Tomás Pagán Motta - Soul Loss Symphony (8 Gang Switch)
Add Date: 02/05/2019
Focus Tracks: 1, 2, & 7
Formats: College, Modern Rock Specialty, & Triple A
RIYL: Christopher Owens, José González, Daniel Romano
Artist Info: Exploring bruises and redemption, prolific songwriter Tomás Pagán Mottadraws the listener into his third album with contemporary and textural folk songs wrapped in tight grooves. Titled Soul Loss Symphony, the new 10-song collection speaks to Motta’s Puerto Rican roots and rural Maryland upbringing. Hurricane Maria’s lasting devastation and the challenges faced by his family on the island are present as the artist confronts the sense of helplessness and confusion experienced by many in the current cultural climate. The defragmented portrait seen on the album cover depicts a man still creating himself in a fractured country and world.
Right off the bat, the listener gets a feel for Motta’s unique style. “Without Me,” the first single off the album, is propelled forward by a dynamic string arrangement balanced by a warm organ, descending acoustic guitar line, and a locked-in rhythm section. The second single, “Gone,” is a folk-rock number, influenced by Motta’s coming of age in the ‘90s decade of alternative rock. Steve Wright (Wrightway Studios), known for his work with The Mars Volta and Beach House, captured the spontaneous performances of Motta and his backing band on the 2” tape in Baltimore. These recordings, simply put, contain a fresh voice, lyrically and sonically.
Soul Loss Symphony follows on the heels of 2017’s Living a Lie, the title track of which premiered on Netflix’s Flaked, supervised by KCRW alum Chris Muckley (SiriusXM) and Chris Douridas (KCRW). Motta’s self-titled debut in 2015 introduced him to the national stage with the single “Up and Away,” listed on NPR’s Public Radio’s #1 Songs of 2015 alongside Father John Misty, The Alabama Shakes and D’Angelo.