I Am Esper: When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds

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I Am Esper: When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds
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I Am Esper: When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds
Ambient, Drone, Post-Rock, Shoegaze
Mandarangan Records
February 22nd, 2012
Release length: 41:22
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Just who is I Am Esper? It’s a one-man guitar improvisational piece that centers around fusing Ambient, Drone, Post-Rock, and Shoegaze together in an effort to convey emotion through subtle musical atmosphere. Since the creation, there have been a few releases, all of which have made their way to the official Bandcamp page, as well as a slew of various underground labels, the most recent being the When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds CD-R through Mandarangan Records. This is also apparently the fifth printing of the release, and surely won’t be the last varietion. But, does it really deserve this sort of treatment?

When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds does end up sounding more like any stereotype you can come up with for a raw or “kvlt” Black Metal release. In fact, this sounds as if someoe took a cassette recorder into an empty hallway one night and just recorded whatevee was played. Much of the audio is composed of haunting, often slower paced guitars and additional bass that isn’t too loud at all, used only in moderation to give a burdening vibe. The rest is through Ambient techniques such as what seems to be keyboards and distortions. While this isn’t going to upset people tired of bands recording this way to be trendy within a certain genre, it’s hard to ignore that it may not be the best choice. This can cause riffs to be a bit abrasive at times, and may end up having you turning the volume down due to certain pitches that come through.

There are only four tracks to this recording, but the material itself isn’t short, nor do all the songs act as seperate entities. “Amber Skies Glow” ushers in a cold, depressing performance that is littered with rather simple chords. The leads are far more liquid-like compared to the slightly deeper backing riffs. The atmosphere is established well here, finding subtle additions like sliding down the neck enough to break things uo from time to time. Eventually, the guitars takes on more into an astral Synth-driven style, suiting the shift into “The Voice of the Cosmos Part 1” perfectly, as if the gap of silence that occurs doesn’t really exist. This cut mixes guitar work and keyboards to the point where it’s hard to tell where one starts and the other ends and before you know it you’re unsure if you’re on land, or cast deep towards the recesses of space.

Before you know it, you’re back to the cold grip of reality once more. Or, is it? The pitch here isn’t often as bad as “Amber Skies Glow,” finding more at work in the chords than simpler held notes forlong stretches of time. This allows far more emotion to come through, pulling you back in after being cast out of the abysmal void of space. The progression here is actually quite astounding, slowly blurring the lines between this natural world, and slowly slipping back into the deepest recesses of space, or even your own subconsciousness. Unfortunately, the shift between this song and “The Voice of the Cosmos Part 2” is rather abrupt, nearly cutting off the end of the title track all together. But, even after that sudden jolt that seems more like escapism than a cut-away, you find yourself drifting through the cosmos once more. While the atmosphere is still a bit helpless, it’s also serine and zen-like, lasting for quite some time before you seem to hit a wall, slamming at the edge of this universe with authority before it all just slips away for good.

When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds does a lot right, and then it does a lot wrong. Oddly enough, it all ends up working towards the same outcome in a positive manner. The raw audio pushes the atmosphere, which brings in some obnoxious pitches at times, but these also supplement one style of Ambience more than the other. The atmospheres vary greatly, crashing from one world to another that doesn’t quite make sense, but for those looking for a reason can set a course of understanding and escaping a grippingly cold and tragic event, perhaps even one’s own passing. This is a recording with many layers despite the often overly simplistic performances that, admittedly, can get a bit dull after a while. However, it’s going to speak to everybody differently. If you feel this sort of journey would be something you’re up for, then give it a spin, as it is a rather interesting recording. I Am Esper seems like a promising solo project that can bring with it a great deal of amazing results when executed right, which this effort shows. However, for me at least, When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds also shows a little more room to grow, largely in a change of direction out of the raw recording elements, and into something a little more crisp to push just how bleak, chilling, even desolate these musical worlds can truly become.

01. Amber Skies Glow – 8:34
02. The Voice of the Cosmos Part 1 – 10:18
03. When The Sun Sets Over The Wilderness, And The Trees Rattle In The Growling Winds – 10:16
04. The Voice of the Cosmos Part 2 – 12:14
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Mandarangan Records.