“Flux” album cover. Photo by Kimble Lavoie. Design by Dominic Lavoie

Portland musician Dominic Lavoie is releasing his ninth studio album, “Flux,” on Friday, and the celebratory show is the following Thursday at Sun Tiki Studios.

A discography that dates back to 2006’s “Waging the Wage” shows that Lavoie has long been invested in a sound with psychedelic leanings that employs a slew of diverse instruments and sounds. This approach has served him well, and “Flux” is certainly a testament to that.

He also surrounds himself in the studio with A-list musicians including, on “Flux,” Emma Stanley on trumpet and flugelhorn, Ryan Zoidis on saxophone, Frank Hopkins on flute, John Nels on guitar and Pete Genova on bass.

Lavoie sings all the parts, plays most of the guitar and also plays trombone and harmonium (a type of organ) on the album.

Lavoie is also a genius-level knob and button twister and handled production, engineering and mixing duties on his own. The album was recorded on vintage equipment – specifically, 1-inch, 16-track tape – at Lavoie’s Shabbey Load studio. It was mastered by Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering.

There are nine tracks on “Flux,” and I’ve listened to them all about seven times through, discovering a new quirk, sound or lyric each time.

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“Time Machine” kicks off the album with Lavoie reflecting on some life choices. “One time in my life, I grabbed the bull by the horns/Washed its blood off the floor and swore no more,” he sings against a dense layer of drums, guitar and keys, among other sounds.

“Canopy” has a trippy vibe, and I’m pretty sure he flipped the tape for a moment, as the first line of the song sounds like it’s being sung backwards. Dan Boyden’s bongos can be heard throughout, and there’s an orchestral synth line among the thread of acoustic guitar. “You’re up there with winners/Can you claim self-defense,” Lavoie asks, in a song that punches with vocal bursts and sound explosions, alongside piano riffs.

The next track, “Did You Go Blind,” has a sleepy country twang thing going on. It’s a dreamy soundscape of percussion, sometimes shuffling and sometimes strong. Props to Hamilton Belk’s pedal steel and Stanley’s horn. The song has earned the status of my current favorite because Lavoie manages to pack a whole lot of sound into three and a half minutes.

“Flux” closes out with “Remember The Roses,” which has Lavoie sipping cold coffee and lamenting the disintegration of a relationship while also recalling the good parts. With piano as the main instrument, the song also shines with electric guitar and Lavoie’s stellar knack for arrangements.

I asked Lavoie about his musical influences, and he listed Neil Young, The Beatles, David Bowie, Grateful Dead and Aldous Harding. I can hear the first four in his music, for sure, but in subtle rather than imitating ways.

Lavoie also shared that he grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Counting Crows and Seal. Point being, his sphere of musical influence and exposure is rich, and the sound that he’s carved out for himself reflects that.

“Flux” will be available digitally and on streaming platforms. You can also pick up the 180g limited edition vinyl at Bull Moose locations, and Lavoie will have some with him at the album release show. You can order a copy at dominiclavoie.com.

Dominic Lavoie “Flux” Album Release Show with Junesevere
8:30 p.m. May 12. Sun Tiki Studios, 375 Forest Ave., Portland, $12 in advance, $15 day of show. suntikistudios.com


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