Earthly — Days (24 July 2015) ♦ Edaan Brook, left, and Brint Hansen are Earthly. Zvuky plechovek, hlasové vzorky, elektronická paleta hudby s fragmentovanými beaty, sítí textur, polovičními slabikami, ‘tkalcovským stavem’. Stále existují lidé tam venku, co přicházejí na to, jak udělat zajímavou hudbu i v roce 2015. Dobrý label Noumenal Loom bojuje za tyto lidi. © Photo by Alex Boerner
Location: Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America
Album release: 24 July 2015
Record Label: Noumenal Loom
01. RGB 3:36
02. Ice Cream 4:31
03. Glaze 3:32
04. Honison Climber 2:10
05. Games 3:15
06. Babby Bobby 1:07
07. Backflip 3:29
08. Secret Squirrel 3:29
09. Pure In Between 1:44
10. Daemon 4:23
11. Shell Spell 1:38
12. Wink 3:39
© 2013–2015 Noumenal Loom
℗ 2015 Noumenal Loom
♦ Produced by Earthly & R. Mexico
♦ Artwork by Finn Hansen and Earthly ~ Liner notes by Travis Swinford
♦ Mixed & Mastered by R. Mexico
♦ Thanks to our Moms, Dads, Grandmoms, Finn, Laura, Holly, Isabel, Ben, Brad, Clark, Dane, Dylan, Max, Matt, Katie, Redeye, Night–light, Mook and Ruby. © L&N rail yard at Birmingham, ca. 1900
By Patric Fallon; July 24, 2015; Score: 7.8
♦ Sometimes you can tell a lot from the smallest details of a project. The suffix "ly" in the name "Earthly", for instance, nods subtly to how this pair of North Carolina noisemakers create music not necessarily of Earth but cobble together fragments from their terrestrial experience into a rough resemblance. The album title may account for the sheer amount of time ex–college roommates Edaan Brook and Brint Hansen have spent together, working through school, hanging out at home, writing songs, or just getting to know each other. You can hear that time in Days — the lifeblood of its tracks is an endless collection of samples that would've taken years to assemble, let alone arrange into music — and sense that close friendship, too. Look at the cover: two strange, colorful faces stare blankly, content to simply be in the same place.
♦ But maybe that's all a bit too serious for music like this, because if nothing else, Days wants to have fun. Earthly finger paints with found sound, plays tag with sequencers, jumps rope with drum machines, seesaws with FX pedals, and pigs out on bubblegum melody. You can imagine sing–songy opener "RGB" as the theme for a CGI "Rugrats" reboot, or "Ice Cream"'s carnival bounce as a Cartoon Network interlude. One particularly exuberant track is straight–up called "Games", and though it wastes no time dropping PlayStation samples into its iridescent chords, the music plays like an anthem for indoor kids who discovered their kindred spirits at noise shows and dance parties. Days doesn't make you feel like a kid so much as it reminds you how great it can be to act like one.
♦ Surrealist as they are, Brook and Hansen frequently dip into the uncanny valley, and it's where their best ideas are found. Not unlike Oneohtrix Point Never or Holly Herndon, vocals are chopped and pitched into tuneful glossolalia, occasionally allowed to speak in daffy non sequiturs. And it's often impossible to discern exactly what other sounds Earthly recorded, dismantled, and pieced back together for any given track. Was that a pan flute fluttering in the background of "Honison Climber"? Did they sample a soda commercial for "RGB"? You may want to pick apart the layers, but it's better to soak in the frenzy; all those moving parts would be nonsense on their own, but together amount to a baffling electronic spectacle.
♦ It's unlikely you'll hear another album like Days this year, but it's not without predecessors. The influence of early aughts psych noise courses through the music, as if it's a love child conceived during the first Black Dice and Animal Collective tour. But the offspring has grown independently, learning to speak its own language with new slang and more deliberate syntax. The sound resembles fellow audio collagists in places — Javelin's playful No Mas, early Prefuse 73, Matmos, and the Books are all here. But throughout the record, Brook and Hansen discover new ways to surprise and thrill, making unexpected turns with each consecutive track. Even low–slung drifts and beatless shimmers aren't off limits in their topsy–turvy digital funhouse. Maybe "balanced noise album" is an oxymoron, but so is “adult playground.” Indeed, Days is both. ♦ http://pitchfork.com/
By Bryon Hayes, Published Jul 22, 2015; Score: 8
♦ The Birmingham, Alabama–based Noumenal Loom imprint has been steadily exploring the outer fringes of pop music for a couple of years now. Helmed by the new age electro-wizard Holly Waxwing, the label has oozed out odd sounds in a variety of micro–genres since its inception. Giant Claw, Foodman, Caroline Says, Tuluum Shimmering and Digital Natives have all dropped science for the Noumenal Loom mothership, with each project employing its own unique sonic palette.
