Portable Sunsets – MercyPosted by Alejandra Ramirez
Under the moniker, Portable Sunsets, Peter Segerstrom has released his new album, Mercy. Mercy could be considered many things. It can be that album on some undiscovered local radio station, or on the playlist of a hipster-clothing store with an overly gaudy clientele. Yet in its attempt to encompass a wide array of sounds, it has no notable distinction from other lo-fi producers. It tries to be something, but is only just there.
Like many other bedroom-based projects, Portable Sunsets is an NYC local who fidgets with the sounds of his Nord synthesizer and monome 128. He tweaks and experiments until he manages to come up with a conglomerate of eccentric and interesting instrumentals; and for the most part he does. Mercy is a worthy effort as it consists of a ten songs riddled with mesmerizing synths, reverberating piano notes, and almost dancey, over-dubbed bass lines. Mercy is that sleek album serving as background music to a cool kickback with a bunch of pretentious aficionados. It’s not something to dance to, but just listen and relax to.
However, there are some songs in which Segerstrom’s production methods shine through. The most memorable part of the album is when Segerstorm taps into the calmer and less abrasive side of his aesthetic. “Wolf Head,” and “Guitar Plume,” embodies an ambient and space-like aura, including beautiful piano chords and delayed, plucked guitar chords that lightly fade into the airy, soothing drone.
Although Portable Sunsets fits the description of any bedroom-based project, driven with a DIY and collaboration friendly mentality, it’s has the traditional culprits associated with any bedroom-based projects. Mercy seems like an amateur album that has no clear direction. It tries to wring as much creativity as it can through experimentation and dedication but only results in an array of juxtaposing sounds and awkward vocals. Lost somewhere in transience between a dance-pop 80’s album or a lo-fi ambient record, Mercy consists of lightly touched ideas and quickly produced songs. This only leaves the listener sifting through the album for the best track. But this time the listener never finds it.