By Melissa Fossum
By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
Whether it's through his digital design work or his post-rock music outfit, A Cloud for Climbing (AC4C), Brock Lefferts has one goal in mind: "organically distorting what is perfect." In AC4C, Lefferts flies solo, using audio software Ableton Live to manufacture loops and beats for him to play alongside on acoustic or electric guitar. Crafting layered instrumental ascensions in the same vein as Tycho or Four Tet, the 26-year-old musician builds progressive soundscapes as crisp as they are delicate.
If Lefferts excels at one thing, it's dedication. He began a Thing-a-Day project in 2011, producing one digitally made image on Tumblr daily without ever missing a day. He decided to apply that momentum to his music, writing a song a month throughout 2012. By 2013, he had a 12-track album, Tight Eye Tie Dye, which he whittled down to eight tracks. He also remixed "Forever Endeavor," a song from his debut EP, A Symphony for Synesthesia.
"I'm leaving [the tracklist] in the order I created them. There really is this flow from one song to the next," Lefferts says, sipping coffee at a cafe on Roosevelt. "It has a lot of dynamics, which is something I think is really missing in a lot of electronic music. I'm lumped into that electronic music category because I do use mostly electronic instruments, but having that dynamic, having high and low volume levels and going in between them, creates much more interesting [music]. [It's] pleasing for the listener and helps to push their emotions to another level."
According to Lefferts, the album's title is a reference to after-images in your eyes from staring at bright lights too long, or what Lefferts calls "Tight Eye Tie Dye."
"You can absolutely see it, but it's not an existence outside of you," Lefferts says. "It's a color pattern only you can see and it exists somewhere between reality and a dream world. That's exactly what I want A Cloud for Climbing to be sonically, something that exists very personally between reality and a dream world."
After hearing Tempe electronica duo Lymbyc Systym's last album, Symbolyst, Lefferts contacted their Brooklyn producer, Abe Seiferth, who also has worked with Yeasayer and Warm Ghost.
"He did such an incredible job revitalizing this thing that I had spent so much time on. This is the first time that I've reached out and worked with someone to mix and master," Lefferts says, adding that he dreams of someday collaborating with vocalists on a project similar to Give Up by The Postal Service.
Lefferts self-released Tight Eye Tie Dye earlier this month and restarted his Thing-a-Day in January.
"It's extremely time consuming trying to balance a full-time job and creating a piece of art every single day on top of all these other gigs that are coming through. But it's worth it," Lefferts says. "It's great to be able to explore so many different creative outlets every single day. To do the design and the art and the music every single day. I feel like I've never been more creative than I have been now."
Previously, Lefferts was more focused on bedroom recording than live performance, but 2014 saw that change. Just by tweeting "burritos are my religion," Lefferts landed a gig at Crescent Ballroom. The venue retweeted A Cloud for Climbing and was then spotted by chillwave band Brotherrun, who requested that the guitarist open for them. Lefferts was quickly approached with other offers, including opening for El Ten Eleven and performing at the Viva PHX festival in March. Now, with his album finally finished, it seems like Lefferts is just getting started.