♦ There isn't a better fit for the label's roster than the North Carolina duo of Edaan Brook and Brint Hansen, with their gleeful brand of sample–based electronic mayhem. ♦ One listen to a track like "Glaze" with its laser beam blasts, chattery vocal samples and funky robotic rhythms, and there's no denying that Earthly are having a blast churning out cleverly composed tunes that aren't so much danceable as they are assimilative.
♦ The sheer enthusiasm with which their music plays out is a body–penetrating experience, with wonky sounds and obliquely paced beats invading the listener on a cellular level. Days is a promising debut album for this pair of proficient sample weavers, a grin–inducing collection of songs that should not be overlooked. ♦ http://exclaim.ca/
Earthly's casual alliance makes for a stellar debut
By Grayson Haver Currin
♦ Not long after Earthly finish a set on a stage, the members of the new Carrboro electronic duo, Edaan Brook and Brint Hansen, typically fight.
♦ No, they don't come to blows. And the words of the 22– and 23–year–old shaggy–haired producers — who, sitting in the summer shade beneath a broad oak tree, talk slowly about making music on mushrooms or thinking of their songs as sets of scenes or primary colors — don't get too heated. They do, however, debate the direction their band should take, especially when they step in front of a crowd with expectations.
♦ “We're still not sure about the live show,” explains Brook, laughing, after Hansen steps away from the table. “We don't know what people want from us, or what we want to do.”
♦ Brook recalls, for instance, the recent record-release party for Days, their excellent debut album of upturned dance numbers and luminescent musical vistas. Rather than tuck behind laptops and simply recreate the record's songs onstage, they used sequencers to turn snippets into long, uninterrupted pieces. The folks who came to dance loved the approach, but those who came to hear the endearing cuts and galloping drums of "Ice Cream" wanted to know exactly where the songs had gone.
♦ “Making this music live is strange, because some people don't care if you're sitting behind a laptop. They're listening,” Brook says. “But some people want to know you're doing something. They want to see it.”
♦ This tension between traditional operational expectations and the logistics of the actual music the pair makes is an animating force for Earthly. A digital duo in an historically analogue rock region, Earthly let that push and pull shape how they make their music and how they present it. Days sounds like a cohesive record, but it's really the convergence of their own isolated ideas, united by a high degree of kismet and low–key synergy.
♦ Earthly prefer not to sit still: Like kids racing onto the playground after a day wasted in a cold, dull classroom, or enthusiastic explorers stumbling for the first time into some wild, unknown land, the duo of Edaan Brook and Brint Hansen cavort through at least a dozen electronic niches on their beguiling debut LP, Days. From propulsive house to ponderous musique concrete, and from video–game scores to interwoven sound collages (with a touch of soul meant to round the sound), the pair regards most music as one wide world of wonder. And though that might suggest a lack of focus from two new producers sprouted from the timeline–obsessed generation, there's a preternatural ease and sophistication to their first dozen tracks. It's as though — while floating in a matrix of digital bits and samples and synths—Brook and Hansen are perfectly at home on the ground, too.
♦ Across Days, Earthly excel in making electronic music that is both broadly accessible and defiantly eccentric. Opener "RGB" is an ornate rhythmic latticework, built with drum thuds and finger snaps, samples of popped bottle tops and a load of vocal cuts. They form a complex web of interlocking rhythms. It's challenging, sure, but the clicks and clips sound collectively contagious against one another. The effect is as distinct as Ratatat's trademark roar, as heady and alluring as Dan Deacon's approach. With its stuttering voices and EDM–oversized bassline, "Glaze" feels like a dance anthem for a club with spastic strobe lights. "Secret Squirrel" finds a deep groove, coruscating with cute little hooks. For every jungle drum, there is a twinkling key; for every cooed melody, there is a maniacal manipulation of some cartoon character. ♦ http://www.indyweek.com/
Label: Birmingham, Alabama: http://noumenalloom.com/_____________________________________________________________