The art for Vivid Image. Credit: H. Hanna and Chaski No

Multidisciplinary artist Sol Patches left Chicago a few years ago to study at New York University, but our city remains embedded in her work. She opens her new album, Vivid Image (self-released via Sol y Chaski), by throwing her voice at a skittering beat that borrows the frenetic energy of footwork, and her rapping glides over the anxious rhythm with nimble assurance. For most of the rest of Vivid Image, Patches favors dreamlike synths that sound like they’re moving in reverse or disintegrating into nothingness, an effect that underlines her daring artistic choices. On standout “Mississippi Metaphysics,” she pitches up her voice as she ruminates about her gender abolitionist activism and the dead friends who haunt her present life; as the wider culture inches closer to equitability, her speedy raps race toward a progressive future that much of the world can’t even imagine. Whether or not you can see that future as clearly as Patches, her gentleness throughout Vivid Image does a lot to help it feel hopeful.   v