Indie Music, Reviews

The Definitive freesscape: Now is the point at which I touch eternity (Review)

May 2, 2011 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook The Definitive freesscape: Now is the point at which I touch eternity (Review)on Twitter

Yes, freesscape is back! We first covered freesscape shortly after becoming aware of vocalist Emi Evans through her work on NieR. We took a look at their second album release, The Next Confusion, and mentioned that the duo’s third studio album, Now is the point at which I touch eternity, was on the way, and here it is!

Has the long, three-year wait been worth it? Will Evans’s newfound success in the videogame industry launch the electronic duo’s efforts to new heights? Find out in our review after the jump!

I think the answers are yes and yes. Now is the point at which I touch eternity is the third album by Evans and her collaborator, Hiroyuki Muneta, and I think we’re now starting to see a unique ‘freesscape’ sound develop. Not only is there more cohesion over this album’s nine tracks, but it’s much better produced, and although it’s matter of preference, even the composition work here stands out as top notch in my mind.

The album opens with the title track, “Now is the point at which I touch eternity,” which should have you hooked right from the start. A few scattered piano notes lead into a beautiful choir created by layers of Emi Evans’s angelic voice, creating an encompassing, healing, and almost religious experience as pads, mellow electronic percussion, and piano are eventually added to the mix. While we get lyrics at around the 2-minute mark, the choral backing continues, creating perfect harmonies, and the bass seemingly resonates with my soul. It’s so simple yet so elegant, and is a true masterpiece.  Even more, the duo is offering the track as a free download to honor those affected by the tragic earthquake and Tsunami in Japan on a special website located here, adding even more meaning to the piece.

The second track, “Lost Petals,” acts as a single from the album, complete with a separate CD release with B-sides (we’ll cover this release another time), but the track I think really tells listeners what freesscape is all about. What I’ve come to notice about the group’s ‘sound’ is that it combines beautiful instruments and vocals and arrangers them in unexpected ways. The progressions are rarely what you’d expect, making each listen a new experience where you discover new things, and “Lost Petals” is a perfect example. The track itself takes a more grungy approach with some more rock-oriented percussion, reminding me of Garbage at times.

“Bouncing” is a playful track and is one of my favorites. The title perfectly matches the upbeat and constantly shifting synth lines that are accompanied by glitchy percussion and Emi Evan’s high-pitched singing. I particularly enjoy the lyrics in “A Sign of Affection,” which sports a trickling, echoing piano, a meaty electronic bassline, and a delightful chorus section. “All this destruction is just a sign of my affection” from the chorus section stands out in my mind, and it’s incredibly catchy.

“My Sweet Scape From Tedium” is a bit more dreamy, relying on a belltone backing and more reverb on Evans’s voice, making it hard to discern exactly what she’s saying at times, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. In terms of composition, “Avalanche” is probably my favorite. Glitchy piano and percussion create a synthetic and sterile backing for Evans’s melancholy lyrics. The final track on the album, “Anchor song,” is a fitting closer with its contemplative acoustic guitar and reflective lyrics.

Honestly, I’m finding it difficult to describe the individual tracks on this album. What draws me to them individually are their unconventional progressions and combination of electronic and organic sounds. Of course you can’t argue with the fact that Emi Evans has an incredible voice, and I know it will be the major draw for many people out there who, like me, were turned on to her work through NieR. The booklet contains all of the album lyrics so you can sing along if you’d like (you know you want to).

If you’re new to freesscape, and wanted my recommendation on which album to pick up, this would definitely be it, so be sure to check it out online, or in physical stores in Japan. The duo also has a launch event on June 1, 2011 in the works, so watch their Twitter @freesscape for more details.

What do you think of freesscape and Emi Evans’s voice? Should she have sung the entire album in an alien language?

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