karu:14 - Ethan Rose - Oaks
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Clash Magazine (UK) - February 2010
Text by ???

Clash Magazine, February 2010

The Sound Projector (UK) - November 2009
Text by Ed Pinsent

The Sound Projector, November 2009

M|I (PL) - November 2009
Text by ???

M|I, November 2009

Sefronia (FR) - October 2009
Text by Hugo Catherine

Immédiatement interstellaire, "Oaks" nous projette à mille lieues au-dessus des mers. Ethan Rose crée une musique cristalline et ondulante. Les morceaux s'apparentent à de longues et lentes vagues sonores, déferlant dans un nulle part immense. Les sons semblent tintinnabuler, se frayer un chemin dans une immensité spatiale. Un vertige un peu surnaturel s'installe, telle une suspension précaire. Les sons d'Ethan Rose ruissellent délicatement, formant des mélodies de passage oeuvrant pour une harmonie globale. Pour produire cet effet planant, Ethan Rose a mélangé des samples d'un orgue Wurlitzer du début du siècle dernier, des sons de boîtes à musique et autres carillons.

L'homogénéité de l'album est très poussée. Ethan Rose nous invite à plonger durablement dans une grande marée sonore ; par flux et reflux, des milliers de micro-scintillements fourmillent. Nul doute que cette musique pousse à la rêverie. Il n'est ainsi pas étonnant de constater que Gus Van Sant sut en faire bon usage dans son film "Paranoid Park". Pourtant, "Oaks" souffre d'une certaine linéarité. Au fil de l'écoute, il se trame comme un tout petit ennui. (8/10)

Bodyspace (PT) - October 2009
Text + Interview by Miguel Arsénio

A resenha de Oaks, proposta em baixo, revelava o essencial sobre Ethan Rose e o caminho até ao álbum que compôs fazendo magia com a matéria obtida num órgão Wurlitzer, que, por sua vez, sintetizava os sons de quase meia centena de instrumentos (entre os quais o xilofone, a marimba e o trompete). Movido por um sentido nostálgico muito pessoal, presente em muitas das texturas imaculadas, Oaks não tem parado de crescer como revelação ambient que sugere o deslize e prazer habitualmente obtidos a um par de patins. Ainda antes de Oaks, o realizador Gus Van Sant havia convidado Ethan Rose para, com a sua "Song One", manter a levitação das tábuas de skate num dos momentos mais marcantes do filme Paranoid Park. O que era esplêndido nessa tal cena volta a sê-lo em "Fortune", o tema de Oaks que mais aponta para um Brian Eno sobre pequenas rodas. O Bodyspace estabeleceu contacto com Portland (um dos tópicos da conversa) para escutar Ethan Rose em discurso directo.

How much of the recorded material you got from the Wurlitzer do you think ended on the album some way or another? Are all those listed instruments and sound effects included on the record we now call "Oaks"?

It is hard to say exactly how much of the recorded material ended up on the album. I tend to get a little messy as I am working and don't try to get to caught up in managing files. I work with the material until I am happy with how it sounds, and then I add more material.

Were you able to work on anything else while you were developing "Oaks" or was the experience absorbing to the point of not being able to do that?

During the time I was working on Oaks it was my main focus. I often have multiple projects happening at once, but try to focus the majority of my attention on one thing. I like have lots of different things going on though, it keeps things exciting.

Since it was also released on Headz, I'm curious about which kind of feedback you got from Japan? Does the Japanese edition come with an obi-strip? (I really would love to have it that way) Were you asked to provide any extra tracks for the Japanese edition?

I did have one extra track on the Japanese version of the album, and I think it was well received there. I will be traveling to Japan in late October to play some shows and further support the album.

I heard "What Hands" and it really seems like a secret alternate ending for the album with a feeling like "This Wulitzer is now going to sleep". Did you ever think of including it in the Baskaru version?

I still think of the album ending on Bottom. To me that track allows the album to slowly seep away and I like the way it closes things down. I knew that Headz would want an extra track so I gave them "what hands" to tag onto the end of their release. I suppose I just think of it as an alternate ending to Oaks, it certainly changes the tone of the albums departure.

I'm usually amazed about how I seem to know a little bit about Portland just by listening to some Elliott Smith, Eluvium, Adam Gnade and your stuff too. Do you think that Portland has its own special manner of finding its way into the music, when compared to other cities?

Portland is a great city for music. There are a lot of musicians, artists, bands, and generally creative people here. This means that even though it is a small city that there is a lot of cultural activity. There are lots of good places to play music and the people here are very supportive.

I know that Elliott Smith was specific about Portland when naming songs after the city's streets. When looking behind "Oaks", can you tell if some of that stuff was closely related to any other parts of Portland?

Well yes, there are some Portland specific things that come into play with the album titles. Most of the titles are directly related to the Roller Rink where the Organ is located. For instance, "Fortunate" is named after Keith Fortune who plays and maintains the Organ at the park. The title "The Floor Released" takes its title from the floating floor of the Roller Rink. The Rink is located near a river and sometimes the river floods. They have the oak floor set up so they can cut it loose and it will float up so that the old wood will not be damaged by the flood waters.

How exactly did the invitation come to have your music included on "Paranoid Park"? Do you enjoy how he Gus Van Sant usually applies different music to his films? When I think about that, I always remember how that shower scene is insanely intense.

Having Gus Van Sant use some of my music in his film was a very humbling experience. Basically he got in touch and asked me if I'd be interested in letting him use some of my music. I have been a fan of his work for a long time, and greatly appreciate his work as a film maker.

Do you have any Gus Van Sant favourite movie?

I think it would be hard to name a favorite Van Sant movie as I think so many of them are really great. I can say that My Own Private Idaho holds the most meaning for me. I saw it when I was in my early teens and it was unlike any movie I had seen before. It really opened up the idea of cinema in my mind.

The way "Song One" matches with the skateboarding reminded me about how beautiful it is to watch the kids play baseball in that "Traffic" ending accompanied by Brian Eno's "An Ending (Ascent)", you know? Do you find that that graciousness in sports really is something that goes well with music? Which other sports do you think could be soundtracked?

I think that music can be framed around film scenarios in so many ways. It is always interesting to see how unusual pairings result in unexpected expressions.

It seems to me that "Song One" turned into something like an internet hit. Do you think that websites like You Tube help spread those songs that fans love to combine with different images and videos?

Absolutely. I think there are a lot of people who picked up on that song from the soundtrack and it is interesting to watch it being used and reused on youtube.

Lately, how have you been trying to bring image closer to your music, as I know that you're interested in combining both mediums?

I work with film makers and this is one way I work with the marriage of sound and image. I recently finished a feature score for the film "nothing personal" which is premiering in Locarno, Switzerland very soon. I like this sort of work because it presents new challenges and offers other collaborative interactions. I am also interested in doing sound installation work an working with the visual/audio components in a gallery setting.

After these few records on your own, do you feel more comfortable with the chance to do collaboration soon?

Yes! I am working on a collaborative record right now with Laura Gibson. Stay tuned for more info on that.

Does the collaboration with Laura Gibson necessarily mean a lot of work with her voice as an instrument?

In a certain way it does. In the recordings that we are making I treat her voice in the same way that I have treated the music boxes, player pianos and other instruments I have worked with in the past. By recording her improvisations and then editing and rearranging them, we have worked toward a collaboration that draws from both of our past work. Laura has taken the chance to explore her voice in new ways and I've had the opportunity to work with words which is something I haven't really done before.

Tell me about what you've working on lately.

Outside of the record I am working on with Laura, I am also preparing several sound installations. One of which is a collaborative installation with glass artist Andy Paiko. We are creating a series of glass bowls that rotate and are intoned by an armature that rubs them like a finger on a wine glass. I'm also working on a few music videos and some new recordings.

Mojo (UK) - August 2009
Text by David Sheppard

Mojo, August 2009

Persona Non Grata (DE) - August 2009
Text by Klaus

Zunächst will das Cover mit Rollschuhballerina und auf Mondsichel und Kometenschweif reitenden Gestalten um eine Ansammlung von Tröten und Registern so gar nicht zu den Ambient-Elektronica-Klängen passen mit denen Ethan Rose den Hörer sogleich umschmeichelt, umtänzelt, bliebe man bei der weissen Hauptfigur. Der Sound ist warm, doch auch artifiziell, wie das eingestreute Zirpen und Klackern extra betont. Folgt man den Linernotes ist die Erklärung des Phänomens recht simpel, aber nicht minder clever. Den Sounds liegt eine Wurlitzer Theaterorgel von 1924 zugrunde, mit einem riesigen Arsenal an Flöten und Effekten. Diese wurden abgenommen, elektronisch bearbeitet und wieder zusammengeführt. Daher das extra warme flirrende Vibrato, irgendwo zwischen spacy Weltraum- und Dorfkirchenorgel. Mal Soundteppich, mal Mondlandschaft, mal felsiges Gelände mit gefährlichen Spitzen. Sehr anders, sehr eigen, sehr einnehmend und letztendlich sehr gut, irgendwie.

Stereo & Video (RU) - August 2009
Text by Диана Кондрашина

Stereo & Video, August 2009

The Milk Factory (UK) - July 2009
Text by themilkman

Hailing from Portland, OR, Ethan Rose works with unusual sound sources which he processes and collates into delicate atmospheric pieces to create wonderfully textural records. His debut album, Ceiling Songs, released in 2006 on Locust Music, documented his work with automated instruments (music boxes, taped up player piano rolls), which, combined with acoustic instruments and electronics, created a fragile and ephemeral world where textures were layered into gossamer formations. His follow up record, Spinning Pieces, published in 2007, once again on Locust, collected three tracks which had previously been released in extremely small quantity, and continued to showcase his work with automated instruments.

