A psychedelic journey, a wondrous light show where nature connects with the inner workings of the soul. Everything is one, represented by a spectrum of colors that ebb and flow aimlessly. You can see it move past the horizon, it could be reaching out to space, who knows? This is the imagery that I get as while listening to the latest LP from Openness, the project bedroom pop musician Keelan McDorman. Entitled Adore the Journey, McDorman has carefully captured a soundscape that’s a pleasure to dive into. He leverages psych pop, jazz and rock with masterful sound design to create a carousel of soothing textures, smooth and silky grooves and catchy melodies that can periodically send shivers to the spine.
If you’re looking to escape the noise and stresses of reality, there’s no better to spend an hour of your precious free time. Find a nice couch to lay down on and let Openness take you in an hour-long journey. This album will make you feel like everything is right in the world.
The first half of the LP has heavy themes of nature. “Fallacy Undone” is a kaleidoscope of spinning images that make you feel like you’re surrounded by a lush forest canopy. “Trees Remember” is full of dulcet tones and harmonies that enthrall you with the wonders of existence: “Life is a passing show of ebb and flow / You can be blind and see”. “Skyline Park” takes you for a stroll outside on a breezy Sunday morning, it’s horns and synths waxing nostalgic for an old lover. “Mountain Secrets” takes you outside to explore the wilderness over groovy bass lines and climbing rhythms.
In the second half we see a slight shift into more urban beats and sounds. Jazz movements are slowly infused by R&B flourishes. Rhythms and grooves get more of a focus, moving to a cool late-night vibe. “Aspen Eyes” has a lo-fi aesthetic and punchy synth beats that would make it great for a trippy club. “Out When No One Else Is” has a disco afterglow that can make you whip out your old dance moves. “Keep Your Sky in the Blue” is a psychedelic R&B track with stellar keys.
The staggering amount of collaborations along with its runtime just shows the amount of work and dedication that’s been poured into this project. With the world on lockdown right now, contributors had to share recordings digitally before they could be mixed by McDorman in his home in Denver, Colorado.
The world isn’t at its best right now, and that’s okay. “Make of it what you will. Adore the Journey”, McDorman writes in his bandcamp page. I doubt anyone would object to that after listening to this record, Openness makes it look too easy.