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Arliss Parker: 'Taken To Antrim'

Musician Chris Parker goes by the name Arliss Parker on his debut EP, <em>Handsome Like a Lion</em>.
Musician Chris Parker goes by the name Arliss Parker on his debut EP, Handsome Like a Lion.

Arliss Parker is really Chris Parker, a former Colorado resident turned Brooklyn transplant. After arriving in New York in 2006, Parker dove into his music, transforming his acoustic guitar compositions into folktronica pieces, using toy keyboards, glockenspiel and any other random instrument he came across. The result of his work became his recent debut EP, Handsome Like a Lion, released last month through Brooklyn-based DAG! Records.

Handsome Like a Lion, which clocks in at just under 19 minutes, is purely instrumental, but the appeal of Parker's debut is that it's evocative without ever having to say a word. The EP's 6 songs work on a simple formula: repeating guitar lines layered with quietly rhythmic, digital flourishes. Depending on your mood, this can either seem monotonous or wonderfully hypnotic. But for those who in the latter camp, Handsome Like a Lion offers a brief escape from the real world. And without any lyrics to interpret, each song's setting can be decided upon by the listener. So while the digital pitter-patters of the EP's loveliest song, "Taken to Antrim," can conjure up the warmth of a summer picnic, it can just as easily evoke raindrops on an autumn day. In either case, the imagery Parker helps to provide is a welcome comfort.

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Tamara Vallejos