For some reason, I thought I’d already authored a post on Los Angeles’ prismatic shoegaze act Deserta, so I never thought twice to check if I actually did or not. That is, until yesterday, when I caught the lushly layered soft bed of infinite reverb known as “Save Me.” I guess enough time had passed during these quarantine days, that it completely slipped my mind. So when it graced my good graces again, I actually did stop to take notice … and more importantly, actually check to see if it made it onto the site.
Deserta is the enigmatic solo project of guitarist/synthesist Matt Doty, who’s probably most recognized for his work in post-rock outfit Saxon Shore, and to some extent, the slightly post-punk new wave act Midnight Faces. But if none of that rings a bell, it won’t impact your perceptions of Deserta’s deeply mesmerizing aura.
And speaking of … transcendentally mind-altering, Deserta’s music truly is, the shimmery sort of sound that gently caresses, while washing over and over in lavish layers of beautifully sculpted feedbacked flourishes. There’s immense spaces of densely prolonged delays and cavernous effects, all aesthetically woven into a white noise ripple of rapturous resonance.
“Save Me” takes full measure of this sound and style, a gorgeous glimmer of cascading melody that feels like an uplifting celebration, as much as a plea for salvation, as it’s title suggests. And feeling is everything with this ecstasy-phased single, an aural moment crafted for its own sake, a lucid sensation that’s actually meant to be experienced, and not just heard.
There’s lyrics, of course, but they’re so lightly woven and whispered amongst the flutter of guitar scintillations that the way they sound seems infinitely more significant than what they actually say.
From what I can tell, Deserta is fairly recent in its inception, sometime in the last year or so, with the equally monolithic debut album “Black Aura My Sun,” released back in the once safe confines of pre-pandemic January. Doty took the act out for some live performances, adding two additional players to flush out the on-stage ambiance. Sadly, I didn’t catch any of the prior SoCal shows, thinking I’d eventually get around to it later this year or the next. Probably should’ve been more proactive on that count.
Now that I know what I’ve missed, and what I’ll surely be continuing to miss, here’s Deserta’s divine shoegaze single “Save Me” to show you know as well.
“Save Me” from the 2020 album “Black Aura My Sun.”
And in the grand tradition of many of my previous posts, I’m also going to add another track from “Black Aura My Sun,” titled “Hide.” Really, I should just recommend the whole album, since all seven songs embody like-minded excursions of sonic wonder.
But “Hide” is the other track I’ve met on multiple occasions. Not as often as “Save Me,” yet certainly enough to make it worth its own mention.
It meanders in its own resplendent slumber, aloft and falling and aloft again, in an endless cascade of dream-conjured effervescence.
This time around, the guitars do possess a more searing, serrated quality, deferring some of that resplendent beauty to a more forward intensity … or at least, as much as the echo-chambers of Deserta’s aural artistry allow.
And similar to “Save Me,” I just love the way it feels.
See if you feel the same with Deserta’s “Hide.” Stay safe and enjoy!
“Hide” from the 2020 album “Black Aura My Sun.”