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Fractal Cat (Baltimore's psychedelic bliss-rock experience)

Hyperspace pop and cosmic rock and roll.

Baltimore band Fractal Cat mixes pop song and vocal craft inspired by early rock ‘n’ roll, classic soul, and psychedelia with more eclectic elements. The range of textures from acoustic guitar to saxophone to electronic found sounds elicits a feeling both familiar and new.

On the eve of Halloween 2012, the band released its first album, The Eye in the Dawn, a collection of songs that Baltimore singer/songwriter Miles Gannett had been accumulating since his teens. According to Gannett, the album was “inspired by the psychedelic experience and a journey of spiritual awakening.” Featuring the jazz/Afro beat–influenced drumming of Jason Baker, the electronic sound–wizardry of Joe Clark, the acoustic rhythm guitar of Keith Jones, the dubbed-out bass of Andy Myatt, and Gannett’s lysergic lead guitar and production, Eye revealed a band paying its debts to the psychedelic rock canon while envisioning a new path forward.

Several Baltimore musicians also contributed their talents, including Chris Mandra of Telesma, Tiffany DeFoe of The Bellevederes, and Sean Finn of Great Mutant Skywheel and Sahffi.

Inside World Music hailed the debut album, describing the single “Some Angel” as “one of the best songs composed in any genre or era—bar none.” What Weekly magazine added that “if you enjoy fearlessness, tunefulness, and joy, this is the record for you.”

Now, in July 2014, Fractal Cat has released Lovingkind, the epic follow-up to The Eye in the Dawn. The new album represents a leap forward in songwriting and production, blending elements of folk-rock and electronica with the band’s positive, playful lyrics. On the new album, Jones emerges as a songwriter, while each member pushes the boundaries of genre and musical accomplishment.

Guest musicians abound, including Subtle Hustle’s Kim Gravatt contributing ethereal flute, Rufus Roundtree and the B-More Brass Factory adding a soulful, “Balti-Gras” vibe, and Joe Clark adding the band’s signature synths and samples.

Miles Gannett began playing guitar and writing songs at the age of seven. He crafted his early tunes in the style and spirit of 1950’s rock n’ roll, initially inspired by the movies La Bamba and The Buddy Holly Story. As a teenager, Gannett produced strange electronic music and started writing psychedelic songs with mystical themes. In his early twenties he played electric egg slicer, shortwave radio, and spoon-guitar in the Krautrock-influenced experimental band Zeug, and was also the original lead guitarist for Baltimore world fusion powerhouse Telesma. Feeling the deep call to “follow his bliss,” Gannett left the other projects he was involved in to focus on developing his own songs, which eventually led to the genesis of Fractal Cat.

Fractal Cat formed in late 2011 out of Gannett’s studio efforts while recording The Eye in the Dawn on his own in a home studio. The songwriter had released several singles under his own name before rounding up “a group of friends” to finish the album and form a band that could reproduce the rich studio sounds onstage.

Jason Armstrong Baker has been drumming for over 30 years. As a performing artist, composer, and board-certified music therapist, he draws inspiration from numerous world music and healing traditions: African rhythmic harmony, Chinese Five Elements, American improvisation, and yogic breath work.

Keith Jones began his musical journey singing in coffee shops on the West Virginia panhandle. He released one acoustic album with Charlotte, NC musician Bert Wray, formerly of Selah Dubb, then went on to cofound experimental rock band Pläns Pläns, which released two albums during its seven-year career. Jones never met a blue sky or a golden oldie he didn’t like.

Andy Myatt has played bass for a wide variety of bluegrass, rock, and soul bands in the Washington/Baltimore area. Myatt's playing is strongly influenced by dub reggae and scuba diving. In 1987, he starred as Willy Wonka in the Glen Echo Junior Community Players performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Fractal Cat has made great strides in less than three years. The arduous recording, producing, and mastering process has paid off.

Doors 9:30 | Music 10. 21 & up.