The latest long-player of devotional noir by Humboldt County romantic Brian Pyle aka Ensemble Economique was originally titled Music Saves Lives, in response to the misguided backlash directed at underground artists in the wake of the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Since Pyle’s career threads through a decade and a half of Northern California’s independent experimental music community, the blow struck a uniquely deep and personal chord. As a way to process, he began recording at his coastal home studio in Manila, California, channeling inner states of mind, seeking something “more personal and intimate, the idea of love, and shining through.”
Radiate Through You delivers on its title, exuding a nuanced catharsis, alternately tempestuous and transcendent, forlorn but undefeated. Vaulted heavens of interwoven electronics ebb into hushed dirges of skeletal percussion and candlelit guitar. Roiling noise seethes, swells, and subsides as an ashen string arrangement rises in the mix, keening a somber, circular elegy, as if overtaken by memory on a long walk alone.
Two key guest appearances lend the album even more dynamism and drama: the first by Barcelona synthesist Alexander Molero on the questing, celestial opener, “Music Is Life,” the second by New Zealand psychic sisters Purple Pilgrims on the devastating finale, “Blue Hour.” Both showcase impressive shades of Pyle’s finesse as producer and muse, sparking his collaborators to new heights.
Whether taken as expressionist memorial, therapeutic song cycle, or something more ambiguous, Radiate Through You stands as a pensive, passionate statement by an enduring light of the West Coast canon, drawn from “a deep, special place of giant emotions, feelings.”
As a sort of pantheist, or at least an artist who finds great stories hiding in the vast visual subtleties of nature – Subtle Trees is a classical music collage as much as it is an homage to classical music. It’s core is created through sounds gathered in the owl hours by sampling ancient instruments whose cores were derived from the trees of nature. These sounds were layered like lichen on an ancient pantheistic sculpture.
The compilation features 12 tracks from some of the globe’s most talented sound-designers. It is a subtly rewarding headphone listen from start to finish; curated and ordered to purposefully induce a state of sleep. Starting off minimally, gradually gathering tone and atmosphere, the experience goes on without ever boiling over or reaching a crescendo. Parts of the album are light and restful whereas traces of it tread darker territory. All in all, the imagery that the album conjurs sits perfectly as a soundtrack to the dreams one experiences during a nights sleep.
Includes a 40 minute bonus CD, The Hilton, featuring previously unreleased material: It might not have been so long since Jeff Witscher released his debut ‘proper’ album under the Rene Hell moniker, but he’s kept himself busy in the interim all the same…
The CD features a fantastically detailed drawing from Bleeding Heart Narrative, folding out around the gatefold thick-card sleeve in a two colour print.
All copies come with a 12-panel foldout insert, and the 200 limited copies also include an extra two-colour numbered screenprint, and are also hand-numbered and sewn together.