My friend E.W. Harris has released a beautiful new record called Mimetic Desire. You should give it a listen. You should buy it.
One of the really exciting things about this record is the quality of the songs. A number of us have been waiting for E.W. to put these songs on a record. He has been a strong songwriter for way longer than I’ve known him, but the songs he has been writing over the last four or five years are really exceptional.
The entire record is recorded with two guitars and vocals. So many vocals. A lot of the classic E.W. Harris elements are on display throughout. The record is rich with ear candy. Dense, tall stacks of harmonies and details. He finds little corners in the sonic space for subtle creatures that sneak up behind you on the third or fourth listen. You don’t hear it all at once. It surprises you over and over again. He uses a number of vocal techniques in the harmony parts adding lots of subtle character. There are textural contrasts. Moments where a smooth glassine vocal is complemented by the sudden introduction of sandpapery harmonies. There are strange whispers in the dark. There are noises from the street. There is a conspicuous lack of speak and spell. But what I mostly want to talk about is reverb.
If I were more disciplined about listening and writing, if I was the type that took notes as I listened to some of these records, my first notes on Mimetic Desire would have been about just how pretty the reverb is. That’s what jumped out at me immediately. This entire record has a beautiful glassy sheen in part facilitated by very, very pretty reverb. Many of us would be happy with a reverb that just gives us a little sense of depth and doesn’t draw too much attention. Many others would just soak everything indiscriminately in a suffocating sea of reverb and call it a day. But what’s happening on Mimetic Desire is different. The reverb is being used as a kind of instrument. And it’s being played really well.
It can be extremely difficult and frustrating wrangling reverb into submission. This is what it’s like: Countless hours of tweaking parameters, losing the thread of what you wanted, questioning the reason for your very existence, descending into the dark blanket of twisted madness. Tears.
So when someone is able to complete a record glossed with beautiful gorgeous reverb and apparently with their sanity still intact it is something like a magic trick. So what dark magic was E.W. using? Did he have a new plug-in? Did he find, hidden deep within the earth, some grail-like verb-item? Had he committed crimes of violence?
The answer to these questions was even more frustrating than I had imagined. He did it using the very same basic tools that I have. He’s just that good.
Is my desire for greater control over artificial reverberation authentic? Is it something that I actually cared about before I heard this record? Or is this desire itself a sort of echo? A mimetic desire?
Listen to E.W’s hot new joint HERE
Then buy it. It’s really, really good. You can also buy physical copies, but he only printed a gross (that is one hundred forty-four) and the covers are literally handmade art objects. So you should hope there are still some left after the current European tour and go buy one at a show.