Ea – Ea (Solitude Productions, 5 March 2012)
Time to breathe a huge sigh of relief. As of midnight last night, school’s out for summer! I feel a bit dazed, and a bit numb. I’ve been out of high school for fifteen years now, so it’s refreshing to know I should only have about one more year to go before I finally complete my degree. But honestly, I don’t want to think about that right now. I don’t want to think about anything at all if I can help it. I know I can use a bit of work on my time management skills, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been up until past four in the morning Thursday night trying to get stuff caught up. Let me tell you, it’s pretty surreal to be getting ready to go to bed and to hear your alarm clock telling you it’s time to get up for work. I didn’t have to get up for work yesterday; I had the day off and took advantage of that to head out to the physical campus to take some final exams, as well as getting some last-minute homework turned in, but nevertheless it is weird to be getting into bed at around the same time I had gotten out of bed the previous day!
All of that made for a pretty interesting Friday, but I am just totally relieved to have all of that over with — at least for the next few months. And as I said, I really don’t want to have to do any thinking, or anything at all that might be mentally taxing. I just need a few days to recover, I think. On the upside, I will probably be spending more time writing blog posts, so you’re welcome for that! For now, though, I just want to curl up in this chair with a bottle of wine (an Argentinian chardonnay from Bodega Elena de Mendoza, if you were curious), and my headphones, and listen to something that doesn’t really require any mental effort. My plan is just to close my eyes and let my consciousness drift off into some state of complete numbness.
Usually I would be starting an album review by including some kind of useful information about the band or the place where they come from, but honestly, fuck that. My brain is on vacation today, and doing research is forbidden. Fortunately, I’ve got the perfect album for the way I feel, because there really isn’t anything to think about. The band is called Ea, the record is called Ea, and their label (Russian kings of doom Solitude Productions) has included absolutely zero biographical information whatsoever. Evidentally Ea previously have released a trilogy of albums for that label, and this self-titled work is their fourth release, but somehow it is still unknown what part of the world this band come from or who any of the members are, or anything. Today, I’m completely okay with that.
So what kind of sounds can we expect from this utterly mysterious, unknown entity? Slow, dirgey, doomy, and incredibly fucking epic. How epic?, you ask. Well how about this: the album Ea includes just one gigantic monolith of a track, which is called — can you guess? — “Ea”. This clocks in at about forty-seven and a half minutes in duration. Yeah, more than three-quarters of an hour, and yeah, that’s one song. Like I said, pretty fucking epic.
Obviously, if you’ve got an average attention span, or even somewhat longer than average attention span, you might be afraid you’d get bored over the course of something this long. I’ll be honest with you, there are a lot of people that this won’t appeal to, but I think the band was fully aware of that when they wrote and recorded this massive composition. But, as I said earlier, this is pretty perfect for what I am looking for right now — something to fill my ear-holes while I chill the fuck out and let my brain completely shut down and reboot itself. If something like that is on your agenda anytime soon, I couldn’t recommend this highly enough.
We start simply enough: with a few plinks on a piano — weighty, purposeful plinks. Then the drums and guitars are introduced, both very slow and unembellished. Everything here is extremely doomy, deathly slow, and tends to wash over you, drilling into your skull and creating an overall sense of numbness and peace. Just a touch of vocals are brought in, also slow and deep. And growly. Can’t really make out the words, but that would be too much effort anyway — too much thinking involved in hearing actual words and comprehending what is being said. This is definitely more about emotions and catharsis, and communicating ideas by way of sounds and tones, than by actual language.
Some layers of strings, too, and later a choir. Some parts of this opus take on funeralesque qualities, at one point also centering around a churchy pipe organ sound, which is also very dirgey and dismal-sounding.
We are treated to some great doom metal drums; some trimphal-sounding guitar riffs as well as some mournful and pensive ones. Lots of orchestral or string motifs, and choir singing — as well as the death growls. But sometime later we also have some female voices singing in harmony. This music is definitely more about the feeling it produces in the listener, rather than catchy melodies or anything of that sort.
After a long journey trudging through mud and rain we arrive at the conclusion of our trip; the sounds gradually fade away, leaving just a few notes struck on the piano to return us full circle to where we had originally set out — so very long ago — and in so much more of a peaceful, serene state of mind now than we were then.
Sometimes listening to something this expansive all the way from beginning to end really does feel like a long journey — and on reaching the conclusion it can leave you with an immense sense of accomplishment, (even though you haven’t really done anything beyond passively sitting in a chair, and hitting the play button). I feel much better now — much more relaxed, but beyond that, it’s like I have achieved a higher state of consciousness. Except it’s more like a lower, deeper state; I feel as if I have journeyed into myself, and come out feeling more aware — rather than taking a trip outside of myself.
Or maybe I’m just getting a little drunk, who the hell knows?
In any case, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice not to look into this monumental work of art. It’s available to stream via Bandcamp (see widget below), as all of Solitude Productions’ releases are nowadays (including this band’s three prior albums — see the relevant links at the bottom of the post to check those out too). So, clear your appointment book for the rest of the afternoon, turn off your phone, shut your eyes and prepare to be enlightened.
Once you’ve made it the whole way through, and you’ve given yourself some time to recover, you can pick up a CD of this album here.