The process of discovery and assimilation of new insights into culture and music is the fascinating feature about the debut album “E” by the space-pop duo EyE-C, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The two collaborators are DJ Fathouse a Funk Futuristic soundscape composer and producer, and That Guy a Neo-Soul vocalist and poet. This multi-genre soundtrack is meant to reflect sounds, thoughts, and feelings the two have experienced throughout their lifetime. The story is told from the viewpoint of an extraterrestrial being. Unknowing of this world, it sees things differently. In substance this album represents a sonic experiment in a cultural labyrinth. Sure, it’s bubbling over with ambient, trip-hop, alternative, experimental, and all sorts of other musical elements, but what makes this album a powerful statement from a musical perspective is the difficult process of figuring it all out. “E” will not work for everyone of course, and why should it?
There is a sweet balance of the sonic and the discursive on “E”. EyE-C shuffles the rhythms up and down, and shifts our perspectives towards the inner life of the mind. The whole thing starts off by dropping us right into the heart of the urban wastelands with spacey sound effects slowly developing into an eerie ambient soundscape.
From there on out you’re on a journey into…anywhere this album takes you. “E”, may bear a 2017 release date, but that feels entirely incidental—it sounds like nothing else this year, or last year before, or the year before that one. Nor does it fit into any recent musical development beyond an incidental affinity with the resurgence of ambient electronic productions.
In its quirky, globe-spanning rollout and heightened disregard for the music around it, “E” looks in no obvious direction, genre-wise, yet it ignores none. In terms of impressive twists and turns, they’re myriad. Tracks morph, pressurize and reorganize—but never break down, exactly—following a completely unpredictable if utterly natural logic that follows a supernatural story-line.
I’ve listened to some of the cut dozens of times, and there are still sections that surprise me, that I can’t believe I’ve heard before though I’m positive I have. The album is utterly engrossing and is on a completely different planet to almost anything else that’s been released over the last few years.
Those who explore and understand the eccentricities of the musical language used by EyE-C will take comfort in the waves of aural schizophrenia, driving bass lines, contorted vocals, and shifting electronic ambiance. Those incapable of the challenge will remain stranded in the murky pool of pop stagnation.
With atmospherics cascading over jittering, restless percussion, the listener is transported into a totally ethereal sonic space that could be constructed by few others. Not because other artists are technically or artistically incapable, but because they probably lack the courage it takes to walk on the extreme outer borders of the mainstream like EyE-C does. Throughout its considerable track-list the album explores this space, manipulating its shape and creating its own boundaries.
To speak about singular tracks will be doing a disservice to this album or the other tracks that surround it. Each track is its own entity, and can hardly be compared to the other tracks on the album. Countless themes and motifs constantly shift in and out of focus, yet each sound is absolutely essential, placed in exactly the right corner of this intense, shimmering aural canvas.
It can be tricky to keep up, to remember previous passages after a couple of sharp left-turns that the record takes, but it never really feels like you miss anything. On repeated listens, more layers become audible, more snatches of melody will break through the dense, sonic canopy.
Each and every moment of the record has enough depth and detail to allow the listener to get utterly – and willingly – lost. Though this record is best heard in one sitting with a pair of good headphones, I will say that the essential and most accessible tracks for those just taking a quick peek, are: “disguise”, “synchronize”, “money”, “wondEring thought”, and “hEart bEat”. All in all this album is a genius construction which messes with your head in the way only a chosen few can.