Listening to hope&wait, the debut album from London, Ontario's Etta Sorin, you'd never believe these glistening, shimmering sounds had their origin in the solitude of a remote woodland cabin.
"Part of the album was recorded in a wooden cabin, in the middle of woods, near the town of Goderich, Canada. I took a week off my full-time job, packed my gear into the car and did not see another human being for eight days," said Sergi, the sole human behind Etta Sorin's dense tapestry of instruments and sonic manipulation.
These rustic origins might lead you to expect a regressive "folk" record full of banjos and slide guitars (not that there's anything wrong with that). This makes the textural, ambient guitar work, the intricate beats, the throbbing primal bass and the ethereal vocals all that much more startling and noteworthy. This is art rock, make no bones about it!
And what an art rock it is! It is uncanny that this dense wall of sound has been played, mixed and mastered by one solitary human being. Clean guitars were recorded direct-to-digital, which opened up the sounds to be stretched like saltwater taffy and hewn like rough marble into living statuary of disembodied emotions.
Lyrics revolve around alienation, anxiety, self-doubt and regret, which might be easy to overlook at first glance. Sergi favors the thick, dense wall of sound approach of shoegaze; the vocals are just another sonic element, another thread in the tapestry. Those that are super lyrically oriented may be frustrated with hope&wait for that reason, but those that love to bask in undulating waves of harmony will love to lose themselves in this reverie.
Etta Sorin has managed to create an emotional, interesting album without ever resorting to melodrama. Rather than heavy-handedly clobbering you with a message, Sergi uses music and mixing to show rather than tell - the mark of a great artist.
An outstanding and auspicious debut! Expect to hear more from this talented and dedicated artist.
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