Ross Goldstein - Inverted Jenny LPNorthern Spy
As a photographer, visual artist and member of the cosmic brain-bending trio Devin Gary & Ross, Ross Goldstein has built a layered catalog of softly psychedelic artistic output, but none has been as personal as the sonic spiderweb of his second solo album Inverted Jenny. The last time Ross showed up solo was in 2007 on the quietly-released Trail Songs, a collection of more Americana-leaning songcraft. A decade later, he picks up on threads started on his debut, but continues in a far more inward direction, blurring deftly arranged instrumental backdrops with patient, bucolic songwriting for a discreetly epic modern classic in headphone music. Ross travels through a glowing internal world with these songs, observing moments of both stillness and the sublime from a distance. There's a sheen of loneliness that runs throughout, but never a bitterness. The record opens with a trifecta of Van Dyke Parks-tinged open road songs, but even in the joyful discovery of these songs there's the sense that they're viewed from a loner's perspective. This feeling only grows as things shift from roadside distractions to the plush instrumentals and gentle vibes that make up the record's second half. Gorgeous arrangements set up a playful conversation between warm synths, stoned guitar leads, meticulously placed touches of chamber pop orchestration, and even sounds of the natural world from Ross' own field recordings, always buzzing with life. By the end of the album we've walked alongside for a while, watching the songs navigate their lonesome internal landscape like a late night wearing blissfully into morning. At the end of this night (and every other night, really) there's no answer to be found, no great revelation besides wandering along into another beautiful morning.