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eraas - self titled (cd)


ARTIST // eraas
LABEL // felte (us)
CAT // felte002cd


The opening track of the self titled album from Brooklyn newcomers ERAAS had me pretty well hooked. It starts with a creepy, bustling ambience, then some eerie, awesomely recorded strings enter, and hey, it's over before you know it. Quite the mood setter, though. When an insistent bass guitar rhythm jumps at you on the second track, it's a bit jarring. So this isn't going to be an orchestral/ambient drone record? On the contrary, ERAAS is a percussion centered rock-horror album, if you want to go there. The recording quality is top-shelf, and if the bass had been handled by a dingy oscillator, parts of the album might even seem like early Silver Apples. It just has that lonely, desolate vibe about it, equal parts distant and beautiful. Lots of clanging, heavy reverb on fast picked guitar texture, dark piano and background strings, but also so much upbeat percussion work and enough vocals to create an interestingly bizarre mix of moods. Most of all, I like that ERAAS is taking some potentially esoteric influences and channeling them through their driving, accessibly approach. I'd say that makes a pretty successful debut. - Keith Rankin, Experimedia
A sense of place. It's a notion that has informed some of our most memorable works of art everyone has a favorite book or painting or album that somehow has the power to immerse you completely in its world, so much so that you don't want to leave.

This sense of creating art that can spirit you away somewhere else entirely is something that most definitely also informs the self-titled debut album from Brooklyn-based band ERAAS. In 2011, the band's founding members, Robert Toher and Austin Stawiarz, both ex-members of New England-based project Apse, were gravitating more towards ritualistic and darker themes not fully explored in their previous incarnation. In searching for a place to translate this mood to record, the duo settled on a rambling, atmospheric mansion in Western Massachusetts outside of Northampton. ERAAS decided to retreat to an area steeped in history and its own distinct atmosphere all deserted hill towns and melancholy beauty to make this record. The decision paid rich creative dividends this is an album that's heavy with both an ominous mood and a certain orchestral grandeur.

When you listen to these songs, the ambience of the house itself is palpable, its creaking boards and tenebrous hallways reflected in the claustrophobic, echo-laden production from the mournful strings that introduce the opening "Black House" until the flurry of tribal percussion that brings final track "Trinity" to a conclusion, there's a real sense of mood that never relents. The album plays out more like a single coherent entity than a simple collection of songs, the tracks emerging ghost-like from the shadows and then receding into interludes of whispers and strange, abstract samples.

The songs are built around insistent basslines and driving percussion, along with a distinctive, evocative vocal sound created with deft utilization of delays and reverbs. Tracks like "Briar Path" and "A Presence" sound like stumbling across secret rituals, all haunted vocal melodies and spidery guitar figures. Other songs see subtle elements drifting in and out of the mix "Crescent" is adorned by a delicate piano melody that sounds like it was recorded from an old Victrola, strange whisperings lurk deep in the mix of "Ghost", while "Trinity" strips things back to percussion and an insistent, rasping vocal.

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