For his third album, Oaks, released on Baskaru in Europe, Holocene in the US and Headz in Japan, Rose has sourced all his sounds from a Wurlitzer theatre organ dating back from the mid-1920s, which was originally used to accompany silent films. Later on, the organ was moved to the Oak Park Roller Rink, in Portland, where it progressively fell into disrepair. In recent years, Rose helped bringing the instrument back to its originally splendour, and has since aimed at propelling into the 21st century. Opting from considerably shorted pieces than on his previous two releases, Rose retains nevertheless the same dreamy tone, weaving his processed sound sources into tight little vignettes, which, like leaves caught in the wind, continuously flutter and wave.

While the sounds used here are pretty unidentifiable individually, the warm tones of the Wurlitzer often come through to brighten up a particular sequence, smoothen a slightly too angular piece or pulse incredible resonating depth throughout. Album opener On Wheels Rotating, appears at first pretty straight forward, but the subtle changes in the underlying melody create an interesting counterpoint to the main theme. Rose uses a similar effect on Scene From When, but elsewhere, he scatters sound particles over his compositions to give them a shimmering sheen. This is particularly the case on Rising Waters, with its grainy glitches rendered through a short reverb, or Grand Marcher, which, in its second half, becomes a fascinating mine of microscopic activity. Later on, a discreet buzz is heard circling in the distance on Fortunate, while on Mighty Mighty, Rose assembles various chime-like tones, giving it a particularly airy and crystalline aspect.

With this album, Ethan Rose continues to explore sound in his very own way, bringing together old and new, organic and processed, textural and diaphanous, and makes the most of the rich sound pool of the Wurlitzer. Occasionally reminiscent of Fennesz in his approach to sounds, Rose has created, with Oaks, a wonderfully evocative and dreamy record. (4.2/5)

A Découvrir Absolument (FR) - June 2009
Text by Olivier

Compositeur contemporain et explorateur musical inlassable et éclectique, Ethan Rose se passionne également pour les dispositifs techniques ou technologiques anciens... Il se plait à conjuguer sonorités innovantes et technologies poussiéreuse. " Oaks " est un exemple flagrant et éblouissant de cette démarche atypique puisque tous les sons de cet album proviennent exclusivement d'un vieil orgue de cinéma de 1920 qui à l'origine se trouvait dans le cinéma Broadway à Portland où il était utilisé pour sonoriser en direct des vieux films muets. Cet orgue dont le dispositif centrale est une centrale pneumatique permettant de contrôler des sons émis par des tuyaux de diamètre et de longueurs divers, Ethan Rose l'a retrouvé couvert de poussière dans le Oaks Park Roller Rink de Portland, piste couverte de roller-skate. Fasciné par cette machine hors du commun, Ethan Rose explore ici une palette sonore inédite dont il retravaille chaque son à travers des traitements électroniques d'une finesse impressionnante.

" Oaks " est un album serein et aérien, où chaque son évoque un nuage ouaté et satiné. Le ciel sonore que peint ici Ethan Rose en passe en revue toutes les formes : les cumulonimbus enveloppant et imposants jouxtent les nimbostratus étales et flous chatouillés régulièrement par des cirrus fins et ramifiés qui sculptent l'espace sonore avec une délicatesse bienveillante.

Jamais orageuse, la météo d'Ethan Rose caresse les oreilles d'une brise douce et légère qui donnerait presque des envies de cocooning...

Folio (NL) - June 2009
Text by Arno Peeters

Ethan Rose is gek op nieuwe sounds van oude muziektechnologie, zoals player-piano's, muziekdozen en carillons. Op zijn derde CD "Oaks" gaat hij helemaal loos met een oud theaterorgel dat vroeger dienst deed als begeleidingsdoos bij stille films. De klanken die hij van dit instrument heeft afgetapt heeft hij met behulp van elektronica tot composities verwerkt die nergens aan orgelmuziek doen denken.
Zijn stijl valt in de smaak en zijn muziek is o.m te horen in de soundtrack van Gus Van Sant's meest recente film "Paranoid Park".

UNI (CZ) - May 2009
Text by Pavel Zelinka

UNI, May 2009

Smallfish Records (UK) - May 2009
Text by Mike Oliver

This is a really luscious new release from Baskaru which, in all honesty, isn't very surprising at all as it's a cracking imprint. Ethan Rose's way of constructing delicate and melodic guitar-based manipulations is lovely and there's a nicely gentle, yet surprisingly robust feel to this. Each piece comes with its own sound and each piece is defiantly low-key and subtle. The robustness comes with the way the processing adds the occasional moment of noisiness and that's really why it works so well - it's quite strictly 'quiet/loud' but there's a dynamic feel to it that's certainly in the same ball park. I really liked this and definitely suggest you give it a listen.

His Voice (CZ) - May 2009
Text by HD

His Voice, May 2009

Bodyspace (PT) - May 2009
Text by Miguel Arsénio

O som de Ethan Rose, em Oaks, pode não parecer completamente estranho aos ouvidos de quem já viu (e escutou) Paranoid Park,o filme de Gus Van Sant baseado no romance homónimo escrito por Blake Nelson. Paranoid Park conta a história de um jovem skater que mata acidentalmente um guarda de uma estação de comboios. Conforme revelado em algumas entrevistas, Gus Van Sant desenvolveu parte da banda-sonora de Paranoid Park inspirado pelo conteúdo dos iPods pertencentes a membros da sua equipa de filmagem. O azar de desastres como Psycho (o mais inútil dos remakes, também realizado pelo autor de Milk) deu, desta vez, passagem à sorte que contemplou Gus Van Sant, no momento em que descobriu Ethan Rose, conterrâneo de Portland e senhor de dois discos na Locust de Chicago (Ceiling Songs e a precoce compilação Spinning Pieces). O nome de Rose merece o vermelho desta passadeira, porque Paranoid Park não seria o mesmo sem a sua "Song One", um exercício de levitação, que embala e suspende no ar os corpos, numa das mais bonitas cenas de skate (registadas no característico formato Super 8 ) alguma vez transpostas para filme. O YouTube permite a repetição do sonho e o vídeo encontra-se disponível aqui.

No filme, "Song One" servia como contraponto celestial para o inferno de remorsos instalado numa cena particularmente perturbante. Cena essa em que o protagonista tomava duche ao som de uma mistura temível do tema concrète ""Walk through resonant landscape n° 2", de Frances White. é de valor quando uma música pouco convencional – "Song One" - consegue ser um êxito de popularidade, ainda que à sua escala limitada. Depois de um tema tão memorável como esse e numa altura em que a sua habilidade demonstra acentuada ascensão, Ethan Rose tinha a seu favor o momentum para um álbum pensado de raiz. é aqui que entra em cena Oaks, verdadeira revelação conduzida por um conceito repleto de encanto: Ethan Rose armazenou todo o tipo de sons reproduzidos num órgão Wurlitzer, fabricado em 1926 - altura essa em que o aparelho viveu o seu zénite, enquanto acompanhava filmes mudos. O órgão mudou de mãos e ultimamente anima um ringue de patinagem em Portland (o Oaks Park Roller Rink que dá título ao disco). Agora, e sempre que alguém quiser, o dinossauro melódico ressoa também em Oaks, que apresenta oito composições obtidas com a manipulação digital dos sons recuperados ao órgão (que, por sua vez, sintetiza algumas dezenas de instrumentos e efeitos).

Durante 37 minutos imaculados, Ethan Rose toca a memória de um órgão muito mais do que as suas notas. Uma vez mais, o digital oferece ao analógico uma forma inédita de perdurar no tempo. E tudo o que perdura em Oaks é acústica reluzente reaproveitada em serpentinas de melodia, um impalpável cunho vintage integrado em ciclos de electrónica com contornos esféricos, música ambiente sobre patins ("On Wheels Rotating" assegura a teoria). Fica assim revelado um novo talento na cidade de Portland, que já contava com outro nostálgico crónico chamado Eluvium (que tem resposta à altura em "Fortunate"). Na "Song One", que cedeu a Paranoid Park, tal como em Oaks, Ethan Rose satisfaz com música o prazer que alguém tem em deslizar sobre rodas. Prazer esse que, de resto, é universal. O próprio Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto, brilhante filme de Miguel Gomes, sobrepunha realidade e fantasia, num momento especialmente hipnótico, em que o protagonista praticava hóquei em patins. Era "Passear Contigo", êxito popular dos Broa de Mel, que se escutava nesse momento de transição, mas podia ser "Bottom" deste Oaks. Apertem os atacadores e despertem os sentidos para os sons deslizantes de Ethan Rose.

EtherReal (FR) - May 2009
Text by Fabrice Allard

C'est la première fois que l'on parle d'Ethan Rose qui n'en est pourtant pas à son premier essai puisqu'il s'agit de son troisième album après Ceiling Songs et Spinning Pieces tous deux sortis chez Locust Music. On pouvait entendre un de ses titres sur la BO du Paranoid Park de Gus Van Sant, mais c'est en temps que membre de Small Sails qu'on l'avait déjà croisé avec leur album Similar Anniversaries chez Resonant.

