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Guy Blakeslee — Ophelia Slowly (2014)

Guy Blakeslee — Ophelia Slowly (June 10th, 2014)

         Guy Blakeslee — Ophelia Slowly                        ð•   He moans echo~aked utopian incantations, hustles some groovy conspiracy theories, spins a stolen Dylan melody into an elegiac space jam, and ponders the nature of circular time. But theres as much Sonic Youth doom in his band s guitar explorations as there is folky grooviness. — Rolling Stone
ð•   Beginning as the acid folk solo project of Guy Blakeslee, the Entrance Band have grown into a proper trio of menacing psychedelic proportions.
Born: April 24, 1981
Location: Los Angeles, California
Album release: June 10th, 2014
Record Label: Everloving
Duration:     51:40
01 Haunted City     5:04
02 Kneel and Pray     4:19
03 Smile On     5:13
04 The Cloud     6:21
05 Year of the Dragon     4:42
06 Ophelia Floats Away     7:19
07 Told Myself     5:59
08 City in the Rain     8:01
09 Ophelia Brown     4:42    
Product Description:
ð•   Guy Blakeslee (The Entrance Band) delivers his first solo album in 10 years! Produced by Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), the album Ophelia Slowly takes a step back from the dense rock sound his psychedelic trio is known for, delving into a sparse, spooky dreamscape where drum loops, synthesizers, and the occasional acoustic guitar frame haunting vocals. Recording under his own name for the first time,
ð•   Blakeslee seems to be clueing us in that his intentions for this project are that it be intimate and vulnerable, and as anyone who caught his recent solo dates opening for Spiritualized or Cat Power will attest, he delivers on that promise. His reworked 2003 version of Skip James I m So Glad is heard in the soundtrack for Spike Jonze´s
Academy Award®–winning film Her, appearing as the infectious song Scarlett Johansson´s character shares with Joaquin Phoenix, confessing she can´t stop listening to it. Hopefully Ophelia Slowly will produce a similar result.     
Exclusive: Guy Blakeslee’s Shakespearian New Solo Album
By Brian Chidester   (Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 4:13 AM)
Guy Blakeslee
ð   Ophelia Slowly finds Guy Blakeslee — leader of neo~sych act The Entrance Band — reflecting on Shakespeare’s most tragic heroine in an artful song cycle. Produced by Chris Coady, whose credits include production for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Beach House, it emits melancholy and hope in equal doses.
ð   Ophelia Slowly calls up the arcadian ghosts of ‘80s artists like Simple Minds, James, and the Waterboys. Guitars chime out over languid rhythms and dreamlike synthesizers. “Smile On”, with its minimal electro beat, is easily the most optimistic cut on the album, where Blakeslee (as Hamlet) comforts the forlorn Ophelia, crooning, “Baby smile on, don’t waste your time/Those doubtful dreams will only waste your mind.” Such optimism is elsewhere tempered.
ð   The closer “Ophelia Brown” finds Blakeslee, who recently went through addiction recovery, trading hopeful stanzas like, I wanna live long, be strong, move on/And find some peace in time,” with the more rueful, Peace it don’t come easy with black Ophelia on my mind.” The personalization of pacifism in this war~orn era gives Blakeslee’s fragile sanity, like that of Hamlet’s fair nymph, a universality everyone can relate to. (http://www.laweekly.com/)
The Entrance Band
ð   Beginning as the acid folk solo project of Guy Blakeslee, the Entrance Band have grown into a proper trio of menacing psychedelic proportions.
Artist Biography by Fred Thomas
ð   Following a stint as bassist in angular emo~rock trio the Convocation Of..., Baltimore native Guy Blakeslee relocated to Chicago in the early 2000s and began performing solo under the name Entrance. Blakeslee’s somber yet trippy acoustic songs quickly landed him a regular spot at tastemaking dive bar the Hideout, where his sounds caught the ear of the Tiger Style label. The label released the first Entrance solo long~layer, The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken by Storm, in 2003. Blakeslee began touring voraciously in this early phase, opening shows across the globe over the next few years for indie luminaries like Cat Power, Sonic Youth, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Devendra Banhart, among others. Two full~engths, Careless Love and Wandering Stranger, were released in 2004. Blakeslee had been playing