Try to stay with me here. ɘlbe is the music of Elbe Spurling. Prior to being Elbe Spurling she was a man named Brendan Powell Smith who - get this - was the author and illustrator of The Brick Bible - a ten-year project to illustrate the entire Bible in LEGO bricks. It exists and you can check out thewebsite.
in betwɘen is the first release from ɘlbe and I feel pretty confident in labeling it experimental music. She mixes a lot electronic elements with inventive vocal patterns into eighteen minutes of rather engaging material.
There is a video, which she made to accompany all the songs. It seamlessly ties in all the songs. The production works isn’t exactly cutting edge but reminded me of something you may have got from the Flaming Lips back in the early ‘90s. I think all of it takes place in an apartment. There are a couple of cats, psychedelic effects, water and more cats. If you’re going to listen to this, then I suggest you just play the video.
in betwɘen starts with “.” which is a minute snippet of what sounds like a record playing backward. It distills into water like effects, which eventually become the first meaty dish entitled “in hɘat.” She piles on a distorted synth, electronic drums and an oddly catchy vocal melody. Towards the end of the songs she adds orchestral samples, which sound like something from The Ghostbusters movies.
“ɘlegy” is the centerpiece of the album. The song is hypnotic, revolving around backward like effects and strong percussive elements. I was starting to notice a couple things with this song. The DIY approach was more prevalent on this particularly in how the vocals were treated. I also noticed a couple of sour notes, which didn’t fare too well. All things considered I liked the song and thought the structure was especially inventive.
“shakɘs” was all over the place. It revolves around a sampled drumbeat and what sounds like vocal samples from a hip-hop album. It was the weakest song of the three.
There might be something here in the music world for ɘlbe but she’s not there yet. I don’t always think artists need to work with producers but it might benefit her if she finds the right person. She has a lot of ideas and I think that if she had someone more experienced with sound manipulation, engineering and aesthetics it might be a huge boost in term of direction and focus. There might be something here but not a bad start.
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