Concept album : Oaks fait référence au Oaks Park Skating Rink, une piste de roller faisant partie d'un parc d'attraction à Portland (Oregon) d'où Ethan est originaire. C'est là qu'un mythique orgue de cinéma Wurlitzer de 1926 connaît une seconde vie, permettant aux skaters de patiner en musique. Tous les sons de cet album proviennent de cet orgue, puis ont été manipulés, traités par ordinateur et effets, donnant à ce vieil instrument une nouvelle jeunesse. La pochette, une aquarelle de Boyd Richard illustre joliment le concept, des skaters patinant autour d'une sorte de sculpture reprenant les tubes et touches d'un orgue.
Difficile, voir impossible de retrouver là le son d'un orgue. Cet instrument avait déjà la faculté de reproduire toute sorte de sonorités, cordes, cuivres et même de nombreuses percussions qui semblent subir ici des manipulations extrêmes. Notes électroniques éparses incitant à la contemplation, accompagnement chaleureux, et globalement un son clair que l'on croirait d'origine acoustique avant que les machines ne viennent fragmenter et salir les mélodies aériennes de On Wheels Rotating. Aujourd'hui l'électronique permet à peu près tout, et Ethan Rose trompe régulièrement l'auditeur. Difficile en effet d'imaginer que tous les sons proviennent de cet orgue, difficile de croire qu'il n'a pas ajouté quelques field recordings sur Rising Waters tellement on a l'impression d'entendre des gouttes d'eau, insectes et autres caquetages d'oiseaux.
L'ensemble de l'album est en pleines terres ambient, tendance abstraite et lumineuse aidé en cela par l'utilisation régulière de sonorités métalliques, cliquetis, tintements ou résonance sur Mighty Mighty. Tout juste notera-t-on ici une sorte de souffle sourd, une respiration inquiétante, et le ton un peu plus grave de Fortunate ou Bottom, deux pièces basées sur de longues nappes graves oscillantes, flottantes et apaisantes.

Alors que l'album se termine, on réalise que derrière cette douceur se cache une certaine poésie, une délicatesse aussi, et malgré le traitement par l'électronique, un véritable hommage à ce vieil orgue.

Elegy (FR) - May 2009
Text by wqw...

Elegy, May 2009

Miuzik (IT) - May 2009
Text by Massimiliano Drommi

C'è da rimanere incantati con la musica di Ethan Rose. Dopo due lavori su Locust ("Ceiling Songs" e "Spinning Pieces"), il musicista di Portland (lo si può ascoltare anche nel recente film di Gus Van Sant "Paranoid Park") raccoglie in "Oaks" un grappolo di tracce estasianti, dallo sconfinato fluire cosmico.

I suoni prodotti nell'album provengono da un organo Wurlitzer del 1926, succuccessivamente processati e dilatati attraverso il computer: dalla connessione tra analogico e digitale fuoriescono dei raffinati bozzetti atmosferici drone-ambient screziati di glitch, dalle microelevazioni delicatamente melodiche fluttuanti verso paradisiaci lidi dreamy.

Episodi come "On Wheels Rotating", "Grand Marcher", "The Floor Released", "Scenes From When" o "Bottom" sono semplicemente meraviglie che stregano: da qualche parte le abbiamo già udite sonorità simili, ma non per questo rinunciamo all'ennesimo, irresistibile coinvolgimento. (4/5)

The Vibes (IT) - May 2009
Text by Vito Camarretta

Altra godibile perla sonora dalla piccola casa discografica indipendente francese Baskaru firmata questa volta da una "vecchia" conoscenza, quella di Ethan Rose, apprezzato esponente del versante minimalista dell'elettronica con il pallino per il collagismo e l'antiquariato musicale. Per l'occasione, Ethan ha rispolverato un attempato organo per teatro prodotto dalla leggendaria fabbrica di Rudolph Wurlitzer datato 1926 - sebbene nel tempo il termine Wurlitzer è diventato praticamente un sinonimo di questi strumenti antesignani delle odierne workstation perchè capaci di simulare un'orchestra, il vero padre del meccanismo elettropneumatico ad aria alla base della complessa tecnologia alla base di queste macchine sonore fu il geniale signore Robert Hope-Jones -, dal quale ha ricavato suoni successivamente modificati al computer estremamente variegati che vanno dalla voce umana al flauto, dalla viola orchestrale al clarinetto, dal diapason diafonico al sassofono e il suo antenato, l'oficleide, dallo xylofono al glockenspiel via via fino a timbri davvero singolari (il fischione dei battelli a vapore, il cinguettio degli uccelli, i blocchi cinesi, il clacson delle automobili, il trillo dei telefoni a campana...) oltre che i timbri tradizionali ottenibili con l'apertura di determinate canne quali la Tibia Clausa nota anche con il termine tedesco Doppelflüte - canna che costituisce il tono fondamentale di numerose scale armoniche - o la Kinura, particolarissimo registro (termine tecnico per indicare una serie di canne d'organo dal timbro identico inseribili o disinserabili liberamente dall'organista) inventato dallo stesso Hope-Jones che riproduce un suono simile a quello dell'oboe musette quando l'ancia è insufflata con molta aria dai polmoni del povero suonatore. Vi chiederete cosa possa inerire il titolo del disco Oaks e tutto il concept del lavoro con il Wurlitzer? La risposta sarebbe immediata qualora vi sia capitato di passeggiare in uno dei posti più caratteristici di Portland, il parco dei divertimenti delle quercie - ovvero l'Oaks Amusement Park, citato anche da Chuck Palahniuk nel spassoso libello Portland Souvenir, una sorta di guida turistica decisamente poco convenzionale della capitale dell'affascinante stato americano dell'Oregon - per l'appunto dove il suono del Wurlitzer è spesso una costante al punto da esser stata una delle tante fonti d'ispirazione del film Paranoid Park di Gus Van Sant, alla colonna sonora del quale tralaltro Ethan comparve fra i collaboratori e che riaffiora spesso in alcuni riferimenti anche in questo album.

Il chiming ipnagogico che si "sfiata" fino quasi a sgretolarsi nel ritornello ripetitivo di un carillon mezzo scassato di On Wheels Rotating ben introduce questo lavoro: come in molti suoi passati lavori, Ethan Rose non inserisce elementi percussivi riuscendo comunque giocherellando sul pitch e sull'alternanza di diverse modulazioni di frequenze a sottointendere un movimento ritmico anche se l'effetto ottenuto potrebbe farsi insorgere il malsano desiderio di attendere che il vostro neonato si addormenti attraverso le ninnolanti stimolazioni di un carillon da culla per sottrarlo successivamente e montarlo sul vostro lettone matrimoniale, liberandovi in moine e versetti da infante e crogiolandovi sotto l'effetto della stessa induzione narcotica! Sullo stesso chiming sembra passarci un matterello fino ad appiattirlo e dilaterne la durata temporale nella successiva Rising Waters e si ripresenta in forma di ovattata lullaby intervallata a whistle e cicalecci notturni anche in Grand Marcher, laddove The Floor Released (titoli che sembrano quasi descrivere le fasi di apprendimento del pattinaggio da parte di un ragazzino alle prime armi sulle rotelle...) è un'enfatizzazione di quella ritmicità resa senza l'ausilio di elementi percussivi: attraverso una rielaborazione che ha quasi del maniacale, Ethan riesce a simulare il russare umano che funge quasi da sorniona cadenza su una sequenza tanto trasognata da ricordare alcune simili divagazioni di Boards Of Canada, Milosh o Telefon Tel Aviv, sospese su evanescenze e tremolii che sembrano fluttuare in una dimensione cerebrale atemporale. Fortunate è la traccia che forse ricorda maggiormente il contesto di Paranoid Park: divertitevi a notare come Ethan voglia quasi enderizzare il processo pneumomeccanico del suo amatissimo Wurlitzer (tra una traccia e l'altra lo immaginiamo profuso in abbracci non molto dissimili da quelli di un marmocchio al suo pacioso cagnolone di peluche...) con un suono "insufflato" che sembra quasi l'istantanea del passaggio dell'aria attraverso le canne sonore, per poi chiudere su un fading che profuma di cinematografico... medesima funzione sembra averlo il tenuo crepitio metallico di Scenes From When, traccia in cui il tono sacrale della voce del Wurlitzer è un po' più distinguibile che altrove. Nitida quanto in The Floor Released la voce cristallina della celesta in Mighty Mighty, che si lascia ascoltare gradevolmente ascoltare fino al terzo minuto momento in cui sembra trasformare in un suono di clarinetto che comincerà a ronzarvi attorno all'interno della cuffia. Bottom chiude con un concerto di incantevoli stimolazioni in uno stagno sonoro ad alta densità di volteggi, rintocchi e chirps un disco che anche nella sua alea nostalgica racchiude il segreto del suo fascino.

La MagicBox (FR) - April 2009
Text by Denis Z.

Jamais sans mon Wurlitzer. Cela pourrait être le credo de Ethan Rose. Dans son troisième album, l'Américain explique que tous les sons de Oaks sont issues d'un Orgue Wurlitzer de théâtre de 1926, ceux-ci sont ensuite altérées par des ordinateurs pour créer ses pièces musicales. Ou comment faire de l'actuel avec du vieux matériel, pionnier de la musique électronique. Dans une volonté de transparence didactique, Rose dresse même la liste des sons, instruments et effets sonores issues du Wurlitzer utilisées pour le disque. Un déroulant d'une trentaine de mots (des "cloches d'orchestre" à "hautbois" en passant par "cordes célestes" et "marimba") qui rappellera la liste des instruments acoustiques de Spirit of Eden de Talk Talk, un album d'où ressortait cette même impression de temps arrêtée.

A la différence du groupe de Mark Hollis, toute la musique de Rose est synthétique et trouvant en son wurlitzer son unique médium, elle n'est qu'un théâtre des ombres et du simulacre : des simili instruments acoustiques jouées sur un mode impressionniste pour un résultat poétique. Rose privilégie souvent les nappes traînantes et les sons qui tintent - comme un concert de verre de cristal et de clochettes pour une ambiance renvoyant immanquablement à l'enfance. Originaire de Portland comme Gus Van Sant, Ethan Rose a participé à la musique de "Paranoid Park". Oaks est à l'image des adolescents du film : un éternel regard contemplatif et lunaire, un unique rempart contre la violence du monde. Un refuge en lévitation qui ne dure que le temps de l'écoute. Un disque à la dérive séduisant et d'une beauté éphémère.

