On the twelve songs comprising San Francisco-based romantic indie pop outfit Geographer’s fourth proper studio album, Ghost Modern, composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mike Deni creates timeless compositions with blossoming synthesizers paired with precise orchestral arrangements. Growing increasingly tired with the lack of emphasis on songwriting prevalent in today’s popular culture, here Geographer has fashioned their most cohesive and compelling work to date. “I took a great deal of time crafting the songs for this album before arranging them, before blowing them out with swelling sonic textures that might override or overshadow the need to make the song – at its core – the most important thing,” explains Deni.
An almost Freudian attraction to water engulfs the band’s 4th studio album. Deni wrote much of the record driving out to a cliff overlooking the beach in the Presidio of San Francisco and worked on lyrics in the back of his car whenever he found a spare moment. “When I was feeling stuck I would walk down to the bluffs and sometimes down to the water and run lines in my head over and over,” recalls Deni. “The vision of that massive swath of blue, promising so much beneath and revealing so little on the surface, so terrifying but so beautiful, like ourselves. It was a huge image in my mind, it finds its way into a lot of songs, most notably ‘I’m Ready.’”
Having taken the time to meticulously craft the songs on the record proved to be one of Deni’s most difficult and greatest learning experiences. “I’m Ready”, which was the last song written for Ghost Modern, in the end tied everything together. Here the antagonist appearing throughout the record is ready to give up. Ready to give in. As the guitars begin to bloom and rhythm begins to build, he suddenly finds himself ready to stare into the unknowable depths of existence and to raise his head and look at the world. Look at the people around him.
Another benchmark in the writing process for Ghost Modern appears on “Patience.” Here Deni claims to have written his “first simple song.” “I had all these crazy, circuitous metaphors, and complicated twists in the lyrics as I have a tendency to throw everything I see in front of me into a song,” he confesses. The song was written over the course of an afternoon while standing on a deck of a friend’s house overlooking the ocean while he gazed at the specs of people below temping his companionship in the endless blue ocean of everything and nothing. In the end the song was recorded in one take and its simplicity was greatly encouraged by producer Eli Crews. “For me it was as like surfing on a whale, almost slipping off the whole time, but ultimately its austerity gives an almost effortless truth and beauty to the song.”