By: Sanjay Gopal
Ed Harris aka Edamame from Chicago has been churning out good music since starting in 2012 and Bask, his seventh album release, has a certain sentience, tenderness, and familiarity about it; weaving around the listener a hypnotic and dreamlike web.
This ex-death metal vocalist (we're having a hard time believing it, ourselves) turned producer has given us quite a seamless album rich in ambiance, comprising a pleasing sonic palette and subtle instrumentation which includes feathery pads, innocent melodies, some alluring sitar (on “Spilled Sand”), compassionate chimes and tender bells (on “I’m [Here with You]”), and scintillating atmospheric sounds all supported by staggering, silky, delicate beats.
“One of the definitions for “bask” is to “revel in and make the most of (something pleasing)” and the intention of capturing that is clear with this record, which was influenced by the great outdoors and different cultures of the world, and passionately created by “basking” (haw haw) in how awesome it is to be a human being in this world today, a sentiment everyone needs to realize.
Inevitably, the journey of the creation of Bask is one of expression of happiness, respect and gratitude to the universe, personal and professional inspiration; a tribute to beautiful relationships forged and just being in an exciting time and place in life.
The introductory track “Kishi Kaisei” starts with some foley and sinks into a recurring melody with an oriental touch (also woven into other tracks on the album) riding on light trap beats which sets the mood with a promising and amiably ambient vibe. The remaining tracks subsequently kick off with a soft gallop.The tempo is set and quite consistent for most tracks with only ever so slight variations to give the album a light heartbeat.
Distributed throughout his productions are organic elements and sounds that he has personally field-recorded while exploring the planet, in other states playing shows or just during day to day life.
Songs like “Deciduous” or “Rock Gardens” use recordings of streams, birds, walking through leaves, a light breeze or even some light crowd chatter to help paint a picture in the listeners head, to make them feel like they are sitting in a beautiful zen garden enjoying a nice day, questing through a forest or relaxing on some secluded tropical island.
Special mentions are:
• “Sable” (feat Tor) do listen! [Guess what the word on the repeating vocal chop is]
• “Mango Pulp” (coincidentally a favorite of mine as well as the artist), his collaboration with contemporary and good friend Ian Ewing is just as tasty as the king of fruits itself! chanting melody, playful vibe, succulent lead flute/synth bring this track home.
• “Keys View Morning” is dedicated to Ed’s wife and the place where he asked her to marry him (Keys View) is a track that echoes sentiment, commitment…while saying “I do”?
• “Passim” featuring Emancipator: simply utopian, sets the tone with metallic steel pans, clicky percussion, (romantic) divine sitar atop staggering wooden beats. A blissful zen outro to the album.
This album is great to get into a mild pensive mood, for light introspection or to just think of nothing and this is music that can be played whether you’re studying or hiking in the mountains, like a constant companion.
The main goal, which is to make accesible songs that can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter the mood, no matter the task, and that In his own words “help you float” is well fulfilled. Overall this album comes on easy, falls gently on the ears for an organic experience, a welcome break away from the imposing music I have been listening to these days.
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