Gaz-Eta (PL) - April 2009
Text by Pawel Gzyl

To juz trzecia plyta amerykanskiego muzyka z Portland - i chyba najlepsza. Choc wlasciwie kontynuuje ona poszukiwania dzwiekowe rozpoczete na poprzednich albumach: wylapywanie ulotnych dzwieków ze starych instrumentów, fortepianów, pianin, pozytywek, kurantów. Tym razem Ethan Rose trafil na wyjatkowy eksponat - teatralne organy Wurlitzera, na których tworzono w okresie miedzywojennym muzyke do niemych filmów. Miesiace restaurowania zabytkowego instrumentu, zaowocowaly wykorzystaniem go do najnowszych nagran artysty, które ukazaly sie pod tytulem "Oaks".

Wlasciwie gdyby nie informacje na okladce albumu, z jakiego zródla dzwieku pochodza utrwalone na plycie brzmienia, pomyslelibysmy, ze to elektroniczny ambient. Ale nie - jesli uwaznie wsluchac sie w te muzyke, zaskakuje ona swym cieplem, organicznoscia, naturalnoscia. Raz slyszymy w niej flet, drugi raz - klarnet, a jeszcze kiedy indziej - wiolonczele, obój czy saksofon. Wszystko to jednak rozmyte, oniryczne, rozlane w powoli plynace strumienie rozmarzonych tonów.

Nadzwyczaj urokliwa to muzyka - jakby nie z tej epoki, nie z tego swiata, z drugiej strony naszych snów. Jesli ktos ogladal film Gusa van Santa "Paranoid Park", na pewno ma jeszcze w uszach ambientowy soundtrack do dramatycznych przezyc nastoletniego skatera - jego autorem byl wlasnie Ethan Rose. "Oaks" brzmi podobnie, tylko jeszcze bardziej eterycznie i nierealnie.

Terz (DE) - April 2009
Text by Honker

Terz, April 2009

Otsechka (MK) - April 2009
Text by Petar Palankov

Otsechka, April 2009

Musicareaction (FR) - April 2009
Text by Maxence

L'orchestre fantôme d'Ethan Rose...

Sur Oaks, son nouvel album, l'Américain Ethan Rose continue d'explorer le son d'anciens instruments ou d'antiques technologies musicales, pour en tirer des sonorités nouvelles.

Pour ce disque étonnant, c'est au sein du Oaks Amusement Park, une salle de patinage sur patins à roulettes situé à Portland (Oregon), sa ville natale, que le compositeur a découvert un fabuleux instrument : un orgue extrêmement sophistiqué, qui lui a permi de réunir l'orchestre spectral (et totalement imaginaire, tous les sons étant produits par l'orgue lui-même) présent sur Oaks.

Cet machine construite dans les années 1920 servait à l'origine à accompagner les films muets projetés dans le Broadway Theater de Portland. Ses "pipes", ou tuyaux, contrôlés de manière pneumatique permettaient déjà d'imiter de nombreux instruments (clarinette, flûte, viole d'orchestre, cordes, saxophones et divers instruments à vent, etc.), de créer des effets percussifs ainsi que des bruitages réellement hors-normes comparé à la technologie de l'époque.

Ces sons pourtant enregistrés et manipulés électroniquement donnent à Oaks cette patine organique et ce souffle poétique intemporel. Ethan Rose, éternel enfant fasciné par le passé, en use pour composer un album sophistiqué au service d'une musique à la fois lyrique et pourtant très simple. De fait ce disque est doublement émouvant puisqu'en plus de nous toucher au coeur par ses mélodies poignantes, il témoigne également d'une époque pas si lointaine où le travail sur le son passait avant tout par l'habileté du constructeur, mais aussi par l'agilité et la force physique de l'interprète.

Trust (DE) - April 2009
Text by (stone)

Trust, April 2009

Blow Up (IT) - April 2009
Text by Massimiliano Busti

Blow Up, April 2009

Orkus (DE) - April 2009
Text by Martin Kreischer

Orkus, April 2009

Station Service (FR) - April 2009
Text by Laurent Guerel

Bruissement automnal, pépiements d'oiseaux, brise caressante, jeu de pluie. échafaudée autour de boucles entêtantes résonnant comme des boîtes à musique d'enfant tournant lentement dans la vallée lointaine, la musique d'Ethan Rose s'évapore comme la nostalgie passagère, s'écoule dans les interstices d'une pierre polie par le souvenir. Des notes en apesanteur. Un post-rock de bitume en errance entre matériaux électroniques et notes scintillantes qui tombent au goutte-à-goutte. Entre ivresse des steps et dégrisement sur une aire d'autoroute, entre soleil au zenith et crachin hivernale d'une nuit "déjà tombée", entre précision acoustique et brouillage du signal, la musique va et vient au rythme de marées intérieures, s'orientant entre les journaux intimes du premier album de Colleen et du "Paranoid Park" de Gus Van Sant, dans lequel vous pouvez entendre des morceaux de son premier album.

Sentire Ascoltare (IT) - April 2009
Text by Sara Bracco

Nonostante il processo e l'approcio al suono di Ethan Rose sia ormai risaputo, non temono la convivenza forzata o la catalogazione le realtà sonore di Oaks, tra elettronica ambient ed organiche derive acustiche.

La redenzione sta nella semplicità e nella linearità narrativa, quasi necessaria per le stesure dello statunitense; semplicità che interagisce con una forma di astrattisma nostalgico simile a quello del Fennesz di Venice, senza mai diventare schiava della decostruzione sonora. Ritmo e ciclicità predispongono le coordinate al dialogo degli elementi, abbandonati ai primi piani e alle riconducibili fonti del Sawako di Madoromi o Bitter Sweet - o più in generale di artisti digitali giapponese tra estetica neoromantica e delicato approccio al dettaglio.

Che le fonti sonore provengano da un antico organo o dalle chiaroscure stratificazioni drones - successivamente sottoposte al trattamento o all'increspatura non importa - è con una dialettica minimalista affine ai migliori esponenti della 12k che sembrano dialogare.

Un minimalismo che, spogliatosi del gesto e dell'ossesione si affida, alle amichevoli forme, sinfoniche ed eteree nell'intro di On Wheels Rotating, fluide e cristalline in Rising Waters.

Ed ecco che le intenzioni si fanno chiare ed animate da una familiare presenza, circondandoti tra colori pastello, campanelli, carillons (Bottom) o le scatole magiche di The Floor Released e conducendoti infine a un dolce, atonale risveglio (Fortunate). (7.2/10)

Aufabwegen (DE) - April 2009
Text by Zipo

Die Orgel gilt als das älteste Musikinstrument der Welt. In ihr fließen Mathematik, Physik und Mystik in eins. Viele Komponisten ließen sich von ihr inspirieren, von Bach bis Messiaen. Seit einigen Jahren erfreut sich die Orgel wegen ihres kraftvoll-atmenden Sounds auch in der Drone- und Post-Industrial-Szene als Klangkörper großer Beliebtheit. Ethan Rose hat auf Oaks ausschließlich mit den Klängen einer 1926er Wurlitzer Theraterorgel gearbeitet, die er dann im Computer manipuliert hat. Das ergebnis ist angenehm aber doch überraschend brav und etwas beliebig. Die Klänge verweisen nicht unbedingt auf ihre Herkunft, alles flutsch und glibbert so dahin, wie wir es im Zeitalter der digitalen Klangbearbeitung nur zu oft hören. Durchaus angenehm, durchaus gefällig aber eben auch ein wenig kraftlos und ohen klare eigene Note.

Time Off (AU) - March 2009
Text by Lawrence English

Ethan Rose is possibly best known for his soundtrack with filmmaker Gus Van Sant. Working widely on the score to Paranoid Park, it was Rose's off-kilter sound pieces that gave the film something quite unerring. Now a few years on from that work, Rose has unearthed another golden recording with Oaks.

Created using a 1926 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ in an old skate rink in his hometown of Portland, this record is not what you might expect. Whilst the organ remains present in many of the pieces it is Rose's abilities to transform the instrument that are most striking. A careful and considered sound sculptor, Ethan Rose takes a variety of recordings from the instrument and alters them to varying degrees. 'Grand Marcher' for example is a wonderfully ambient work – the kind of sounds that might have existed on some unrecorded Brian Eno record in the early 80s – swelling filtered sections glisten amid glassy pads and tones. Never waiting to break or interrupt the flow of his recordings, this album is for the most part a floating vessel – buoying up and down in an ocean of shimmering tonal goodness.

When Oaks does shift into more contemporary electronics territory – take 'Scenes From When' for instance – the production still carries a warmth and openness to it. Never content to let cliché intervene, you get the sense that Rose has fawned over these pieces to ensure they are each realised to within a point of perfection. For the most part he's right on the money.

Neural.It (IT) - March 2009
Text by Aurelio Cianciotta

To create these minimal sound ellipses Ethan Rose uses an old Wurlitzer Theatre Organ. The sounds are often velvety, ambient and symphonic, and are manipulated using computers and other electronic devices. They are also intertwined with more traditional acoustic instruments such as flute, clarinet, various strings and exotic percussion. The result is beautiful singsongs, whose meticulous quietness gives the whole work an ever so slightly strange and disturbing feel. Ethan Rose – it is worth noting - is the author of the 'Paranoid Park' soundtrack, a wonderful street-movie by Gus Van Saint. The suspended suburban melancholy of the film also appears as a pervasive element of this project. It is a dilated musical treatment, possessing an elegant, crystalline quality. There are a total of eight tracks that constitute this Baskaru release. The record comes packaged in a nice cover designed by Richard Boyd, a creative artist who is familiar with contemporary-classical style.

