Disco-Serenity Now: Set Sail with Rollmottle

Photo credit: Rollmottle/Sentrall Records.
Photo credit: Rollmottle/Sentrall Records.

For the most part, when an established artist in a given genre uses his or her heft to promote their less-famous contemporaries it can be a truly noble thing. So too when that artist’s affiliates are involved in this mission.

Recently, this bore fruit when I got wind through the blog of Scott Hansen (AKA Tycho) that Rollmottle has existed for some time without my knowledge.

In a post on the San Francisco-based ambient/chillwave/electrogaze artist/band’s ISO50 blog, Ghostly International A&R man Jakub Alexander called Rollmottle an “unsung hero in slow disco.”

I can see why. Like Tycho, Ghostly’s preeminent purveyor of serenity, Sentrall Records’ Rollmottle crafts intricate arrangements that evoke blissful sights, sounds, and moods, recalling Balearic bliss and a ton of sunshine and breeze. Even if the going ain’t easy, these cuts will make you feel like maybe it could be.

In addition to tackling the dreamscapes of Tycho, Rollmottle (AKA Anthony Puglisi) also makes a boatload of citations to 70s yacht rock when he parlays his driving slow-disco grooves. This is where comparing Rollmottle to British duo Seahawks makes fine sense. Just like them, Rollmottle is quite skilled at conjuring up a disco-psychedelia for the seafaring set — and anyone who longs to join them.

On “I Can See You,” Puglisi’s latest song uploaded about a week ago to SoundCloud, all of this is at play. Understated swirls of synthesizers and an echo-laden noodle-of-a-guitar-riff are anchored by a steady, driving bass and drum pairing that make this a rather transcendent mid-tempo groover. There’s an element of far-off galaxies inherent that could make this easily the music to listen to when sailing to Andromeda, instead of Belize.

A month ago, Puglisi posted a cruising Baleric cut called “Ever After” with a lead-guitar expression reminiscent of the controlled jams that Tycho has perfected.

Before that, on last year’s LP Fear Ritual, Rollmottle married all the elements of what I’ve discussed with the dark sanctum of the likes of Joy Division and early New Order and the galactic intrigue of the likes of some seasons of Tangerine Dream. This is the Rollmottle collection that leaves me wondering what he’d sound like pairing up with French synthpop virtuoso Rémi Parson.

I haven’t delved very deeply into Rollmottle’s offerings by any measure. However, these three releases are a great place to start for those looking to get into the slower, more baked-and-beautiful side of things.




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