Ethan Rose – Oaks- CD – Baskaru

This is one of a tryptich of works just about to be released by Baskaru, and Ethan Rose, in the esteemed company of English/Lopez, and the Symbiosis Orchestra, presents something of a minor masterpiece in the form of “Oaks”. In my initial notes and musings on this album, I scribbled the words “dodgy cover”, and from there on the criticism ends, as Rose has turned in one of the most beautiful and engaging minimal works of recent years.

Based on field recordings taken from a vintage 1926 Wurlitzer Theater Organ situated at Oaks Amusement Park, Rose captured this remarkable instrument’s pre-sets and then subjected them to further agitation and treatments via his computer. The net result is a series of works that have a distinctly transcendent feel..delicate filigree shapes, ethereal vortices of sound, the organ’s original sounds being teased and coaxed into the new millenium via Rose’s deft hand. From the expansive opening tones of “On Wheels Rotating”, I was captivated by the sheer thrill of these fragile, heartbreakingly sweet fragments, drenched in reverb, and lush tonality. As a complete collection, Oaks takes us on a journey that encompasses straight down the line organ washes, combined with shavings of various timbres and organic incidents – splinters and speckles of the source instrument occasionally shimmer in the background, but Rose has seemingly effortlessly translated the strains of an aging machine, and mades them something very personal and captivating. Further high points for me would be the enchanting “The Floor Released”, and “Scenes From When”, that sounds as if it were commissioned for a 12k release – I can make no higher recommendation than that. Baskaru as a label, has firmly positioned itself in the public consciousness with three very fine releases indeed, and Oaks is the perfect entry point for the work of a composer who will undoubtedly achieve wider recognition. Your life just won’t be complete without this..essential. BGN


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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