Goûte Mes Disques (FR) - March 2009
Text by Simon

Que les adeptes d'albums à destinée cinématographique se réjouissent, Ethan Rose revient pour imposer une troisième fois une mise en bouche aux mélodies enlevées et terriblement immersives. En effet le musicien de Portland, repéré par Gus Van Sant, a participé à l'élaboration de la bande-son de Paranoid Park, aux côtés d'autres grands messieurs de la carrure du pionnier de l'electro-acoustique Bernard Parmigiani. Pour cette troisième galette, Ethan Rose s'emploie à jouer exclusivement sur un orgue Wurlitzer datant de 1926 pour ensuite modifier et traiter le tout avec une palette d'effets électroniques, n'hésitant pas à rehausser le tout de nouvelles textures organiques.

Oaks démarre et se plonge directement dans des ambiances ouatées aux moyens de sempiternelles notes aussi claires que le cristal. Basculant en permanence entre cette orchestration intimiste et une ambient hors du temps, Ethan Rose tente la carte de l'intégration totale de l'auditeur dans un univers forcément doucereux, avançant pas à pas vers une destination connue de lui seul. Comme on n'y voit rien à première vue, on déambule, on cherche et on trouve finalement les points de repères que notre hôte à daigné éparpiller un peu partout dans ce vaste champ d'exploration : une série de notes jouées à la guitare, un carillon errant ou une boîte à musique vous caressant chaleureusement les oreilles. On peut aisément penser à un Sigur Rós sous tranquillisants (c'est dire au vu de la fougue légendaire des Islandais) ou à n'importe quelle autre chose qui provoque un sentiment de dérive totale, l'auditeur se laissant guider par les variations de tons offertes par cet orchestre miniature.

Le seul problème, s'il devait y en avoir un, c'est que les trajets à dos de nuages sont entrecoupés de courtes escales se faisant à pied, coupant par la même occasion l'intérêt de ce disque à certains moments. En effet, certains passages, proches de la léthargie ne parviennent pas à capter l'intérêt, inconvénient vite rattrapé par la courte durée de l'album, ce qui ne laisse finalement que peu de temps aux divagations quelque peu dispensables. Au final, difficile de se prononcer sur la qualité de ce disque à la beauté sensible mais parfois passive, sûr par contre que les amateurs de grands espaces trouveront leur compte dans cette nouvelle sortie d'Ethan Rose.

Gonzo Circus (BE) - March 2009
Text by Patrick Bruneel

Gonzo Circus, March 2009

Onda Rock (IT) - March 2009
Text by Roberto Mandolini

Modern ambient electronica. Questa la specialità di Ethan Rose. Due dischi su Locust, con musica in parte utilizzata sulla splendida colonna sonora per il celebre "Paranoid Park" di Gus Van Sant, e ora questo nuovo lavoro per la francese Baskaru confermano le doti del giovane musicista americano nel costruire placida musica d'ambiente utilizzando calcolatori elettronici.

Nel caso di "Oaks" le fonti utilizzate sono state originate da un grande organo Wurlitzer un tempo utilizzato per sonorizzare film muti all'interno di un vecchio cinema. Rose ha partecipato al lavoro di restauro dell'organo e una volta ascoltati quei suoni, li ha registrati per poterli trattare in seguito elettronicamente con i suoi computer. Filtri ed effetti digitali hanno fatto il resto, allungando i riverberi e facendo risplendere le timbriche su distese infinite. Il risultato è solo a tratti abbagliante.

Cyclic Defrost (AU) - March 2009
Text by Max Schaefer

The recent barrage from Baskaru begins with the second fully-fledged effort from Ethan Rose, who thoroughly explores the network of pipes of a 1926 Wurlitzer Theater Organ. While Rose subjects the pipes to his computer and electronic processing, for the most part the emphasis remains firmly on musicality rather than material craftsmanship or sonic novelty. Structures in sound are what count for Rose, and he is careful to never overwhelm a track to kitschy effect. At times the music is weightless and pretty like a music box; at other points it has the more substantial presence of a sounding sculpture. He makes steady and relentless progress, moving with some ease between these two poles, naive tinkering turning into layering obsession and vice versa. In fact, the entire album comes across as a testimony to Rose's personal obsession with his instrument of choice, and the album is favorably effected as a result.

Titel Magazin (DE) - March 2009
Text by Benjamin Borgerding

Die meisten Musikinstrumente teilen ein grausames Schicksal: Im besten Fall werden sie von Musikern als Werkzeuge benutzt, im schlimmsten Fall schwer misshandelt. Wenn sie kaputt gehen, ist das nicht weiter schlimm, schliesslich kann man sich das gleiche Modell noch einmal neu kaufen. Von einem Instrument, das definitiv nicht derart austauschbar ist, handelt das neue Album von Ethan Rose. Jeder einzelne Sound auf diesem Album entstammt nämlich originär einer alten Kinoorgel aus den 1920-ern.

Ihr zu Ehren hat Rose das Album "Oaks" getauft, nach dem Standort der Orgel in Portland, Oregon. Für die Aufnahmen hat Rose das riesige Instrument mit vier Manualen, unzähligen Registern und eigenem Schlagwerk in einer Skaterhalle aufgesucht, in deren Rängen es seit 1955 über einer gebohnerten Bahn und den Pirouetten von Freizeitsportlern thront. Das beeindruckende Klangspektrum dieses Instruments, das einst Stummfilmen zu ihrem Soundtrack verhalf, wird von Rose allerdings nicht direkt genutzt, sondern zunächst durch elektronische Klangschleusen geführt. Auf Roses Homepage heisst es dementsprechend über seine Musik: "It is electronic in nature but maintains an organic quality because of his exclusive use of acoustic sound sources." Trotz elektronischer Verfremdung klingt "Oaks" tatsächlich bemerkenswert organisch, geradezu erdig. Nicht zuletzt die historische Klangquelle verleiht der Musik eine sakrale Note, eine dunstige Atmosphäre, die sich über das ganze Album streckt. Oaks besteht eigentlich nicht aus Songs, aus distinkten, voneinander abgrenzbaren Einheiten.

Die einzelnen Titel fordern vielmehr zu einem einzigen langen Hörerlebnis heraus. Mehr noch als die Orgel scheint dabei der grossräumige Aufnahmeort das Klangbild zu beeinflussen. Oaks fängt die eigentümliche Stimmung ein, die in dieser Form nur in grossen, leeren, hallenden Räumen – Kirchenschiffen, alten Messehallen oder eben Skaterhallen – entstehen kann. In einem solchen Raum bimmelt, raunt, piept, kloinkt und spielt die Orgel oder das, was nach der Manipulation von ihr übrig ist. Deswegen "handelt" das Album von der Orgel, die hier weniger als Werkzeug dient, sondern der gewissermassen eine eigene Klangschau gewidmet ist. Roses Musik zu hören ist so ähnlich wie Kiefernholz zu riechen: Es ist keine Musik, die unbedingte Aufmerksamkeit erheischt, die aber einen ganz spezifischen Raum für Assoziationen zuteilt.

Musique Machine (BE) - March 2009
Text by Roger Batty

I rather enjoyed the 2006 debut album Ceiling Songs by warming drone maker Ethan Rose; So I was rather looking forward to hearing this his third album. And I have to say Oaks certainly doesn't disappoint with Rose once more managing to sooth and comfort ones mind and spirit with melodic, often nostalgic and warming drone craft.

The eight tracks here are made purely with the sound source of an 1926 Wurlitzer Theatre organ which Rose gently manipulates and edits with electronics and computers- but makes sure that at all times he keeps the toasty, comfy, analogue and rich sound tone of the organ in place. The albums title comes from Oaks Skating Park in Oregon were the Wurlitzer now resides, with the instrument spending its earlier life accompanying silent films.

Not only did Rose use the organ tones he also helped repair it to its present glory, which is a nice footnote to the album and it's concept. Each of the eight tracks here dwell in slow moving harmonic tone unfolds and cosy organ riff's simmers, with each wisking one back into a nostalgic and eternal hopeful time. With Rose ever so often just nudging the tracks edger's and sides with modern tone simmer and drift - but never making it sound too modern or cold. As a whole the tracks brought to mind a mixture of the more hopeful the organ tone like tracks from Stars of The Lids - Tired sounds of... meets slower Boards of Canada like retro drift, but of course with Rose putting his own distinctive stamp on the proceedings.

All in all a very satisfying, warming and melodic drone/ambient record from Mr Rose; which seemingly invites you back again and again to sit and snuggle up to it's lush, slowly bobbing and warming tone unfold.

Tsugi (FR) - March 2009
Text by Laurent Guerel

Tsugi, March 2009

D-Side (FR) - March 2009
Text by Jean-François Micard

D-Side, March 2009

RifRaf (BE) - March 2009
Text by Fabrice Vanoverberg

Excerpt from a full-page article dedicated to Baskaru.
Click to read the complete article...

RifRaf, March 2009

O Dominio Dos Deuses (PT) - March 2009
Text by Pedro Portela

Há algo de incrivelmente romântico neste terceiro álbum de Ethan Rose! O que não deixa de ser estranho quando se verifica que "Oaks" se radica na escola do minimalismo electrónico, em que raramente se atinge um aconhego musical capaz de se revestir de romantismo.

A verdade é que o músico de Portland consegue reverenciar o passado, com um misto de admiração e nostalgia, envolvendo-o numa panóplia flutuante de promessas de felicidade utópica e em frágeis deambulações emocionais escapistas, como se estivesse interessado em compor a banda sonora original para a busca transcendental da felicidade.

O princípio construtor de "Oaks" está assente numa colecção de pequenos fragmentos sonoros retirados a um velho orgão Wurlitzer, cujo som característico serviu para acompanhar, em sala, os velhos filmes de cinema mudo. Estas partículas de musicalidade foram sendo recolhidos por Rose à medida que foi colaborando na reparação dessa relíquia, captado em sons pequenas memórias, cores e ambientes de outras eras. Com esse conjunto de timbres metálicos e de acordes sussurrados pelo movimento do ar nos tubos do orgão, o músico partiu para o desenho de experiências electroacústicas, processando a sua matéria prima de um modo terno e quente, que distanciam "Oaks" da electrónica texturada e da drone-music, e lhe conferem ambientes acolhedores de calma e de delicadeza no gesto.

