With sparkling clear and softly comforting intention, ESKMO can make a single piano note played over and over sound magnificent, reminiscent of diamonds carving flower petals. He can simultaneously crack bass like ancient bridge gates rhythmically grinding open to make way for the free passage of gliding sailboats.
TERRA, released on January 21 on his Ancestor label, feels like going to church, surrendering to the group effort of sitting in silence, hearing the organ and dark, angelic voices that mirror the spheres of the contemporary cosmos.
I experienced TERRA for the first time with Shure headphones at work in the craigslist office in downtown San Francisco, basking in its majestic floor-to-ceiling glass walls and gaping skylights. I was there with only one or two others.
Through the vocals of ‘Shadow’, I experienced the fall from strained frustration into joyful release. ‘Rose’ ended, and in the distance, a fire engine siren nine stories below filled the empty space before ‘Push and Pull’ began pounding. I navigated back in my browser on the page of the streaming EP by accident and my heart sank, as if I had interrupted divinity. I navigated forward and proceeded.
The climax and resolution of minor and major chords, along with the panging inertia of percussion and violent cello strings in ‘Push and Pull,’ are elegant and profound, like standing in the middle of a giant warehouse made of only the finest rustic materials, as windows pass clean rays of sun down to smooth wood floors.
When I was a little girl, I had a recurring dream. I was standing in a floral dress in a windowless, stainless steel chamber, dimensions of maybe 60′ tall and 40′ wide. I held a tiny white paper Dixie cup, looking up, waiting for drops of water to drip from the ceiling. Mounted on the wall next to me was a giant ferris wheel, and instead of people smiling in the seats, there laid 8 oz. slabs of raw red meat. I had no idea the significance of this dream, but have only now begun making sense of it in whatever way my mind chooses.
In this dream I sense the feeling of loneliness and harsh reality, a girl entering the world on her own. ESKMO’s sound embodies this. Gears, cracks, and snaps forcefully and effortlessly break silence, however coming clean and soldiering forward to see a new dawn, crushing the fear of fear. In my becoming I’ve moved beyond the fear of what this domineering dream might represent to a place of acceptance, by nurturing maternal beauty and recalling paternal strength.
I was recently watching a TED Talk by Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. Something he said struck me as purely ESKMO; “When the musician stopped playing, the music stopped. Now this moment so fascinates me, I find it such a profound one. What happens when the music stops? Where does it go? What’s left? What sticks with people in the audience at the end of a performance? Is it a melody or a rhythm or a mood or attitude, and how might that change their lives? To me, this is the intimate personal experience of music. It’s the passing on part, the why part of it, and to me, that’s the most essential of all.”
ESKMO is mastering the life art of knowing a vision and working to create it. At the end of his show at The Independent in San Francisco last Thursday [review here], Alex, the few people we met up with, and I were left in awe. I took photos at the show, and the next day, I was driven to continue building my independent photography brand more and more because of the pure uniqueness that ESKMO so eloquently and gracefully teaches the audience through his music; and that shined in my photos.
At The Big Up Music & Arts Festival in 2010, I found myself on the last day, Sunday afternoon, sitting in the dining room in the house on the bottom of the hill, freshly showered after working tirelessly for 72 hours to cater to the artists. ESKMO was one of the last artists to leave the house.
While he was waiting for his ride to the airport, we spoke briefly about our travels and glanced at books about the Playa and the Gaian matrix. He suggested I check out Boulder; I did, in August of that year and had a terrible experience, mainly because I was searching for something in the wrong place. He also said I might like San Francisco; I visited last December, my first trip to the West Coast, and have since moved here. On that day in the dining room, I felt dreams coming true. That festival, and being able to intertwine my education in hospitality with my passion for music, was life-changing.
It seems fitting that just days after I found the perfect warehouse to settle my soul with other creatives in San Francisco, following a grueling yet freeing 8-month transition from Boston, ESKMO would coincidentally grace my presence yet again, lifting me to even higher grounds, with a live performance and new EP release, the dates of which I was unaware until a week prior.
The essence of ESKMO is now bound in my life because of the reflection of pyramidic light and humility that Brendan Angelides passes on. This man is a teacher and a tosser of light in the dark. Listen to him, not just his music, and you’ll find the fountain breathing circular life, your own perfect self.