Premiere: Geographer’s “One / Other” Is a Radiant Reckoning of Love & Power

Geographer © Brit O'Brien
Geographer © Brit O'Brien
Geographer is unraveling at the seams: An existential upheaval of unfiltered (and unapologetic) humanity, his new single “One / Other” is a radiant, beautifully raw reckoning between love and power.
Stream: “One / Other” – Geographer




It’s easy to forget, when examining the brief and bloody history of humanity, that through it all, from the dark ages to the social media era, there has also been the tiny, muffled, sweet voice of love.

Geographer is unraveling at the seams.

Or rather, everything’s unraveling around him.

A passionate eruption from achingly raw depths, the indie rock artist’s new song is an emotionally charged confrontation with the systems and structures of our society that disempower and dehumanize us; that compel us to assimilate and acquiesce, to surrender our souls and sacrifice our special spark in order to be one with the masses. A whisper becomes a shout as Geographer refuses to accept the terms and conditions we’ve been sold:

Seismic in scope and intimate in nature, “One / Other” is a radiant reckoning between love and power, and an existential upheaval of unfiltered (and unapologetic) humanity. It’s a fragile fever dream; a resounding reminder that life is what we make of it, and that we deserve the right to choose what that looks like for ourselves.

One / Other - Geographer
One / Other – Geographer
Will you run away like all the others
Give the future to another
What if you are not the question I’m asking
Well you answered it
I could be your painted big dream
You could put me in your coffee
We could make each other dizzy
We’ll cross that bridge when it falls
Dying stars and groceries
Buy one the other’s free
What are you after
You bastard

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “One / Other,” Geographer’s vividly vulnerable second song of 2023 (out April 28, 2023 via Nettwerk Music Group). The longtime project and musical moniker for Mike Deni, Los Angeles-based Geographer has been going strong for well over a decade. What began as a thorough exploration into the space between psychedelia and pop (2010’s Animal Shapes remains something of a “cult” classic in many circles) has grown, over the years, into a finessed vessel of deep and moving self-expression. “Geographer is one of those exciting musical identities that is constantly on the move and forever redefining itself,” Atwood Magazine wrote back in 2019.

Geographer most recently released his fourth LP in 2021; an epic 80-minute double-album, Down and Out in the Garden of Earthly Delights is a beautifully heartfelt, hopeful, and meaningful embrace of our shared humanity. Atwood Magazine praised it as an honest reckoning of 21st Century living at its core: “Songs of love, loss, and learning, healing, renewal, and reflection come together on an ambitious record that puts our souls in the spotlight. Exposing his raw self while putting his own highs, lows, and every-days into perspective, Geographer reminds us, through cinematic and stirring music, that life is a marathon; to take our journey one step at a time, and never lose sight of our values and vision.”

“PARTICLES, SEPARATION, & FULFILLMENT”: GEOGRAPHER DIVES INTO HIS EPIC ALBUM ‘DOWN AND OUT IN THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS’

:: FEATURE ::



Are we so incapable of making our own values that we must step into those already in place, often formed in a time when love was at its smallest?

Geographer packed that record full of profound philosophy and intense feeling, but there’s still much more in the tank – especially when it comes to him channeling societal and cultural critiques through song. A cathartic and captivating cacophony, “One / Other” rises and falls in cinematic waves of heavy, heated feeling as the artist explores the fraught dynamic between love and power – those two seemingly opposite polar forces that dictate so much of the push and pull we experience on a daily basis:

You sold the sky
And bought paradise
But who asked you
Are you that sure
Any last words
You only get one or the other…
You only get one or the other

“Despite my advancing years, this might be the angstiest song I’ve ever written,” Geographer’s Mike Deni tells Atwood Magazine. “It is essentially a conversation between love and power. Like if love had power duck taped to a chair, what would it say to them? How would it take them to task for all the subjugation, exploitation, neglect, and greed that is woven into every garment they sell us to stay warm in a world they made cold? Bold, preposterous, impossible love. We all feel it every day, whether we’re connected to it or not. But it so rarely leaves the confines of our bodies or our darkened rooms, and almost never finds its way into the important, fluorescently lit rooms of power, commerce, and politics. Love, that most human of all qualities, most precious of all resources, is neglected so utterly in our daily lives, and its opposite gets so much airtime.”

Geographer © Brit O'Brien
Geographer © Brit O’Brien



We can feel the pain in Deni’s voice as he laments the state of the world, observing what he sees as the destruction of our very humanity.

You sold the sky and bought paradise,” he sings – surely a reference to environmental pollution and the desecration of the natural world for corporate profit. His glistening, golden voice trembles as the words spill out of him: “But who asked you? Are you that sure? Any last words?

“It strikes me that even when we think we are acting with love, it is often from the standpoint of manipulation for some darker end,” Deni says. “How many of our traditions and core values were given to us by people in power to help them stay there? Did we ask for this? Are we so incapable of making our own values that we must step into those already in place, often formed in a time when love was at its smallest? And we now find ourselves shocked (if we are even aware of it) to have people utilizing an increasingly nuanced understanding of human psychology to create devices, holidays, ideals, and expectations that prey upon the weakest parts of our natures and seem to be leading us toward a total extinguishing of the light that burns so beautifully in us. Enough with these cursed algorithms, stop taking away what makes people special, stop giving them fake ideals to live up to.”

I was here before the sky was plundered
Down the alleyways I’m hunted
A flame could turn whole cities to ashes
It happens

“It’s easy to forget, when examining the brief and bloody history of humanity, that through it all, from the dark ages to the social media era, there has also been the tiny, muffled, sweet voice of love,” he adds. “This song has a chorus that I refuse to believe in. You only get one or the other. Yes, sure that’s how it would seem. But how can that be? I feel trapped in, mollified and opiated by a system that relegates my love to the status of mere fuel for the mechanisms of power, but yet my love exists all the same. As if the coal in the ground were destined for much more than our furnaces.”

“That’s why the song is a bit schizophrenic. It’s got a somber, muted synth lament in the beginning, which empties into the fragile tendon-strength desolation of a poorly recorded guitar, that then explodes into a major key shoegaze Britpop chorus. I tried to smoosh it all in there. and they don’t intermingle, but just like love and hate, they coexist.”




I feel trapped in, mollified and opiated by a system that relegates my love to the status of mere fuel for the mechanisms of power, but yet my love exists all the same.

I could be your gilded mountain
You could save me from a thousand
Throw a coin into a fountain
Hey I mean you never know
Cluster bombs and cold feet
Anything you need except answers
Now dance for us

Geographer’s heart is open and his eyes are wide to the world.

“One / Other” aches in the throes of distress and despair. Our cultural institutions are broken; our society is broken; and it’s breaking us, too, in the process. Yet there’s a glimmer of hope in this visceral darkness: In demanding that we wake up to all that’s going on around us, and that we wake up to the love lying within ourselves, Geographer manifests a beacon of intimate, resilient light. It’s the core, deep-seated belief that our humanity will triumph; that love can persevere, and that this conflict is a false choice: We don’t only get one or the other. Equilibrium can exist, and that starts with making conscious choices on a personal, individual level.

Of course, that’s a decision we all have to make for ourselves, and this song is the perfect soundtrack to our own inner reckonings. Stream Geographer’s “One / Other” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

It’s hard to live without beliefs
But talk’s so cheap it’s free
So just stop it, you caused it
Next topic
One or the other
You only get one or the other
You only get one or the other
You only get one or the other
You only get…

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:: stream/purchase Geographer here ::
Stream: “One / Other” – Geographer



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One / Other - Geographer

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? © Brit O'Brien

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