Ethan Rose conseguiu, assim, criar um espaço musical próprio, que oscila em movimentos circulares semelhantes aos de uma roda gigante que, lentamete, permite disfrutar de vastas imagens panorâmicas e cuja mudança de enquadramento matiza progressivamente o leque de percepções sensoriais, que vagueiam entre a fragilidade e a calma, mas sempre com um acento tónico na beleza acústica, em que melodia e tempo se abraçam numa simbiose arrastada, mas brilhante e cristalina.

Goon (DE) - March 2009
Text by Sebastian Hinz

Ethan Rose hat eine sympathische Schwäche für veraltete Klangquellen. Insbesondere in selbstspielenden Musikautomaten liegen die musikalischen Ursprünge seiner im Nachhinein digital bearbeiteten Musiken. So entstand schon sein Debütalbum "Ceiling Songs", im Jahre 2006 bei Locust erschienen, aus dem Tonmaterial defekter Musikboxen, Aufnahmen alter Pianospuren und den fehlerhaften Apparaturen anhaftenden Zufälligkeit beim Kreieren von Klängen, sowie digitalen Störgeräuschen, die bei der späteren Produktion entstanden sind, beispielsweise wenn der Rechner abstürzte. Drei Stücke waren auf dem Debüt zu hören, insgesamt 40 Minuten, schlicht mit "Song One", "Song Two", "Song Three" betitelt. Diese abstrakte Unbestimmtheit entwickelte einen faszinierenden Sog. Aus winzigsten Kleinigkeiten heraus wurde hier eine grosse Welt eröffnet, aus stecknadelkopfgrossen Samen sprossen Wälder. Der Zuhörer als staunender Beobachte einer Explosion im Zeitraffer. Das neue Album "Oaks" verfolgt mit seinen acht vierminütigen Stücken dagegen schon in der Anordnung einen anderen Ansatz. Die Musik des dritten Albums von Ethan Rose – das zweite, "Spinning Pieces" (Locust, 2007) ist mir unbekannt – ist figürlicher als sein Vorgänger. Sämtliche hier verwendeten Sounds stammen von einer Klangquelle, genauer: einer Theaterorgel aus den 1920er Jahren, die im Oaks Park Roller Rink in des Künstlers Heimatstadt Portland, Oregon steht. Vom Konzept bis zur Umsetzung ist das Korsett der Stücke also ziemlich fest geschnürt. Mitunter fehlt ihnen dadurch die Luft zum atmen. War "Ceiling Songs" noch die neugierige Erkundung des Wechselspiels von Zufälligkeit und Ordnung, so blendet "Oaks" den Akt der Erkundung gänzlich aus. Mitunter kann diese blosse Ergebnispräsentation zu akademisch geraten. Doch in den besten Momenten zeigt Ethan Rose auch hier sein grosses Talent einer hochgradig komplexen Musik den Ballast zu nehmen und auf den Moment eines Geistesblitzes, eines schönen Gedanken, einer Erinnerung &sw. zu reduzieren. Nicht zuletzt wählte der amerikanische Regisseur Gus van Sant "Song One" von "Ceiling Songs" für eine Sequenz seinen wunderbaren Films "Paranoid Park" aus. Diese Naturgabe ist es, an der Ethan Rose weiter ansetzen sollte.

Rockerilla (IT) - March/April 2009
Text by Michele Casella

Rockerilla, March/April 2009

EARLabs (NL) - March 2009
Text by Sietse van Erve

With the love for old organs Ethan Rose presents a new album: Oaks. Delicate detailed ambient music.

Ethan Rose is for me a complete new name, although he has been working in the field electronic music doing scores for films, sound installations and much more. He shows a distinct interest in old sound sources like music boxes, carillons, player pianos and more. For his new release Oaks he had the opportunity to work with an old Wurlitzer Theater Organ from 1926. Well, after he helped restoring the instrument that is.

From the recordings Rose did with the organ we do not really hear the original sound back. With his computer he processes the sound delivering soft soundscapes. Although you never hear the original sound, the whole music breathes the 20's and 30's atmosphere. In the music there are similarities to the music of Fennesz and Oren Ambarchi, but it's all in a less noisy way. This is soft delicate ambient music with a playful twist. The music is build up with fine details which makes this album a pleasant listening.

With Oaks we hear nothing new under the ambient sun but Ethan Rose still has done a good job at doing so. Nice music for a sunny afternoon in Spring. (8.5/10)

Adverse Effect (UK) - March 2009
Text by Richard Johnson

Third album by this Portland, Oregon, soundsmith whose work during the past decade includes soundtracking films, its appearance in Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, a number of collaborations, and various sound installations. Here, he has employed a reconditioned Wurlitzer theatre organ to form the basis of his acousmatic explorations, resulting in a contemporary instrumental electronica approach whereby soft textures and unobtrusive tones are brushed with much attention to detail. Whilst pleasant and relaxing enough, it's a shame the Wurlitzer was reduced to the level of a mere sound source rather than being actually utilised more directly (in, say, the same way as Eric Cordier's Breizhiseled remained faithful to its own use of a 1960s reissue of a 78rpm record of traditional French music was). By reducing the sounds here to highly contemporary forms, the source has become irrelevant, and the idea itself has no substance beyond amounting to something reflecting a whim. Not a bad album in and of itself, although it doesn't exactly jut out of the sea of such music in any great way, but it could have been so much more.

De:Bug (DE) - March 2009
Text by ASB

De:Bug, March 2009

Leicester Bangs (UK) - February 2009
Text by Willsk

Baskaru is a French independent label that promotes music / sound, where the emphasis is on the electronic. Incorporating musique concrete, sonic exploration, acoustic / electric hybridisation and acous-matic sound, Baskaru limits it's output to a select few per year.

The story surrounding Ethan Rose's Oaks is as poetic as it's high art product. A 1926 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ that once accompanied silent films in Portland, Oregon was moved to the Oaks Park Roller Rink, where it has been ever since. Rose, whilst helping out with repairs and restoration, started to explore its possibilities, and reinterpreted its functions and potential within a modern electronic work. The Wurlitzer provides the source for the entire work; where each pipe, instrument and sound effect of the organ has been sampled, manipulated and reformulated with computers and electronics. The CD sleeve meticulously reveals each of these tones by way of short inventory, reiterating the obsessive focus of the project. Oaks' ethereal compositions continue the hereditary line, maintaining the essences of enjoyment, entertainment and majesty from the parental Wurlitzer through to it's futuristic, imaginary offspring.

Chain D.L.K. (US) - February 2009
Text by Andrea Ferraris

Baskaru keeps on putting out some heartfelt classy post-ambient music like in the case of american artist Ethan Rose. This guy has several releases out on japanese Locust music-Headz label and yes, the aesthetic nature of his compositions by some means reflects this japanese electronic influence, above all if you think to those electronic ambient artist from Japan dealing with soft ethereal music with some soft digital sounds, I think this may help you to identify the global sound of this work. "Oaks" is really relaxing and luminous, from what I can read in the inner notes Rose has adopted as a primary source a bunch of sounds coming out from a 1926 Wurlitzer organ and then manipulated it all with computer and electronics, if I wouldn't have read it inside the notes I doubt I would have ever recognized the primary source of sound. The music definition is great and despite the analog source the global sound has a digital aura, but yet warm and self assuring. In tracks like "the floor released" this cd reaches a great atmosphere by tying the knot between soft high pitched melodies and a warm bass framework. As I've been repeating from the beginning of the review this cd can be easily filed under ambient-electronic music and is not one of those work where the artist looks desperately for a strange or extraordinary revolutionary solution, it's a simple (but not simplicistic) release where Ethan Rose has embroided some delicious, relaxing and easy listening solutions. The production is good and the majority of the melodies strike deep inside where you heart aches, if that's still a good reason to put out and buy a cd here is a warm embrace to celebrate the spring that's approaching.

Boomkat (UK) - February 2009
Text by Boomkat

Following on from two releases on Chicago's Locust Music, Ethan Rose delivers his third album for Baskaru in Europe, Holocene in the US and the well-established Headz label in Japan. These eminently listenable electroacoustic experiments arrive after Rose recently found himself at a crossover moment, contributing to the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park. There is undoubtedly something very easy on the ear about Ethan Rose's work, distinguishing him from even the most commercially successful drone and electronic artists out there - even a big shot like Fennesz seems to be content in shifting towards more abstract terrain nowadays, Rose on the other hand is indebted to lightness, melody and easy-on-the-ear modulations. You might compare these pieces to something like Mountains' new album, Choral (in that in both cases electronics are used to draw the beauty out of relatively simple instrumental gestures), although there's an even greater emphasis on gentle, pastoral instrumental exchanges here, and the shorter tracks are much snappier in execution. Very nice indeed.

Spex (DE) - February 2009
Text by Raphael Smarzoch

Das Instrument, das Ethan Roses für seine Kompositionen verwendet, ist eine alte Wurlitzer Kinoorgel. Solche Orgeln wurden zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts eigentlich zur Begleitung von Stummfilmen eingesetzt. Mit der rasanten Entwicklung des Tonfilms geriet dieses imposante Instrument allerdings sehr schnell in Vergessenheit. Bereits auf den zwei vorhergehenden Alben zeigte sich Roses Interesse an der Wiederbelebung obskurer Klangerzeuger. Damals begeisterte er sich für Spieldosen und Pianolas. Deutlich wird, dass eines der zentralen Anliegen von Rose darin liegt, alte und fast schon vergessene Objekte wieder in Erinnerung zu rufen und ihre akustische Magie erneut zum Klingen zu bringen. Diesem nostalgischen Zug entspricht musikalisch die melancholische Anmutung seiner elektronischen Experimente. Man hört in ihnen die Sehnsucht nach vergangenen Zeiten.

