The Center and the Fringe

by Matt LaJoie

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Limited to 100! Eco-friendly full-color gatefold digipak & professionally-duplicated CD-R that combines both The Center and The Fringe LP and the Happy to Help bonus cassette tracks. Note: disc is playable on all CD drives and players with CD-R playback capability, but may not be able to be read by older CD units.

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  • Art Edition 12" Vinyl + Bonus Cassette + Hand-Drawn Mandala Insert
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    LIMITED TO 50! 12" black vinyl in rice paper sleeve, held in a screenprinted & tipped-on heavy stock reverse board jacket, hand-numbered to 50. Includes a one-of-a-kind hand-drawn mandala insert (made to-order) by the artist, the "Happy to Help" bonus cassette, and a 1" button of the cover art's mandala.

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Center and the Fringe via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • Limited Edition Cassette with Malachite Gemstone & 1" button
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Limited to 50! Beige music-grade Type I c50 with hand-typed and gold-ink autographed cornflower A-side label and hand-stamped (gold ink) B-side. Held in clear polybox with wraparound full-color tip-on cover, and includes a malachite gemstone and 1" pinback button of the cover art's mandala.

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Center and the Fringe via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • Limited Edition 12" Black Vinyl
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Limited to 250. 12" black vinyl in archival/anti-static rice-paper-style sleeve, with black ink silkscreen & die-cut mandala front cover and tip-on back cover on heavy stock reverse board jacket, hand-numbered 51-to-300.

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Center and the Fringe via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • *NICE PRICE* slightly imperfect 12" Black Vinyl
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    While supplies last! Final copies of the first edition vinyl pressing, which for one reason or another are cosmetically imperfect but guaranteed to play fine. Most record jackets have a dinged corner or two, and/or smudged or incomplete spine stamp, and some have small spots of adhesive residue staining. The vinyl itself may have light surface scuffs that should not affect play. All elements are guaranteed VG++ or better condition. Includes digital download.

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Center and the Fringe via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Selected as one of the BEST ALBUMS OF 2019 by Ambient Music Guide, The Avant Ghetto, Beyond the Pond, Rob Mitchum, Record Crates United, Viking's Choice (NPR Music), and more.

"Quite simply, ambient guitar paradise. Recorded live with no overdubs, these mystical loops layer like a sunset on another planet." - Lars Gotrich, NPR Music

"It’s amazing what a gifted guitarist can do with a few six-strings and a looper pedal. On The Center and The Fringe, American player Matt Lajoie takes the road less travelled by avoiding the huge washes of spaced-out reverb so beloved by many guitarists making ambient and post-rock. He instead blends largely untreated bowed, fingerstyle, plucked and strummed notes on acoustic and electric guitar and uses live-looping to create bright tapestries. His sparkling, melodic and hypnotising instrumentals sometimes echo the more meditative moments of Krautrock masters like Ashra, Popol Vuh and Neu’s Michael Rother. An outstanding release from the quasi new age label Flower Room." - Mike G, Ambient Music Guide

"Some heads may know Matt LaJoie’s name from his collaborative work with MV&EE, Herbcraft and Planets Around The Sun, among many others. The Center and the Fringe is a purely solo record, however, with LaJoie layering and looping guitars into an ecstatic tapestry. One side is electric, the other acoustic – both sides are great. The electric half features interlocking pulses and strange symmetries that sometimes teeter on the edge of chaos but never succumb. The acoustic half seems as though it is going to be more straightforward at first, but soon moves into darker, more abstract zones. Recommended!" - Tyler Wilcox, Doom & Gloom From The Tomb / Aquarium Drunkard

*Bandcamp's Best New Ambient January 2019*
"The album was performed without any use of overdubbing, but LaJoie has managed to craft an experience so rich and diverse in sound it would be almost impossible to tell otherwise. Most cuts on The Center and the Fringe sit in a frankly weird place, sonically. Take “Venusian Ballroom,” in which the background loops keep up the track’s energy, as a contrast to the deliberate, reflective main guitar line. The culminating point of the album is its chilled-out, rhythmic title track, which breaks from the record’s established irregular guitar sound and minimal instrumentation." - Ari Delaney, Bandcamp Daily

"Matt Lajoie first brought me joy through his collaborations with MV & EE, then his work as Herbcraft and Endless Caverns. Right now he is firing on all cylinders with his Flower Room label, keeping a Herculean labour going by being both prolific but maintaining a reliable quality level. This solo album is a case in point, where the dextrous American primitive style disintegrates in a space/time hyperspace. Like watching John Fahey while on magic mushrooms, Lajoie displays his guitar chops while he jangles the keys to innerspace." - Ned Netherwood, Was Ist Das

