Tabs Out | Stefan Christensen – Loimaa

Stefan Christensen – Loimaa

7.28.21 by Matty McPherson

The long awaited return of Garden Portal back in March arrived with four new gateways into cosmic Americana, loving self-dubbed and mastered in house. Stefan Christensen’s Loimaa is perhaps the most protected and elliptical of the four releases I’ve found. The former vocalist for the Trouble in Mind four-piece Estrogen Highs (and current guitarist for Headroom) has quietly been building a knack for lively, ramshackle acoustic guitar that sounds like a tavern on the edge of a coastal port; all the while, he runs the C/Site label that has been crucial in documenting what’s been going down on New Haven, CT. Anyways, I say all of that because Loimaa’s eight parts come with scant information, just that they are asynchronously ordered (in what I can assume is an act of generosity or good will).

Thus, Loimaa has a rather open-template feeling to its guitar sound, the real center of this bad boy! On blind listens, I was taken aback by Christensen’s emphasis on light drone chords, psych noise, and the warmth produced from recurring strumming patterns. These sounds emphasize a grounded patience — much like the one felt when looking at the cracks in tiles or the brushstrokes of a watercolor, that give the tape a peaceful feeling in its instrumental passages. Meanwhile, tracks like Loimaa VIII (third on the album) and Loimaa III (eighth on the album) present Christensen’s vocal delivery center, careening and pushing forward. His vocal presence is a welcome vessel, and in Loimaa VIII, he practically builds itself up as a sing-along chant, as Christensen exclaims, “It’s all the same!” Nevertheless, once more back into the deck!

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