Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose – Bridge Carols

Bridge Cover

It must be something in the water or in the air over there in Portland, Oregon, resulting in a lot of remarkable music lately. Such as Bridge Carols, by Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose.
It’s labelled as “electro-pastoral music” and I really couldn’t think of a better description myself.

It’s not very often that I hear a new album that gives me the feeling it is exploring completely new territories by tearing down the limitations of existing styles and influences. Bridge Carols did exactly that. It got under my skin from the very first listen and felt like a mystery to be explored.

Laura Gibson could be called a (folk) singer-songwriter, although she has definitely developed her own style defying the borders of the folk genre.
In his music, Ethan Rose,  always searches to “merge the old with the new” – as demonstrated earlier on his beautiful album Oakscreated entirely on the sound of an old Wurlitzer Organ.

“Bridge Carols” also is all about merging the old with the new.

Gibson’s lovely voice (which some compare to that of Joanne Newsom) conjures dreamlike atmospheres that feel comfortable, ‘pastoral’ indeed. But embedded in Rose’s experimental soundscapes this music transcends to something unheard before. It’s weird, out of place, yet also vaguely familiar.

In creating this record, Laura and Ethan have experimented with different ways of collaboration:
“Ethan began building soundscapes, while Laura looked through piles of notebooks, coming across old phrases that never found home in verses or rhymes. They began recording Laura singing these unused writings. As the project developed, Laura began improvising lyrics and wordless vocalizations, streams of consciousness singing that tumbled out of her in long trailing waves. […] Ethan then took the recorded words – cutting them into bits and pieces – rearranging and juxtaposing them against each other to stretch them into new musical poems. […] With these vocal collages in place, Ethan would reshape tones and sounds around Laura’s words.”

That’s not the average everyday songwriting process…but indeed: this is not your average ‘singer songwriter’ album.

Ryan Jeffery directed the video for Younger, which also seems to visualise this process:

If you want more samples of this stunning album, check out the Bridge Carols website for track previews and more videos!

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