Willis Earl Beal: Experiments In Time (Self-Released) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Willis Earl Beal

Willis Earl Beal: Experiments In Time


Aug 28, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The whole premise of Willis Earl Beal‘s Experiments In Time is that recorded albums are time capsules. Listening to a record is reliving a past moment. Beal takes this concept and explores it in a richly introspective work that is both challenging and thoroughly satisfying.

Experiments is unlike any other album in that the moment it captures is a singularity stretched from one end of the record to the other. The album opens with a tape hiss, and closes with same sound. Everything in between, even the individual tracks and songs, bleed together as if they are merely different corners of the same piece. It is not an album meant to be listened to casually, or even to accompany a mood or state of mind. It is its own mood entirely. It’s a statement, a work of art more like a film or an installation than a pop record. The biggest drawback of Experiments In Time is that while its lo-fi approach might be truer to Beal’s artistry, a good production actually complements his powerful voice.

There’s also the fact that Experiments is actually a really difficult experience. Beal’s last album was bluesy and dark, but listenable. It was something you could put on to cope with pain or sadness. Experiments In Time is none of those things. It wallows in emptiness, not sadness. It’s mysterious, gray, and monochromatic.

The music, compositionally, sounds like a lo-fi Brian Eno, if such a contradiction could exist. But the addition of Beal’s purely transcendent voice makes it sound like something Scott Walker might put out. All these comparisons are mere suggestions thrown out to try to gain perspective on something really too vast to understand. Beal says he wants his career trajectory to follow the likes of Tom Waits or Nick Cave, and he may have accomplished just that. He’s set himself apart as a singularly unique artist with a vision, and Experiments is the right step in fulfilling his quest. (www.willisearlbeal.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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