Eve Essex — Here Appear
Here Appear is an invocation, a salutation, and a celebration — of past and perfect lives, forgotten and remembered, exchanged and borrowed.
Eve Essex’s solo debut is a multi-instrumental fea(s)t combining synthesizer, drum machine, alto saxophone, piccolo, electric organ/harpsichord, harmonica, slide whistle, bells, guitar pedals, and voice— composed, arranged, and performed by Essex herself. What began as an improv set at Berlin’s Harlekin bar developed, over the past two years, into a complete body of work evoking multiple time periods, genres, characters, and sonic landscapes. The seven tracks that make up Here Appear harness elements of classical, drone, avant-jazz, and distorted pop, coupled with an ambitious vocal delivery that draws on the phrasing and articulations of Essex’s own woodwind playing, to create a quasi-narrative mélange retaining the vulnerability of live performance. On the opening track “Grind Away,” otherworldly harmonica strains set the stage for lyrics citing Chinese sci-fi novel The Third Body Problem as source material. Saxophone and piccolo interludes “Immediate Communicator” and “Colorless Stone” move between medieval-tinged melodic inventions and textural noise, recalling a Pharoah Sanders-influenced fever dream, while the linguistic abstractions of Russian conceptual poet Lev Rubinstein guide the looped, layered, and textured vocals of title track “Here Appear.” The album closes with a languid take on Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom’s 1978 composition “Clear Light” from My New Music, recently reissued by Unseen Worlds.
Here Appear owes its minimal production to the conditions of its genesis, evidencing the restrained process of the solo artist; instrumentation is confined to what can be played simultaneously. True to the album’s avant-garde roots, each song involves an element of improvisation, often taking the form of prompts or variations on a melody rather than explicit compositions. Even its most structured pieces make use of live-sampled loops, which inject a spirited unpredictability into the songwriting process and subsequent performance.
Classically trained in bassoon at New England Conservatory before receiving a BFA in sculpture from RISD, Eve Essex has performed as a solo artist at Artists Space, Commend, Safe Gallery, Signal, Trans Pecos, Wendy's Subway, and U.S. Blues in New York, Harlekin/Mathew Gallery and StudioAcht in Berlin, and the PUFFERSS Festival in Providence, RI. In addition to her solo practice, Essex regularly performs as one half of Das Audit (with Craig Kalpakjian), as well as in trios Hesper (with James K and Via App) and HEVM (with MV Carbon and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix), and has collaborated extensively with Juan Antonio Olivares as installation/performance-art duo Essex Olivares.
Here Appear arrives via New York City-based label Soap Library on March 9, 2018 in both cassette and digital format, mastered by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin and recorded + mixed by Al Carlson at Gary's Electric, Brooklyn. Each tape includes a tactile complement — Justin Q. Martin’s cover artwork in the form of an embroidered patch. The LP release, from Berlin-based imprint Sky Walking, will follow in April 2018.