Stream: Fell Runner, ‘What I Am’

Fell Runner

Fell Runner’s third album, “What I Am,” is one of those records that should come with an instruction manual, full of diagrams and annotations. In several languages. With a bibliography.

One of L.A.’s most fearless ensembles since dropping their debut in 2015, the quartet — Steven van Betten, Gregory Uhlmann, Marcus Högsta and Tim Carr — worked remotely before, testing COVID-free, got together in early 2021 at the Nevada home of van Betten’s father. The solitude of the lockdown is echoed in many tracks — the minimalist title track, “Movies,” and the closer, “There Will Come a Day.”

As on 2019’s “Talking” and their 2015 self-titled debut, Fell Runner continues to weave thorny guitars, nifty harmonies and clamorous polyrhythms into tempo-shifting bursts. “Running Shoes” trots out those pretty vocals over a percussive racket; the mathy “Sailing” is all neurosis, no waiting; and “Turn Off the Lights” seems plucked from experimental corners of the 1960s.

Just when you think “What I Am” can’t surprise you, it does. Some assembly required.

||| Stream: “What I Am”

||| Previously: “Talking” and a Fell Runner playlist; “Come Home,” “Dream Catching,” “Fell Runner” (album)