"Les compositions de Matt LaJoie tournent en boucle autour de quelques notes jouées sur une guitare électrique, les cordes sont pincées, il y a de la reverb ainsi que du delay et les lignes mélodiques procurent immédiatement quelques vertus thérapeutiques. Elles se superposent progressivement les unes sur les autres, et l’on imagine instantanément le guitariste, assis en tailleur dans un salon chaleureux, en train de sampler ces arrangements sur un multipistes à K7, au gré de l’inspiration qui vient. Le sommeil peut attendre, cette musique psychotropique se déploie lentement, nous plongeant dans une sorte d’état second, comme si nous regardions les étoiles formant un étrange mandala à la couchée de la nuit.
Sur Venusian Ballroom, Matt LaJoie déploie progressivement ce psychédélisme doux fait de guitares claires et de bourdonnements hypnotiques. Six minutes et vingt-deux secondes plus tard, le morceau reste à jamais dans cette cité spatiale imaginaire cachée au plus profond de notre imagination, et je peux vous assurer que je n’ai pris aucune substance hallucinogène aujourd’hui pour écrire une chose pareille." - Mathieu for Random Songs

*The Slow Music Movement Release of the Day, Feb. 12, 2019.*
"Exit the machine by the nearest door, take your first left & jump aboard the transcendental highway to a warmer, more caring, loving, harmonious place with the Kosmische caressed, psychedelically expressed, cosmic guitar and new age of New Age vibes of the excellent new LP from Matt Lajoie for Flower Room."


Tabulating an estimated 100+ musical releases under dozens of aliases (Herbcraft, ML Wah, Endless Caverns, Cursillistas, etc.) over the past 14 years, here Matt LaJoie steps out into the light with the first ever vinyl LP to bear the name of his birth.

"The Center and the Fringe" is a collection of four solo guitar instrumentals, recorded live with no overdubs at Flower Room's temporary summer home in Hope, Maine, and display the most refined, spiritually inspired, and transcendent live guitar playing of his 20-year history with the instrument. Each track is based off a simple loop recorded live to LaJoie's ubiquitous DL4, which then inspired live-looping, free-flowing automatic compositions from four to 20+ minutes in length.

The A-side features electric guitar pieces recorded on a custom Epiphone Les Paul in standard tuning; the resultant "Plane of Return" and "Venusian Ballroom" conjure up images and feelings of ascendant multiplane travel, visitations of light beings, wonder and cosmic mystery. The whirring, chirping music box harmonics of "Venusian Ballroom" hardly sound like the work of a guitar, until lead lines bring familiar tones to direct the dance; here as ever, a consistent forward motion to the improvisation conjures the image of an invisible conductor just behind the curtain.

The B-side's tracks more concretely ground the improvisations in roots-deep playing on 10-string acoustic guitar, run through the looping function of the DL4. But, played in a tuning wholly unfamiliar to LaJoie, "Communion with Si Mahmoud" and the 20+ minute title track chart an intuitive, expanding, and all-embracing relationship with the unknown and unknowable. From delicate filigrees to jhala-inspired strums, the playing displays high-minded exploration that seems to stretch 10 strings to infinite lengths.

Venturing far beyond the realm of American Primative, LaJoie's earlier guitar soli releases ("The Fountain", "Free to Be...", "The Accidental Eye", "Unlisted") laid the foundation but only hinted at the heights reached in this new collection of recordings; enthusiasts of such cosmic-minded guitar explorers as Deuter, Ackerman, Fichelscher, Göttsching, Côrtes, Frisell, Fripp, and Sandy Bull should find as much to dig into as those who have tracked LaJoie's own progression on the instrument over the past two decades.


released January 11, 2019

Matt LaJoie: Epiphone custom Les Paul in standard tuning (side one); Seagull 10-string acoustic in Bb-Dd-Bb-F#-Bb-D tuning thru Bill Lawrence pickup (side two); DL4, Holy Grail Reverb.

Recorded August 20, 2018 and mixed Summer 2018 at 4847 (Hope, ME) by ML.

Mastered for vinyl & lacquer cut by Carl Saff.

Thanks to Joe Lindsey & Shon I Ma Honey for ushering these guitars into my life.


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Flower Room Portland, Maine

Exploration & discoveries in improvisation & harmonization ☄ Tonal cosmology, virtual rurality, and hymns inspired by the cosmos and the natural world, to heal and inspire a more harmonious You-We-All ☤ Welcome

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