HOMESHAKE

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about the artist

HOMESHAKE, the musical project of Peter Sagar, is an expression of adjustment and contortion within the world as he experiences it and the sounds he wants to hear in it. Hallucinatory and heartbreaking in its cries for connection, Sagar's sound is often imitated but has proven to be entirely his own; textural and profound, uniquely honoring his diverse influences but adrift within its own transportive imagination.

Sagar left his hometown of Edmonton in 2012 seeking a fresh start from the scattered projects of his youth and desiring to open himself back up to the jazz music he was raised on.…

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HOMESHAKE, the musical project of Peter Sagar, is an expression of adjustment and contortion within the world as he experiences it and the sounds he wants to hear in it. Hallucinatory and heartbreaking in its cries for connection, Sagar's sound is often imitated but has proven to be entirely his own; textural and profound, uniquely honoring his diverse influences but adrift within its own transportive imagination.

Sagar left his hometown of Edmonton in 2012 seeking a fresh start from the scattered projects of his youth and desiring to open himself back up to the jazz music he was raised on. He folded these childhood influences into the experimental indie rock he had become infatuated with and began the project in his new home of Montreal.

Following March's CD Wallet, Homeshake presents his second album of 2024, Horsie. Written and recorded at his home studio in Toronto, it explores Sagar's complicated feelings about returning to live performance. Deepening his relationship to loneliness and anxiety, the record examines those themes in the context of touring.

The title track brings us to the American highway, gazing out the window in a purgatorial haze as the events of the previous day drift away into the memory of concerts past. "Dinner Plate" describes late night conversations with a lover back home, texting images of meals, attempting to absorb one another's presence through the phone. Feelings of anxiety turn to irritability and resentment in songs like "On A Roll" and "Smiling," as a lack of privacy begins to exasperate relationships held in a confined space.

"Nothing To See," the album's first single, finds Sagar attempting to hide in plain sight, moving through crowds of people at his shows and daydreaming of the peace and quiet at the end of the night. The song is accompanied by a music video directed by Jim Larson which situates this mood into a small cult in a mansion in Palm Springs.

Here we find Sagar attempting to entertain the guests until he eventually loses his mind and begins to change form. This story continues in a trilogy of videos for second and third singles, for the songs "Simple" and "Empty Lot." In the second, video we find Sagar continuing to change form as he steals a car in a panic is pursued by a mysterious man on a threatening Harley Davidson. Finally, he wanders into the desert and happens upon an endlessly stretched limousine.

While it marks less of a sonic departure than CD Wallet, Horsie employs various textures influenced by artists like Four Tet and My Bloody Valentine, the rhythmic forms of D'Angelo and Sade, and moments of ambient Americana found in the works of Ry Cooder. The cornerstone pieces of gear used were an Ensoniq EPS and Roland Juno 60, though the album also employs a great deal of electric guitar, along with his beloved SP-404. He maintains a philosophy of "less is more," finding the simplest route from one point to another.

With CD Wallet, Sagar took his heaviest-ever approach took his heaviest-ever approach to his signature sounds, applying distorted guitars, blown out drums, and 90s digital synths to a devastating, sludgy sound. Inspired by a teenage love of nu-metal and postpunk, the album evokes stories of drinking six packs behind dumpsters and endless bus rides across his hometown's cold and isolated suburban sprawl.

"Memories fading, good thing someone will sell them to me" ends the first track of the album, while the second half of nine-minute album closer "Listerine" explores the trap of spinning easy nostalgic memories into whatever form we choose to imagine they held.

The music video for the lead single (and title track) finds Sagar returning home to explore old haunts while feeling alien in the places he once knew so well. The following single, "Basement," is the most buoyant track of the release, a love note to the subterranean hideouts where Sagar wrote music and found refuge from outside stimulus. Each song evokes a sentimentally induced coma, protecting and preserving one's creativity while threatening a slide into uncritical nostalgia; a tension Sagar's music contends with but never falls victim to.

This feeling of challenging oneself to make work that is focused on pure self-expression dates back to Homeshake's origin, a chaotic period during which Sagar was splitting his time between home studio recording and playing guitar in Mac Demarco's touring band. After a long period spent on the road, he decided to leave Demarco's group to focus entirely on his own work. His first solo release The Homeshake Tape was a mix of angular guitar riffs and soft jazz voicing, glued together with samples from cartoons and TV shows.

Unavailable on streaming, the tape has become a cult favorite. Its sound was expanded and refined in his debut LP In The Shower, a sensual disc made up of tracks about the love of his life, Salina Ladha, and their cat's tragically short life.

Homeshake's second album, Midnight Snack, began a shift in compositional focus from guitar to synthesizer. Looking for new temperatures and tones, Sagar employed pads and drum machines in place of the more traditional rock instrumentation of his previous work. His next album Fresh Air sharpened the direction into a poppier sound, creating some of his most beloved work. Sagar approaches every album with the same frame of mind, composing purely for the joy of the moment without consideration to potential commercial reception.

His fourth album, Helium, is his first album fully recorded in a home studio setting. Despite its impetus being Sagar wanting to be released from his record contract, it features his most optimistic sound. Shortly after its release, Sagar fell into an extended depressive episode, the longest period of time away from writing and recording in his adult life. This experience became Under The Weather, his most introspective work to this point. A raw diaristic experience of isolation, depression and anxiety, the work connects his ailments at that time to the work he would soon explore on CD Wallet: the childhood origins of his loneliness.

A trip through the Homeshake catalogue is one of evolution, reflection, and self-criticism, alongside self-love, a clear-eyed realism about the cruelties of the world and a longing for the gentler place it could be.

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