An explicit analogy of the Eidolon EP on VALE
Our very own Hajo Krijger shares an explicit analogy of the new Eidolon EP out on VALE. ÆTERNA, Poseidon & Leon Ross have clearly put a lot of work into it's creation and we even asked the guys a few questions about the release.
“The Eidolon Ep has been a long time coming” states one of the founders of VALE. “Even if the platform, which I wouldn’t call just a platform, but an interactive homebas(s)e for the Beats community, is still in it’s youngsters shoes, it has no lack of vision for the future. Past February, even before VALE released their Awareness Comp, VALE proposed the idea of a collaborative EP to ÆTERNA, Poseidon and Leon Ross. A collaboration without limitation; they were completely on board. Eidolon will be their most prominent release since the compilation, and the artists involved are truly a part of the VALE family“ according to Josh¹
Poseidon - Hazia
You gaze upon a broken, empty wasteland. In the distance you can hear a sorrowful scream. Deep and powerful strings lead you astray, is the screaming voice asking for mercy? If it is, it won’t receive it. You try to calm yourself with a kalimba, but to no avail. Hopelessness hits. A strangely timed snare pushes you out and pulls you back into reality. Strong and hefty basses almost drown you until the 2 minute mark. Your kalimba turns against you, and you feel yourself getting sucked into the madness that is Hazia. I absolutely adore the vibes that this gives you. The track tells a very sad story. One drenched with spite and sorrow. When asked about the story, Poseidon states that, yes, it is a dark one
“The goal was to create an emotional overview during the orchestral sections, and during the drop, we delve into the minds of people who are lost, high, tripping, however you perceive it.“
“I usually start my tracks based on a concept.” He continues, “in this instance ‘Hazia’ is a substance in the movie ‘Tales from Earthsea’ by Studio Ghibili. It is used as a metaphor for Heroin and other life ruining substances that drown you into a cycle of addiction and destruction, until death. That being said, the music does write itself, in that I don’t care about genre, convention or tradition. I aim to break boundaries a while also keeping the track in a listenable state. However, the meaning behind the music and the experience that a listener has matters the most to me.“
The arrhythmic serum growls are fierce. To me, this is listening music. After a while the lack of mainstay could stop working in a mix. Around 5:30 this is solved though, but it might be a tad too late, and this part of the track is not as strong as the rest. I would have loved to see the remains of the wasteland I visualised slowly fade out, but the choice was to have a 1/32 gater on there, which doesn’t fade with reverb, but let the track end there and then. Artistic choice, but not the one I would have made.
ÆTERNA - Dazed
Dazed opens with some very ASMR-y crackles and some soothing stretched soundscapes. When the fulfilling kick comes in it’s accompanied by soothing rhodes-like keys and nicely hitting vocals. The thing I like most about the track is its fair share of ‘clunky’, ‘confused’ sound design. I don’t mean that in a bad way. In the background you can hear all kind of ‘Twunks’ and ‘Wibbi flibbis’. That really add to the straight up roughness that is the bass. It keeps a certain loveliness with the Return of the Keys ™.
This track is the track that does the most with the least. Not to say that there’s not a lot going on; there absolutely is. Every sound is used to great potential, has its own place and ruleset. The way the bass dissipates into crackles in the end leaves me wanting more, and that’s always a good place to end a track. I asked Æterna about his choices within the release, and his answer set me on a different listening path than usual.
There’s a lot of different elements to this track, and when asked about how he maintained coherence with all those elements, he was quite clear with his answer:
“I like to have a clear understanding of what space I’m in and what I’m trying to achieve emotionally and musically. I love narratives and for me it’s important to convey stories and concepts through musical design. It feels then as if it’s personal and comes from the heart.“
Poseidon X Æterna - Zen Mirage
An empowering, cinematic opening that, to me, makes the word neon pop up. I get a lot of Emperor vibes when I listen to this opening. This changes when the chorus comes up though. A very analog sounding bassline (and I’ve been assured it is -not-, wowzers) makes me want to jump up and flail my arms like a Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy, but a rhythmic and devilishly handsome one at that.
Through this whole review I’ve been having difficulty trying to express the exact roughness of this release. But maybe I can explain it like this: the middle part of this (2:30 and onwards) would be a very solid, cinematic drum and bass release. But it isn’t. It’s knob is twister far right and broken off, and the only thing left is ashy remains. The layering on the main bass is unique, ‘hollow’ and very interesting. It ends on a melancholic note. Whale cubs wail at you from the distance, and the rinsing of the sea leaves you washed upon a desolate shore. My favourite of the EP.
Poseidon X Leon Ross - Mercury
I imagine an office worker going crazy with Mercury’s evil, haggisch opening. Instant power with this one, it’s opening could even be a main drop for other tracks. Even thinking this I wasn’t really prepared for the drop. A distorted, pitched noise opens the gates to full mental instability. Rough isn’t the right term. Bone breaking is cliché. But let´s put it this way; after playing this track the bicycle store behind my house decided to only sell motorbikes. Lots of ideas are cramped into this one: Ivy Lab-esque vocal chops, Shades-esque synth-breaks Sleeper-esque atmospherics fill the part of a greater puzzle without ever sounding too chaotic. Without a main recurring theme in this track it’s not one to memorize or whistle to yourself, but it’s one that you will find new stuff in after weeks of listening; special shoutout the the africussion that I only found out about on my fourth listen. Mercury sports slightly abrupt ending though, the female vocals sooth, and the keys are nice, but it’s not as daunting as the rest of the track.
There is a certain kind of percussive focus that Leon Ross adds to this track, and when confronted with this he gave me some insights in the production process, and how much of a collaborative effort this release actually is.
“When Poseidon and I work together, pretty much every detail will be designed by us both collaboratively. My prominent background is Drum and Bass, which requires a lot of intricate rhythmic details. There’s a lot of things that go through your head when incorporating percussive elements. For one, does it compliment the track musically but create sonic interest? “
“Do these elements layer together in the mix without colliding frequencies… Or do they collide in an interesting way? ÆTERNA, Poseidon, and I all love detail.Often we’ll stumble onto these tiny details in the tracks we adore which inevitably make us want to hear it over and over. So we pay a lot of attentions to those details; even a sound that might be -22dB, we hope listeners will repeat the track and find these little one-shot sounds.” It made me curious, I asked if he could share maybe one of those details, so I could try and look for it, but alas: “I'd rather keep that as a clue for listeners, so they'll be able to find these details themselves.“
A very strong release by VALE, made my some very open, interesting producers that aren’t afraid to broaden the horizons and play with emotion, story and experience. These aren’t just bangers, they are more. They made me create worlds in my head, and I’ve caught myself not feeling content with regular ol’ ‘heavy hitters’ for now. I hope that will fade away, because there’s not a lot of music that tickles my brain like these four tracks do. I will definitely keep both my eyes locked on these guys, and VALE’s future endeavours. Oh, speaking of which, you should too. VALE’s Josh¹ spilled some beans about a carefully curated remix EP featuring some fresh producers will soon follow. If it’s the same quality as this release, I can’t wait.
Some final words from VALE...
“With this release I wanted to achieve a balance between heavy hitters and stimulating emotion, an experience that can be perceived as a journey, with elements that get you hyped and evoke creative thinking. Especially with Zen Mirage.’ That way the statement seems as an overview.“