Photo by Andrew Piccone
Our lights have been dimmed, we’ve put away all sources of anxiety, and we surrender ourselves further into the peaceful abyss that encompasses our spirit, as we arrive in the dimension of bedroom music. Tonight’s spotlight is on Brooklyn recording artist Eskimeaux.
The music of Eskimeaux is an outstanding and eclectic conglomeration of a predominantly electronic recording style, unique instrumentations, and a gentle singing voice that possesses the powerful muscles to melt and rebuild your soul… if you allow it to. The first couple of listens to this artist are an invitation into Eskimeaux’s creation, with an understanding that once you cross the threshold, you subject yourself to feelings you did not previously know existed.
The musical formation in our ears is augmented by profoundly intimate lyrics provided by the vocalist and principal creator Gabrielle Smith. These lyrics are compliant with the modern trend of bedroom artists in that they generally depict a particular situation in the form of a narrative. Smith fits this description, but with an increased fashion of seemingly speaking directly to the listener. When she makes statements like “All we did was build ideas, unreachable and cavernous, omnipotent, ravenous!” in the chilling lamentation “Discarded” off of the release Two Mountains, I can’t help but feel guilty of her accusations. I can’t help but enjoy feeling guilty of her accusations as well. Part of the reason I chose to accept her invitation into the world of Eskimeaux was to gain the sensation of participation in the feelings she establishes.
My favorite Eskimeaux album is the May 2015 release O.K. (Double Double Whammy record label), due to the amount of headspace the music on this record is able to fill, and the experience Smith demonstrates in the art of recording. She entices the listener by contrasting stripped-down clean guitar/charming vocals with more electronically oriented beats, and placing these differences in precise locations within the songs to catch the listener off-guard in the best way possible. O.K.’s songwriting contains no traces of conventional composition, and feels extraordinarily inimitable.
A highlight track “I Admit I’m Scared” off of O.K. succeeds in drawing the listener in with a sensitively soft-spoken introduction, completed with a soft acoustic guitar and single tracked vocals. The listener is emotionally invested when the track suddenly finds itself fueled with a fast paced beat, skyrocketing the amount of sheer power the tune carries. Smith fills whatever space is left in the mix with elaborately perfected vocal harmonies and the double tracking of each melody line, compatible with the increasing volume. Finally, to conclude her journey, she returns to the subdued state of earnest and soft-spoken reality with only her glimmering guitar chords and single tracked vocal to show for it, along with a slight feedback from the previous build up. It’s this type of pulsating in intensity that keeps me captivated in Eskimeaux.
To fully appreciate the finished product of Eskimeaux’s work, I suggest good-quality earphones when listening. You can stream or buy the album O.K. here.
Using this link as a springboard, you can delve deep into the discography, mostly consisting of Gabrielle Smith’s recording experimentations and compilations of demos.
Here’s an amazing and peculiar music video for the song “Broken Necks” starring a hungry dog, some animate boxes of cereal, a motorcycle riding Teddy bear, and a fantastically quirky and dreamy Gabrielle Smith, whose personality (I really hope) can be represented by the contents of this creation:
Oh Gabrielle, how I’d love to meet you, and dance with you to your own music.
Let’s get cozy with Eskimeaux:
The project started, according to Smith in an interview with Stereogum, when a “d**khead boyfriend” accused her of not doing anything. Out of spite, she recorded an ambient noise album overnight to prove him wrong, and from there, Eskimeaux continued to develop into the Brooklyn based bedroom-pop virtuoso that it is today. The touring group, aside from Smith, consists of Oliver Kalb, Felix Walworth, and Jack Greenleaf, all who contribute to the dense sound that is produced during performance. The name “Eskimeaux” refers to Smith’s Tlingit eskimo (NOT an Inuit affiliation, so this term is in fact politically correct) bloodline on her biological father’s side.
Eskimeaux is coming to El Corazon off of Eastlake Ave and Denny Way on Monday, December 21st to open up for Pity Sex. That should be an incredible show for all you folks in the Seattle area over the holidays. You can get tickets here.
All backstory aside, Eskimeaux is perfect for stimulating the emotions. Gabrielle Smith’s voice is a warm blanket that shelters us from the chilling and brutally honest lyrics she presents. Her recording expertise is operated by the creativity she grants herself from the bedroom.
Because, as we’re quite aware… it’s all in the bedroom.
JASON McCUE | Chilladelphia | KXSU Reporter