Andrew Fitzpatrick goes in an unusual direction, for him, with Cotyledon Observatory, his first solo full-length under the name Noxroy. In Madison's All Tiny Creatures, Fitzpatrick's guitars and electronic manipulation enrich the group's repeated melodies; in the duo Cap Alan and the studio project Exurbs, he plays conversational leads and hacks his guitar tone to give it a mischievous and tweaky finish.
But Noxroy brings to mind Earth guitarist Dylan Carlson's stated M.O. of finding melodies "within the drone." Cotelydon Observatory's tracks have the rhythm of slow-motion breathing, and they envelop the listener by building shimmery, effected guitar into layers that are at once ambient and dense. Fitzpatrick uses his playful, strange guitar language to make Noxroy a more polished companion to meditative local acts like Drunjus and Rain Drinkers.
Fitzpatrick says the Noxroy tracks are "basically guitar through a bunch of pedals and a computer," edits and excerpts of improvisations performed alone at home. The opening track, "Atlas Wings: Infinity," showcases how many different kinds of motion Fitzpatrick can evoke with those tools. The track's eight minutes undulate around sustained chords in a slow progression, creating a sustained mass without becoming homogenized.
The big, droning surface is both constant and constantly mutating, altering subtly to reflect what's underneath. A lot of little melodic particles swirl around, lending a tremolo feeling to the slight tension of the longer-held notes. Some of the sounds shoot up through the mix like bubbles from the bottom of a glass (this effect is a little more pronounced on the third track, "Alchemists").
Cotyledon Observatory is available through the Rest + Noise label, and Fitzpatrick hopes to have CDs ready in time for a March 31 show at the Project Lodge with Milwaukee's genially experimental Black Eagle Child.
MadTracks highlights songs performed by local musicians. All content is provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.