The Strand by Jeanscape aka Daniel Wiggins is an experimental, atmospheric album that according to him is “Intended as a continuous listening experience, the album documents various dreams interwoven together into a suite.”
The Strand has strains of many different artists. You can make some comparisons to Scott Walker, Godspeed You! Black Emperor (the ambient sound collages they make) and Jon Cage.
Wiggins mentions that this album is meant to be one continuous experience which I think is something that should be true for all albums. I did enjoy this album while there was a connection between the songs they also felt quite distinct. This felt more like to me like a person who was waking up and going back to sleep even with the seamless transitions. I’d also say these soundscapes felt more like nightmares. Some felt like you are going to the depths of a scary, spiritual world. Songs that could be used in a horror movie.
Up first is “The Strand” which creeped me out. Distant waves loom in the background, was that a voice I heard, why is someone counting in a terrifyingly scary voice. Don’t listen to this in the dark or maybe you should.
Up next is “Lucidity” which is a little less creepy because there is a beat and bass line. It has a David Lynch Twin Peaks vibe. “The Swollen Sun” is more or less pure ambience apprehension as if you are spiraling into a loop of madness. Perhaps the most terrifying is “Sub Terrain” which has an apt title. It sounds like it's thousands of miles underneath the earth's surface where the mole creatures live. Oh shit - There was a malfunction with the main engine and you have to get out and repair it. Don’t mind that moan that sounds like it’s coming from a demon.
We get some levity with “Montony” which transported me back to earth with a bass line. He ends with the fourteen-plus-minute “The Morning Call.” This song was a little less terrifying but still felt ominous. The airy synths gave it a sci-fi feel. It seemed to end in the rain forest.
I’m not sure if Wiggins has worked in movies but his music seems tailor made for film. He mentions he made this album with live instrumentation, kitchen utensils and live recordings. I think at the very least he could use the album as a resume to work as a foley artist.
I can’t say The Strand will be everyday listening for most people. It’s music that really has to be listened to on high quality headphones or good speakers to be fully appreciated. I would definitely encourage everyone to at least listen to this. I’m not sure I would say enjoyable is the right word but it an immersive, sometimes terrifying experience that shouldn't be missed. Recommended.
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