Matthew Doty didn’t set out to write a solo album. His first batch of weightless and brightly lit material under the name Deserta began to take shape in 2017. Shortly after finding out he was going to be a father, Doty started working on a batch of songs inspired by the joy and the unknown of the world he was about to enter. That inspiration is the sonic and emotional backbone of debut album Black Aura My Sun.
Like a hot air balloon headed straight for the stratosphere, Deserta reveals yet another side of the songwriting Doty has spent decades refining. As experimental as it is enthralling, Black Aura My Sun applies the vapor-trailed production values and sublime dynamics of Doty’s previous group projects (including post-rock band Saxon Shore and the synth-laced post-punk of Midnight Faces) to a shoegaze-y sound that splits the difference between Slowdive and Sigur Rós.
Deserta expands and contracts, with chords that drift like clouds, drums that drag and dissipate, and hooks that hang in the air for what feels like forever. That doesn’t mean Black Aura My Sun is a subtle or soft record. It actually whips up quite a racket and is particularly heavy when piped through a pair of headphones.