Chicago crate-digger/archivist Dante Carfagna is perhaps best known for his work as a behind-the-scenes tastemaker, working as an editor at Wax Poetics, curating funk and soul compilations, including collections on his buddy DJ Shadow's Cali-Tex label. He also seems to be something of a recluse, which may explain why both his full-lengths under the name Express Rising—the first released in 2003, and the second unveiled this week—share the same title, and similar mysterious tree iconography.
Over the decade-long interim, his sound has nevertheless evolved considerably, forgoing the collagist sample aesthetic of the Entroducing era in favor of a post-rock palette of guitar, banjo, steel guitar, Wurlitzer, synths, and vintage drum machine, all manipulated with the sort of patient, affectionate hand that makes songs like Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross" feel so pretty and devastating. Says Carfagna of the 4-year-long recording period, "My process was largely shaped by the equipment I was using. The fact that I was recording to a cassette 4-track limited me in a somewhat positive way. I had to focus on what was truly essential, what with a finite canvas. I spent most of the time finding the appropriate sounds and colors to use, since there would be fewer elements and the palette would likely come under greater scrutiny by the listener." Stream Express Rising below, and snag a copy via Numero Group.
Stream: Express Rising, Express Rising