Agitated Atmosphere: Michael Shiflet – Llanos

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Michael Shiflet.

We are guilty of neglect. Creativity swirls all around, often obscured by celebrity gossip, non-issues, and ignorant bliss. Yet our lives unfold in a mirco landscape, disconnected from the macro world. For innovation to germinate, it needs to be left to its own devices; to be forgotten in the morass of our daily lives.

It’s such a case that sprouts wonders of musical imagination such as Llanos from Michael Shiflet. Rhythmic with the sounds of the world buzzing by as we envelope ourselves in busydom, Llanos has slowly taken root as we carelessly circumnavigated the world through countless chores and mindless errands. As we strolled down grocery aisle after grocery aisle, it was the slow nubbin emerging from a potato’s rough skin; as we drove furiously from one destination to another, it was the meditative hums of anxious rubber meeting stagnate tarmac.

Listen to “Llanos” now:

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Llanos is described as the result of “late summer evenings” and it is hard to argue. We’re immersed in a world of air conditioning and feeble shade, neglecting the wonders of summer. Where there is our neglect, Shiflet is to be found. Much like the harsh heat that trumpets summer’s dog days, Llanos puts up an equally sizzling exterior. But beneath its persistent drone are the sounds of forgotten youth. Though a standard cliché often reserved for the pop genre, Shiflet captures the genuine sounds of our pasts and though disguised as ambient experimentation, Llanos is truly the ultimate display of pop culture. It needs no tabloid façade nor benefits from trolloped good looks, it speaks to those dark corners of our memory that have been left to gather dust and till tired soil. What’s grown in our absence is Llanos, an album that captures what it’s like to slow down and live outside the hectic world we’ve built. Maybe now we can learn to enjoy it before we destroy it.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. He also pens Deserted for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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