“A Vessel in the Fog” was the title of a live video that Orbitalpatterns, the Michigan-based synthesizer musician, posted back in July on his YouTube channel. Shortly after its initial release, I praised how its textures “twist and turn like clouds of smoke, turning in the air before vaporizing and being replaced by something else, something similar and yet apart.” That track now is one of seven that comprise Bitter Magicians, a fine album of exploratory compositions. Many of the pieces evolve considerably as they advance. Take how “The Magicians Notebook” moves from wispy and hesitant to something denser, more full-throated, or how the singsong sway of “Demi-Gods Ramble” gets more orchestral as it presses on. Which isn’t to say, as an atmosphere-minded musician, Orbitalpatterns (aka Abdul Allums) shys away from the sublime. If anything, the final track, a warpy treat titled “That Last Mile Will Go On Forever,” is engulfed by its own echoes by the time it slurs to a close. Bitter Magicians is a tremendous collection throughout.
Album originally posted at orbitalpatterns.bandcamp.com. More at instagram.com/orbitalpatterns.