Like the music of so many retroists, Mr. Elevator’s new album “Goodbye, Blue Sky” is all about context. Maybe it’s as new an exciting to you as those liquid light shows that sprang up in recent years with the renaissance of psychedelic rock. Maybe you have an uncle who will hear Tomas Dolas’ mind-bending synthscapes and dig out that bong he hasn’t used since his hernia surgery eight years ago. (He could just as well shout something akin to “get off my lawn” and dig out his old vinyl.)
There’s no question Mr. Elevator (née Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel) can open a portal to another dimension the old-school way. His fuzzy, shape-shifting, reverb-drenched ministrations are all analog, products of the work in his Studio 22. John Dwyer of Oh Sees, for whom Dolas plays keyboards, name-checks the likes of “Tangerine Dream, Air, Donovan (think the “Hurdy Gurdy Man” LP) the Troggs, Irmin Schmidt, Egg, Stereolab and even early Mute records” in enthusing about Mr. Elevator’s latest.
Certainly, the aesthetic is there, though not so often the songs. At the very least, any filmmaker working on a documentary or a period piece on the trippy ’60s need look no further for a soundtrack.
Illustrator Marty Tzonev envisions a pixelated tragic end for the hero in the video for “Waiting.” Dolas said the concept came from a dream. “I told Marty about the dream of this guy running endlessly towards the horizon,” he says, “but in the style of an old SNES racing game where the road keeps turning and the mountains are in the background and eventually this shadow-y apocalypse beast-monster-creature of wires emerges towering from the mountains and the man keeps running and running and so on and the world slowly keeps falling apart to the point of his eminent death of falling into a void and a few months later he sent a pretty much identical video of that dream. It was impressive! And a total trip to watch again.”
“Goodbye, Blue Sky” is out Friday.
||| Watch: The video for “Waiting”
||| Stream: “Down” and “Alone Together”
||| Live: Mr. Elevator celebrates his album release with a show Thursday at the Echo, with Automatic and L.A. Takedown opening. Tickets.