Chelsea Eiben is an electronica artist located in Greenville, SC, but originally from Southern California. She has been making music ever since she was young. Lately there have been a wave of pandemic-bands and bands that make music about the pandemic. Eiben is mostly in the latter. Beginning is Eiben’s latest EP release and sees the artist exploring the ‘End of Times’ themes we are in. So many of us saw the parallels to apocalyptic universes like The Walking Dead when the pandemic hit and now with the Delta variant, these themes are still as relevant as ever. Nothing says ‘end of the world’ more than Eiben’s disarming spoken word vocals that oftentimes half-sings and half-chants the lyrics. The way her vocals are executed aptly captures the immediacy of such events. In the background, the pulsating electronica music creates a backdrop to her matter-of-fact vocals. In this release, you can see her experimenting with a dance vibe with such surprise inclusions of instruments like the banjo and acoustic guitar to create a full and unique modern mixture.
Beginning opens with the title track “Beginning,” where Eiben’s vocals sound out here. Next, some radio-active synths activate. The gravitating beats are oddly enough juxtaposed with a banjo solo, giving this track a country-twist feel. As an EDM and electronica vibe ignites, the echo-y performance poetry segment makes for an experimental feel. In an off-key manner Eiben once again half-sings and spoken words the vocals on “Bloody Vaccine.”
The synths and bouncy beats act as a background to her vocals. Her howling chants steals the show as you can’t get past how chilling she sounds. On “Divinity,” some percussive beats meet the start of the song. As some keys highlight the sound here, the groove and rhythms grow in vibe. I enjoyed the layers of vocal harmonies overlapping on this track. The urgency of this song was very apparent.
On simple acoustic guitar, Eiben howls uninhibitedly with confidence on “Man vs Machine.” Next, some synthetic strings add a touch of discord. The mood of this piece was overall uneasy and disturbed. More bouncy beats come in with synths creating an airy effect in the backdrop on “The War.” Coming in loud and clear is Eiben’s vocals. More dissonance adds an edgy sound to the ebb and flow of the music.
This discord captures the off-kilter vibe of the state of our world today. Some beats and synths round out the sound in the beginning giving off a very retro-inspired ‘80s flair on “Aspire.” There was also a very house music vibe coming from the vocals. I thought everything really came together here with Eiben incorporating many different elements for a compelling finale on this closer.
These short and quick tracks (often lasting for around two minutes) act like bursts of insight to what the world is going through at the moment. My only critique is that due to the shortness of the tracks, they came across more like vignettes than fully fleshed out numbers. Perhaps by diving deeper into these songs, the artist could expand upon the ideas more, creating more connections from what at first seems like scattered thought-processes.
Even though this was a bedroom recording with the lo-fi quality very evident, I thought Eiben did a good job of giving us a glimpse of the type of heightened emotions and anxiety that such a world event could cause. Her choice to incorporate EDM vibes with spoken word vocals fuses a futuristic and new age-y atmosphere that will be sure to resonate deeply with listeners now that we are battling similar themes. Overall, these are some great ideas here and I look forward to seeing more music like this soon.
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