Obwohl sich die Kinoorgel durch eine faszinierende Klangvielfalt auszeichnet, lässt Rose niemals ihren Originalton klingen, sondern einzig die elektronische Verfremdung. Vielleicht erkennt Rose das Potential dieses skurrilen Instruments nicht, das nicht nur ein Orchester inklusive Schlagwerk simulieren konnte, sondern auch eine umfangreiche Effektbank aufwies. Jedenfalls orientieren sich seine Kompositionen an einem klanglichen Repertoire, das bereits von vielen Elektronikern hinreichend ausgelotet wurde. Das gilt auch für die Idee einem alten Instrument durch diverse computergestützte Modulationsverfahren eine neue Klangästhetik zu vermitteln.

Vielleicht sollte man "Oaks" aber nicht unter innovativen Gesichtspunkten bewerten, denn Roses Absicht ist es gewiss nicht, die musikalischen Gesetzmässigkeiten der zeitgenössischen Elektronik auf den Kopf zu stellen. Problematisch bleibt allerdings die fehlende Eigenständigkeit, die sich durch alle Stücke zieht. "Scenes From When" erinnert stark an die Arbeiten von Taylor Deupree, während "The Floor Released" mit seinen feingliedrigen elektronischen Verzahnungen die Musik Oren Ambarchis in Erinnerung ruft. Kurzum, man hat alles schon einmal irgendwo anders hören können. Das muss nicht unbedingt zum ärgernis werden, denn "Oaks" ist ja doch ein sehr schönes Album geworden. Mehr aber eben auch nicht.

Tapage Nocturne / France-Musique (FR) - February 2009
Text by Eric Serva

Ceux d'entre-vous qui ont vu le film Paranoïd Park de Gus van Sant se souviennent peut être de la musique d'Ethan Rose qui illustrait l'errance de jeune skateurs dans l'univers mélancolique de Portland (Oregon). Ethan Rose est un musicien américain lui aussi basé à Portland, son univers musical est le résultat de son attrait pour trois choses : les technologies du passé, les sonorités nouvelles et la manipulation des formes d'ondes. Ces trois paramètres ont ainsi conditionné sa méthode de travail puisque, d'une manière générale, il n'utilise comme source sonore, que des enregistrements acoustiques et se sert ensuite d'outils numériques pour en façonner la forme finale. Une technique assez usuelle qui permet de conserver une certaine impression de chaleur et de douceur musicale. Mais le vrai talent d'Ethan Rose ne se réduit pas à un savoir technologique. Sa faculté à sélectionner et a cueillir les sons qu'il enregistre (ceux d'une vielle boîte à musique, d'un piano mécanique, d'un carillon ou d'un vieil orgue Wurlitzer) exprime à quel point l'artiste est une belle oreille, sensible et intuitive qui sait ensuite comment magnifier cette cueillette sonore grâce à de judicieuses et complexes manipulations numériques. Ce nouvel album réunit huit pièces musicales lumineuses desquelles semblent émaner une véritable une force vivante et sereine. Mais tout cela se révèle très vite comme le leurre d'une force hypnotique inévitable qui nous plonge lentement entre le réel et l'irréel, entre le bonheur et l'angoisse vers d'autres niveaux de perception. On se croirait dans un film de Gus van Sant et pour cause.

NONPOP (DE) - February 2009
Text by Michael We

ETHAN ROSE ist ein junger Künstler aus Portland (Oregon) mit einer Leidenschaft für alte Musikautomaten. Töne dieser mechanischen, selbstspielenden Instrumente bilden die Basis für seine bisherigen beiden Vollzeitalben "Ceiling Songs" (2006) und "Spinning Pieces" (2007, beide LOCUST MUSIC). Neu zusammengesetzt und am Rechner bearbeitet ergeben sie Ambient-Flächen von beeindruckender Schönheit, denn ROSE gelingt ein seltener Spagat: Er macht sowohl das historische, staubige Ambiente hörbar, welches die Automaten haben; ein Klang wie das Rasseln einer alten Lunge beim Erzählen von Geschichten. Er betont aber ebenfalls den modernen Aspekt. Die Bearbeitung durch den Computer legt sich wie eine neue, schützende und warme Decke über das Alte. "New Olden Days", sagt ETHAN dazu. Diese faszinierende Mischung führte dazu, dass sich in den vergangenen Jahren einige Filmemacher für seine sanfte Ambientmusik interessierten. Zunächst vertonte er verschiedene Kurzfilme befreundeter Regisseure aus Portland, ausserdem sind seine Klänge in "Paranoid Park" zu hören, dem hochgelobten Film von GUS VAN SANT aus dem Jahr 2007.
Klanginstallationen, die das Multitalent mit dem poetischen Nachnamen für Galerien entwirft und ausstellt, drehen sich ebenfalls um mechanische Instrumente. So etwa das "Player Piano", ein 82jähriges automatisches Klavier, das bei offenem Korpus mit Noten von einer manipulierten und sich fortwährend wiederholenden Papierrolle gefüttert wird. Musique concrète für Musikautomaten, sozusagen. Einige Videos von seinen Kunstwerken sind auf der Homepage von ETHAN ROSE zu sehen.

Die CD-Release-Party für "Oaks" feierte der US-Amerikaner vor wenigen Tagen auf einer Rollschuhbahn, dem "Oaks Park Roller Rink". Verwunderlich nur auf den ersten Blick, denn einige Meter über der Lauffläche prangt das Herzstück des dritten Albums von ETHAN: eine 'Mighty Wurlitzer'. (Bilder aktuell ? hier und historisch ? hier.) Das riesige Ungetüm aus dem Jahr 1926 stand ursprünglich im "Broadway Theater" in der Innenstadt von Portland und untermalte, ganz der ursprünglichen Funktion solcher Kinoorgeln entsprechend, mit seinen 1.242 Pfeifen Stummfilme. In den "Oaks Park" wanderte die 'Mighty' 1955, nach ihrer Ausmusterung, aus praktischen Gründen: Dort war genug Platz für das vierstöckige Instrument und seinen voluminösen Klang. In den vergangenen Jahren wurde die Wurlitzer-Orgel unter tatkräftiger Mithilfe von ETHAN ROSE liebevoll restauriert. Die meisten Tasten, Pfeifen und Effektregister konnten wieder hergestellt werden, wie auf "Oaks" zu entdecken ist.
Der erwartungsvolle Hörer sollte sich nun allerdings nicht auf eine Art Orgelkonzert einstellen. ETHAN hat – wie bei den Vorgängeralben auch – die Sounds gehörig bearbeitet und dabei Ambient in Superzeitlupe entstehen lassen. Dessen daunenweicher Klang erinnert an ein Rhodes Piano, das melancholische Musik zu einer Zeichentrickserie der 1970er spielt. "Oaks" ist wie ein blubbernder Topf Suppe an einem kalten Tag: Gleichmässig köchelt das wärmende Gebräu vor sich hin, man möchte die Hände danach ausstrecken, und ab und zu steigt geräuschvoll eine Blase nach oben. Man hört die Töne förmlich in den Orgelpfeifen auffliegen und, ganz oben angekommen, in den Himmel abheben. Dicke, dünne, schnelle, langsame, bunte, durchsichtige, aber immer durch ihren Charakter noch mit dem Instrument verbunden.
Vergleiche zu den musikalischen Strukturen einschlägiger Isländer kommen in den Sinn, SIGUR RóS natürlich oder HILDUR GUDNADOTTIR, die Ambient-Cellistin (NONPOP-Besprechung ? hier). Verträumt, introvertiert und freundlich ist der Klangteppich von ETHAN ROSE, zwischendurch versehen mit wie improvisiert wirkenden Zufallsmelodien. Manchmal fällt die Unterscheidung der einzelnen Passagen auf "Oaks" ein wenig schwer, zugegeben. Oder andersherum: Es schleichen sich ähnlichkeiten ein. Egal!! Hier zählt die gute Tat des Mannes aus Portland, das Sammeln, Bewahren und Strukturieren solcher klanglichen Einzigartigkeiten. Dieses historische Hör-Museum in zeitgemässem Gewand ist perfekt dafür geeignet, um nach einem anstrengenden Tag eine – was für ein modernes Wort – Sounddusche zu nehmen, in den Klängen der alten Wurlitzer zu baden und sie zu geniessen.

Loop (CL) - February 2009
Text by Guillermo Escudero

First time I heard Portland based sound artist Ethan Rose's music was on "Ceiling Songs" (Locust, 2006) where he used player piano, music boxes, and a variety of other instruments. He also member in the band called Small Sails combining music and film for the past few years.

In his music blends organic and synthetic sounds taken from various sources like musical boxes, string instruments and then rearranged them with computers to create larger soundworks.

For "Oaks" - third album to date Rose used an old Wurlitzer Theather Organ that he helped to repair and explore its tones, textures since this organ has a rich and varied palette of instruments, pipes and sound effects from gamba, vox humana, tuba horn, marimba, xylophone, snare drum and telephone bells among others.

"Oaks" are eight pieces of ambient of multi-layered sounds with submerged melodies and gorgeous soundscapes. In a few words fine and delicate.

ONDEFIXE (FR) - February 2009
Text by Benoît Richard

Remarqué par Gus Van Sant qui a notamment utilisé ses musiques pour illustrer certains passages de son film "Paranoïd Park", Ethan Rose est un musicien américain qui, pour son troisième album, a utilisé des samples d'un vieil orgue Wurlitzer qu'il a mélangé à des sonorités électroniques diverses ainsi qu'à des sons provenant de boites à musiques, de pianos mécaniques, de carillons.

