Premiere: The Hazy Bloom of Ryan Von Gonten’s “Corpse Flower”

Oakland singer/songwriter Ryan Von Gonten captures the instability and turbulence of online dating in “Corpse Flower,” a humble expression of uncertain intimacy.

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Online dating is perhaps the most transformative oxymoron-like activity to come out of the Internet Age. Whereas the internet itself was but a dial-up slog just 25 years ago, hundreds if not thousands of new couples now claim a series of 1’s and 0’s as the place where they first met. The way we connect and meet new people has been forever transformed – and whether folks meet through, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or any slew of the sites out there today, dating just doesn’t feel the same as it sounded like when our parents and grandparents were in their own courting stages. It’s a brave new world out there, and it will swallow you whole if you’re not careful. Oakland singer/songwriter Ryan Von Gonten captures the instability and turbulence of online dating in “Corpse Flower,” a humble expression of uncertain intimacy.

Truthlikeness - Ryan Von Gonten

Truthlikeness – Ryan Von Gonten

The start of a college atmosphere
when I met you with no
ence in the tangle of it
followed a hateful minute

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the performance video for “Corpse Flower,” taken from Ryan Von Gonten’s recently-released debut album Truthlikeness (out September 14, 2018 via Human Noise Records). A Bay Area by-way-of Texas singer/songwriter, Ryan Von Gonten comes out of the same musical sphere as Hovvdy, Lomelda, and Molly Burch. His subdued musical style is like Wilco meets Youth Lagoon and Daywave: A hazy flood of nonchalance, smooth and unmuddied. In short, Von Gonten’s work is what music writers used to call “indie” before the word lost its usefulness; meanwhile, songs like “Corpse Flower” offer sustenance for a weary soul.

I give you nothing but light now
I give you nothing but light now
even when I go out of sight
I give you nothing but light now
Ryan Von Gonten © 2019

Ryan Von Gonten © 2019

“We filmed this song after my album release tour for Truthlikeness in Fall 2018,” Von Gonten tells Atwood Magazine. “I wanted to do a live version because on the album you can hide behind many studio tricks. This recording is a true representation of what the band sounds like together in a room. Lyrically, this version is more conclusive because it includes an additional verse that didn’t make the album. ‘Corpse Flower’ is written about some negative experiences I’ve had in internet dating culture. I think the system encourages you to have many short relationships rather than grow with individuals in a long form connection. If it works for some people, I think that’s great — but it’s not my vibe, and I usually end up feeling like I’ve been hurt or hurt someone else.”

This recording is a true representation of what the band sounds like together.

And part of every original
Connection I’ve been in it for
Four in the morning regret
Wish I hadn’t laughed at that
Ryan Von Gonten © 2019

Ryan Von Gonten © 2019

Performing alongside Von Gonten are Adam Hirsch – moog rogue, Andrew Stevens – drums, and Taft Mashburn – guitar. Growing around Von Gonten’s vocals and guitar, “Corpse Flower” is peculiarly personal, yet distant; the artist keeps himself at bay while the band immerse the audience in a sea of fuzzy sound aglow with emotion. Regret, doubt, and reluctance swim together in a song that, unlike so many online relationships, keeps itself afloat and ultimately thrives.

Oxymoron though it may seem, online dating is more than a trend. It may have resulted in far more short-term flings and loosely-defined “things” for millennials, but it has also allowed people who would otherwise never meet to come together and find one another. Though many unsuccessful pairings will go back to the sea and try again, the underlying principles of connection, comfort, understanding, and desire are all still there. So long as two people share that mentality, and get off the internet and spend time with each other in person, Internet dating is just an introduction to real-life dating.

Stream Ryan Von Gonten’s exquisitely-named “Corpse Flower” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

“Corpse Flower” – Ryan Von Gonten

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Truthlikeness - Ryan Von Gonten

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com