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Local music for those staying at home 

click to enlarge Opt for the physical CD of Inaiah Lujan’s new EP — it comes with four bonus tracks. - COURTESY INAIAH LUJAN
  • Courtesy Inaiah Lujan
  • Opt for the physical CD of Inaiah Lujan’s new EP — it comes with four bonus tracks.
On Wednesday, March 25, Gov. Jared Polis announced a temporary emergency stay-at-home order for the entire state, so it should be safe to assume that life out there in the city at large will be pretty quiet. However, even if activity at physical workplaces is slowing down, local musicians are clearly keeping themselves plenty busy, proved by this week’s new music yield.

Singer-songwriter Conor Bourgal, whose output as The Changing Colors will already be familiar to many local music fans, has recently taken time to create some quite lovely works that take major stylistic cues from the world of ambient music. The 15-minute “A Portable Embrace” is one of several works commissioned by New York’s Museum of Modern Art, inspired by the 15-minute subway ride from the museum in Midtown to MoMA PS1 in Queens. On a purely aesthetic level, it’s a very soothing piece of music as it washes over you, even if its inspirations are a bit more complex.

Along with Jackson Pollock’s 17-foot-long painting “One Number 31, 1950,” Bourgal found inspiration in the strange tension between the connectivity and isolation in technology, along with the tension between nature and city life — particularly imagining rising sea levels overtaking the city.

“I think I was already on a city vs. nature kick, thinking about climate change and sci-fi, and it all got rolled together,” explains Bourgal, who grew up near New York City. “I just automatically thought of a version of New York in the future where the sea level is higher, and there are more storms. This ‘Portable Embrace’ is some kind of mysticism through technology.”

Bourgal’s explorations of the Enochian and Enoian don’t stop there, and his ambient pieces “The Pearl Diver,” “Arcade” and “Moonlight on Spirit Lake,” all available on Bourgal’s SoundCloud page, are vivid and enchanting soundscape experiences. The ambient/musique concrète approaches of Bourgal’s more recent compositions are, he says, likely to mix in with future Changing Colors releases, and an approach to music-making that will “almost definitely” find their way into a future LP.

Elsewhere, singer-songwriter Inaiah Lujan has been busily performing his own alchemical processes, spinning a series of personal tribulations into a new EP, Do What You Want, which is set to release this Saturday, April 4, through Black Tape Records. The easygoing vintage pop of the title track and “Ruby” are wonderfully engaging — like an electronics-kissed Gene Pitney — while the more introspective cuts, such as “Who Am I” and “Once Again,” showcase the abundant pathos in Lujan’s artful songcraft. The physical CD release of the EP includes four bonus tracks. (Therefore, obviously, the preferred way to go for your housebound playlist.)

Hip-hop trio Bullhead*ded’s next installment in their ongoing Brazen EP series is being slightly delayed due to... well, take a guess... but the group has dropped a single, “trymeout,” on all major digital release platforms, which should tide fans over in the meantime. It’s a unique and warm track led by guitar and a singalong chorus that builds anticipation for the CD. As the trio revealed in their release announcement, the track was written and recorded “long before the recent events that have begun to transform our world,” but, as these things often play out, it acts wonderfully as a balm for the current moment.

Finally, many local musicians are turning to livestreaming as a way of giving fans a live concert experience in the safety and comfort of our respective homes, and singer-songwriter Jeremy Facknitz treated listeners to a pretty spectacular “live from Fackland” show via Facebook last week. Rarely have I witnessed such an attentive audience. Even if you missed it as it was happening, you can still catch the terrific new video for his track “Song of A (Suicide, Part 2),” which should whet your appetite for his upcoming LP, From Those Sweet Ashes, which arrives on Thursday, April 16.

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