Le résultat donne un album ambient assez uniforme qui laisse une grande place aux sonorités fines cristalline et aux ambiances cotonneuses. Même si tout ça est plutôt agréable à écouter, toutefois l'ennui et la somnolence ne sont jamais très loin et on regrettera peut-être un manque de variations, de dénivelé dans des compostions pourtant pleines de charme mais qui peine à s'exprimer véritablement. (6.5/10)

Textura (CA) - January 2009
Text by Ron Schepper

Though a relatively unassuming recording, Ethan Rose's Oaks sneaks up on you and turns out to be a rather satisfying release after all. The Portland, Oregon-based composer's second full-length, following upon 2006's Ceiling Songs, is a succinct, thirty-eight-minute collection of eight ambient electronic settings. Calling it electronic is a bit misleading, however, as the album's sole instrument is acoustic in nature: Rose sourced all of the recording's sounds from a 1926 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ (installed at the Oaks Park Roller Rink) which he then altered using computers and electronics. On the inner sleeve, he lists all of the organ's pipes, instruments, and sound effects, and the list is considerable - everything from sleigh bells and clarinet to saxophone and glockenspiel - so one shouldn't presume, in other words, that Oaks' range of sounds is limited simply because they're products of a single instrument. Despite its "electronic" dimension and the occasionally glitchy character that pervades some songs, the album's melodious vignettes exude a natural and organic quality too.

Complementing Oaks' rich sonic palette and mellow ambiance is the yearning character the material exudes. Most of the pieces are of a lulling and peaceful kind, and the album quickly turns into a relaxant in the best sense of the word. Nature sounds (water, bird chirps, boat whistle) make "Rising Waters" feel like the most tranquil day ever spent drifting down the river while the chiming "Mighty Mighty" glistens as brightly as a glass orchestra. In addition, "Scenes From When" focuses on the wheeze of accordion-like tones, with the music exhaling in a manner suggestive of someone sleeping, and "Bottom" builds shimmering layers of tinkles into music box-like formations. Oaks is a true "headphones listen" as the music's layers of tiny details - glistening meander, percussive flourishes, and melodies that ebb and flow - declare themselves most vividly when experienced as intimately as possible.

The Sound Projector (UK) - January 2009
Text by Ed Pinsent

Ethan Rose has sampled an old Wurlitzer Organ for Oaks (BASKARU KARU:14), and manages to extend this single idea across eight slow-moving and quite charmingly beautiful creations. The organ is of the sort that used to appear at skating rinks, as confirmed by the very nostalgic cover art, and the whole of Oaks is suffused with the same wistful longing for departed times. The artist feels compelled to provide an inventory of all the pipes and sound effects found on the original instrument, but their distinctive voices have all melted into one pool of richly-burnished dronery. Aye, it's a slightly process-heavy work, and there are moments where the phase effect threatens to win out, but Oaks remains a success.

WHITE_LINE (UK) - January 2009
Text by Baz Nichols

This is one of a tryptich of works just about to be released by Baskaru, and Ethan Rose, in the esteemed company of English/Lopez, and the Symbiosis Orchestra, presents something of a minor masterpiece in the form of "Oaks". In my initial notes and musings on this album, I scribbled the words "dodgy cover", and from there on the criticism ends, as Rose has turned in one of the most beautiful and engaging minimal works of recent years.

Based on field recordings taken from a vintage 1926 Wurlitzer Theater Organ situated at Oaks Amusement Park, Rose captured this remarkable instrument's pre-sets and then subjected them to further agitation and treatments via his computer. The net result is a series of works that have a distinctly transcendent feel... delicate filigree shapes, ethereal vortices of sound, the organ's original sounds being teased and coaxed into the new millenium via Rose's deft hand. From the expansive opening tones of "On Wheels Rotating", I was captivated by the sheer thrill of these fragile, heartbreakingly sweet fragments, drenched in reverb, and lush tonality. As a complete collection, Oaks takes us on a journey that encompasses straight down the line organ washes, combined with shavings of various timbres and organic incidents – splinters and speckles of the source instrument occasionally shimmer in the background, but Rose has seemingly effortlessly translated the strains of an aging machine, and mades them something very personal and captivating. Further high points for me would be the enchanting "The Floor Released", and "Scenes From When", that sounds as if it were commissioned for a 12k release – I can make no higher recommendation than that. Baskaru as a label, has firmly positioned itself in the public consciousness with three very fine releases indeed, and Oaks is the perfect entry point for the work of a composer who will undoubtedly achieve wider recognition. Your life just won't be complete without this... essential.

Global Techno (FR) - January 2009
Text by Jean-Yves Leloup

About Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park and its soundtrack, and the new album from Ethan Rose...


Enfin, il est d'autres moments plus touchants encore, qui, entre expérimentation et mélodies, viennent rythmer le film. Les séquences d'écriture où Alex se confie à son journal intime sont ainsi baignées par les complexes petites architectures sonores d'Ethan Rose qui, cinquante ans après, ne sont pas évoquer les harmonies de Nino Rota, en version plus numérique. Ce jeune musicien de Portland (Van Sant est décidément très fidèle aux artistes de sa ville), recycle et transfigure en effet à l'aide de l'ordinateur et de logiciels dernier cri, des sons cristallins de boîte à musique. Ces sons typiques de ce que l'on nomme l'électronica, naviguant entre l'univers familier de l'enfance et une certaine forme de futurisme, jouent encore une fois un rôle capital dans l'impact émotionnel du film.

En ce début 2009, Ethan Rose est d'ailleurs l'auteur d'un nouvel album réussi, typique de cet école gracile de l'électronica, entre enfantillage numérique et nostalgie nébuleuse, édité sur le tout jeune label français, Baskaru. Une manière comme une autre de prolonger en format CD, les climats rêveurs et hypnotiques du cinéaste américain.

KindaMuzik (NL) - January 2009
Text by Hans van der Linden

Naast maker van geluidsinstallaties en soundtracks, zoals bijvoorbeeld voor Gus Van Sants Paranoid Park, is Ethan Rose ook muzikant. Rose is op zoek naar nieuwe vormen van geluid en gaat daarbij met een uiteenlopende waaier aan sonische ingrediënten aan de slag.

Op Oaks, zijn derde release, is de elektro-akoestische geluidskunstenaar zoals voorheen in de weer met subtiele geluiden. Net zoals geestesgenoten Fennesz en Oren Ambarchi werkt hij muzikale texturen zodanig uit dat ze zich op een ongedwongen manier en organisch ontwikkelen en zo een eigen leven beginnen te leiden.

Rose's specifieke invulling van ambient is eenvoudig, maar vluchtig kan je het allerminst noemen. Warme en positieve geluiden maken de luistertocht een bijzonder aangename ervaring. Het is dan ook deze frivoliteit die als een rode draad door de acht muzikale composities op Oaks heen loopt, waardoor Rose zich toch duidelijk onderscheidt van de kunsten van IJslandse minimalisten zoals Jóhann Jóhannsson, al zijn er op het vlak van sereniteit zeker gelijkenissen te vinden.

Quiet Noise (AT) - January 2009
Text by Tobias Bolt

Ethan Rose hat mit seinen beiden Vorgängeralben "Ceiling Songs" und "Spinning Pieces" bereits ein reges Interesse an antiquierten Klangerzeugern durchblicken lassen, welche ihn jeweils mit Ausgangsmaterial zur computerunterstützten Konstruktion einiger schwer idyllischer Klanglandschaften versorgten. Auch auf vorliegender Veröffentlichung stammen alle ursprünglichen Klänge von einem Wurlitzer Theater Organ aus dem Jahre 1926, das im Oaks Park Eisring in Portland aufgestellt ist – daher auch der Titel. "Oaks" kann also durchaus als Versuch der Rekonstruktion eines Stücks kollektiver (Klang) vergangenheit, per zeitgemässer Technik in einen aktuellen Kontext überführt, gehört werden.

Dem im vergangenen Herbst erschienenen Album von Labelmate Michael Santos nicht unähnlich, schimmert ganz selbstverständlich eine nostalgische Aura durch die ambienten Soundschwaden, deren Patina sich im digitalen Treatment der acht detailverliebten Stücke elegant zu behaupten weiss. Dieses ist dann auch grundsätzlich eher milde ausgefallen, was der unmittelbar denkbaren Versenkung zwischen den fragil funkelnden Oberflächen und wohlig geerdeten Bassdrones durchaus zugute kommt. Darüber hinaus, bei aller Zugänglichkeit, hält "Oaks" zugleich im Hinblick auf Komplexität und Dichte einiges an Potential bereit, was, speziell bei einer Spieldauer von lediglich knapp vierzig Minuten, an kaltgrauen Winternachmittagen zu wiederholten Hördurchläufen anregt. Ein gnadenlos schönes Album.

Vital Weekly (NL) - January 2009
Text by Frans de Waard

It must be Ethan Rose's connection through Gus van Zant, who used his music in his latest picture Paranoid Park, that his 'Oaks' CD is released in Japan on Headz, in the USA on Holocene and in Europe on Baskaru. If I understood well, Rose had access to a Wurlitzer Theater Organ from 1926, which he 'then altered with computers and electronics to create the pieces on this album'. Such an organ has many sounds, listed on the cover. In a way its a bit like the Mace album, but with some important differences. For instance, its half the length of the Mace album and although it is based on something old, its not that obvious as on the Mace album. Rose uses the sounds from the organ in a more warm glitchy manner to create music that is great, if not really special. Very much along the lines of say Stephan Mathieu, Rose uses the melancholiac tone of the organ to create sustained, warm ambient patterns. But I think he does a pretty fine job here. Very much along the lines of Mathieu and Ambarchi, this is cinematopgraphic music.

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