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Andrew Fitzpatrick’s “Belief Diagram” combines bliss with unease

The electronic musician also shares a new video for the album’s opening track.

Photo by Graham Tolbert.

Electronic musician and guitarist Andrew Fitzpatrick has quietly built up a rich body of solo releases while also playing in a range of different projects: All Tiny Creatures, Bon Iver, and even Madison’s popular Talking Heads cover outfit, Houses In Motion, among others. Fitzpatrick has put out most of his solo work under the name Noxroy, beginning with the heavily processed guitar pieces of 2012’s Cotelydon Observatory. The new Belief Diagram, released under his own name, seamlessly combines a range of approaches Fitzpatrick has explored over the past decade: modular synthesis, field recordings, software manipulation, samplers, and electric guitar.

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“All of these evolved from an initial improvisation, and usually starting with a modular synth,” Fitzpatrick says of the tracks on Belief Diagram, though he notes that some of the material on the album reminds him of his earlier, guitar-centered solo music. 

For all of its sonic adventurousness and playfully odd track titles—”Whispering Jasons,” “New Honduras Daunt,” “Yard Of Rotting Pears,” and so on—Belief Diagram might be the most accessible point of entry into Fitzpatrick’s wide-ranging electronic experiments. Tracks like “Adjunct Disciple” and “Meal Story” combine gentle gales of ambient drone with guttural, percussive synth burbles, hovering between euphoria and unease. Several shorter tracks, including “Potato Barqí” and “K12DZ McGregor,” deal almost entirely in texture, carving up unwieldy cross-sections of pure synthesis. 

Even in its most demanding moments, Fitzpatrick’s music never seems to be pushing the listener away, but instead inviting people to get lost in the process along with him. That intimacy comes through in a video Bon Iver production/lighting designer Michael Brown created for “Meal Story.” Bubbles, polygons, and frizzy amoebas of color create a shifting landscape that’s as immersive as it is abstract.

Fitzpatrick didn’t have any reason in particular for putting aside the Noxroy moniker on Belief Diagram. “I started to just feel like I might as well use my name, even if it sounds like an Irish singer-songwriter or something,” he says, adding that he also sometimes receives emails mistaking him for a beatboxer and UW-Madison alum of the same name. 

The making of Belief Diagram came after a busy couple of years that found Fitzpatrick touring as a member of Bon Iver and putting out two releases that focused on long-form, episodic tracks—the 2018 album Protomontage and a late-2019 split with Chicago’s Forest Management. (Bon Iver has a European tour slated to start in August, though it’s anyone’s guess whether that will actually happen.) Over the past year, Fitzpatrick has been working on new All Tiny Creatures material with bandmates Thomas Wincek and Ben Derickson. Wincek, who mastered Belief Diagram, also recently put out his debut solo album, The Desert Of The Real Itself. Fitzpatrick hopes he can at least play some local shows by the end of 2021, and will continue to develop new solo work.

“I’ve always been doing my weird stuff in the background regardless of what other bands I was working with in the meantime,” he says.

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