Eskmo is the moniker of L.A.-based composer and producer Brendan Angelides. His latest Apollo Records release, SOL, unravels with a glacial slowness, as each subsequent track gradually adds to the inevitable inertia which propels the record from beginning to end.
SOL is a concept album of sorts. When he recently spoke to NPR about how SOL came to be, Angelides had this to say, “My urge was to create an album whose main characters were the Sun, Moon and Earth and how they all play a role in the perfect simple life of a perfectly imperfect human. Each track within their peaks and valleys plays a specific role in the narrative.”
Of the ten songs that comprise SOL, “Mind of War,” which channels cadences of oddness akin to Peter Gabriel’s mid-eighties solo work, is the most fully realized track on the album. This is due, in fact, to its repetitive catchy chorus, but also its directness in engaging the listener. And this lack, elsewhere on the album, of directly engaging the listener is precisely what makes SOL feel so cold. Take for instance the cold feeling erupting from the piston pounding beats of “SOL.” From there “The Light of One Thousand Furnaces” and “Feed Fire” sound like apprentice work, using the yin of strings against the yang of industrial bass beats. This apprentice-like work is even more apparent on the hollow sounding closing track, “Can’t Taste,” with its cliché piano notes ricocheting out into the void.
Though it is good to have ambition and a want to take one’s work further than it has ever gone before, it doesn’t seem that electronic music is always the best medium with which to do so. Ironically enough, this narrative of the perfectly imperfect human, which Angelides sought to tell with SOL, directly parallels his own career in relation to this album, an instance of life imitating art. With SOL Angelides was trying to create a universe of his own, though unfortunately the stars here just refuse to align.