Eric Weidenhof, an experimental cellist whose isms EP was one of last year’s most fascinating local releases, returns with another EP called Phloem.
Where isms scrabbled claustrophobically through the darkness, Phloem grandly unfurls itself like a lush, subterranean plant. A discordant sense of unease remains, but the nightmare has transformed into a lucid dream, not especially light, but not necessarily frightening, either. “Reign for Rest” begins with an extended intro that sounds like Beach Boys meets Boards of Canada, undulating string plucks and detuned synths mingling with warped vocals to create a disorienting atmosphere. The song drifts by like a spooky lullaby for several minutes, Weidenhof singing surreal phrases (“The ceiling’s gone/I curl into you,” “I set the table for apocalypse”) in a tone usually reserved for the tenderest of moments. Then, with just over a minute left, the song explodes into a bobbing backbeat, a chopped vocal sample providing an unlikely hook to close things out. It’s inexplicable, weird, and riveting stuff.