semi~randomly with various musicians up until this point, but for 2006’s self~released Prayer of Death, he collaborated heavily with drummer Derek W. James and bassist Paz Lenchantin. By now all three musicians were stationed in Los Angeles, and Prayer of Death saw a coagulation of Blakeslee’s acid folk wanderings with the rhythm section's darkly primal psychedelic grooves. The group solidified its sound and changed its name to the more inclusive the Entrance Band for a 2009 self~titled album on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! label. In 2011 they were invited to London for the Animal Collective~curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival as well as a Latitudes studio session, the latter of which saw release as an untitled three~song EP in 2012.               
By Carena Liptak on May 30, 2014
ð   Whether performing with a trio or a quartet or semi–solo, whether in full psychedelic mode or reinterpreting the blues, Guy Blakeslee has a fantastic knack for making music that sounds haunted and doomed. June 10th marks the release of Ophelia Slowly, which, though not Blakeslee’s first solo release, is the first to come out under his real name instead of some permutation of the stage name Entrance. It hasn’t been long since Blakeslee released a record — The Entrance Band’s Face The Sun came out last November — and both that album and Ophelia Slowly chronicle a journey out of darkness and tumult, and into the proverbial light. Blakeslee has a history of substance abuse and was struggling to get clean when he wrote many of the songs on both these albums, so it’s natural that they would share a preoccupation with the material, but Blakeslee manages not to repeat himself at all with the release of Ophelia Slowly. Face The Sun was a rock album, heady and guitar~driven, with watery melody lines and psychedelic wah~wahing that trafficked in symbol and metaphor more than it did straightforward storytelling.
ð   But on Ophelia Slowly, Blakeslee’s voice and lyrics become the focal point of the music. In the interest of holding the spotlight on the story line, Blakeslee keeps the music very simple, and many of the songs — “Smile On” and “Ophelia Brown,” notably — maintain a straight, sing–songy structure that recalls elements of his early work, back when Entrance was a solo project and Blakeslee liked to reconfigure the blues and give it a psychedelic twist. However, despite the simple rhythms and emphasis on narrative, there’s little on Ophelia Slowly that’s musically reminiscent of the blues — the album’s foundation consists primarily of looped synth lines and an unassuming drum machine track.
ð   Blakeslee has long been fascinated by states of trance. This album — which is, essentially, his version of an introspective, songwritery project — concocts swirling, circular guitar parts and a tightly rhyming vocal line that escalates, like a spiral staircase, as it moves from phrase to phrase. For Blakeslee, the music tells a story best once it’s in this hypnotic state. This concept is familiar turf — in the twenty years he’s been making music, Blakeslee has perfected the trick of creating a whirlpool inside a song — but Ophelia Slowly manages to maintain this churning, circular state for almost the full length of the album. That’s not a complaint. Actually, it’s impressive that the record’s repetition never wears out its welcome. “Told Myself” is a great example: with quiet, whining anguish, Blakeslee plays with the phrase “You were true and a liar too,” shifting meaning and replacing a word occasionally as he relentlessly repeats the lyric. “You were clean and a junkie too,” the song finally concludes, in the same stretched-out, high pitched melody, over a strummed acoustic guitar. They’ve got potential for melodrama, but in Blakeslee’s hands, the songs are beautifully ragged. As a collection, Ophelia Slowly is foreboding, not too optimistic, and full of compelling grit and fatigue. (http://www.audiofemme.com/)
:: http://doggonepresents.com/2013/03/27/feature-interview-with-guy-blakeslee-of-the-entrance-band/
By Francesca Lillie; Posted on June 6th, 2014 (2:39 pm); Rating: 64/100
:: http://inyourspeakers.com/content/review/286-guy-blakeslee-ophelia-slowly-06062014
Website: http://www.guyblakeslee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/guy.blakeslee.9
Label: http://www.everloving.com/                 

Guy Blakeslee — Ophelia Slowly (2014)



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