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The music of Justin Walter veers between nebulous and numinous, coaxed from the translucent tonalities of his signature instrument, the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument). Destroyer, his latest, and third for Kranky, marks his most multifaceted work yet. Inspired by minimalistic urges (evading grandiosity, condensing scope, embracing spatial restraint) tempered with the drama of triptychs (becoming, destruction, aftermath), the album’s eleven tracks thread a keening suite of aching, opaque beauty, traced in absence and breath.
First begun in the the no man’s land summer of 2020, Walter gradually amassed nearly two hours of demos, drafts, and ideas, then steadily whittled them to their essence. Destroyer enlists the sounds of a recently restored pump organ, adding pulses and quaking texture, but otherwise the album is a shimmering showcase of the EVI: miasmic, melodic, intuitive, infinite. It’s music of fraught devotion and uneasy peace, questing yet languorous, forever rapt and untethered.