessive. Since 2010, the New York-based multimedia artist has been hard at work on a series of drawings called Mazes to the Motherlode, each one an intricate, overwhelming collection of intersecting lines of black ink on paper. He writes on his website that to make this series he'd get into patterns where he was drawing 40-50 hours each week, continually uncovering new patterns and forms. He describes the process as something of a search for enlightenment, but like the most fruitful efforts to find something bigger than yourself, the resulting work suggests desperation, anxiety, a Sistenean stretch for the God or something like it. The works are small, but its hard not to get sucked into the same sort of fixations as your eyes trace the many lines—especially if you're trying to follow it as it spins infinitely (a few of these works have been used by Ghostly as turntable slipmats).

His musical work—in the avant duo Stage Hands, the weirdo orchestra the Meets, and now just under his birth name—traces a similar sort of carefully considered trajectory, and in fact "Slow Steps," his latest solo single bears an entry from the Mazes series as its cover art. But for this new track, which he calls a "glimpse of the work to come" on a forthcoming full-length, he redirects these fanatic impulses from darkness to light.

Stacks of sulking synth lines and needle-sharp strings mirror the stark outlines of Mazes, but there's a peace here that he's not really suggested elsewhere, an implication that in his ravenous searching he's found the prize and can rest, at least for the moment. The lightness makes sense, he said in an email to THUMP that 2016 has marked a new beginning for his solo work—offering a chance to get more "enhanced clarity and boundless freedom." We should all be so lucky.

Listen to "Slow Steps" here alongside Locher's other recent solo single "Medium Frequency."