Danbury Experimental Reviews

On Repeat: Eddie Jowels’ Debut Record Terraforms and Transforms

Eddie Jowels - Self-Titled (2018)
Eddie Jowels – Self-Titled (2018)
By Dylan Healy – Contributing Editor

Solitude in nature often results in introspection, healing, and peace of mind. For Bethel, CT’s Eddie Jowels, what manifests is a colossal effort in experimental rock. His recently released self-titled debut is both gritty and spacey, and was almost entirely written and recorded in a treehouse. Yep, a treehouse.

There is something deceiving about the album opener, “The Leaves Were Chattering”. Jowels almost has a Sinatra vibe to his voice, as if big band is about to saunter in. Instead, he trails back into a thought bubble before bursting into the cavernous “It’s Just What I Think”, which features stunning hi-fi synth arrangements and tightly steered meter changes.

For the past year, Eddie Jowels has been the artist-in-residence at The Root, a tree house community in upstate NY. A haven for writing, recording and living, The Root is “a destination where people come to be creative and curious, a hands-on classroom for environmentally focused and sustainable infrastructure, housing, and resource cultivation,” according to its site. This is where Jowels worked on the majority of his self-titled record, and it shows; the synthesis of natural (and possibly supernatural) found sounds mixed with micro-industrial, electronic clicks and clanks gives The Postal Service a run for their money. The digital soundscape in the latter third of “It’s Just What I Think” is nothing short of musical reverie, blissful wanderlust.

It’s difficult to genre-fy something so fluid. This record seamlessly glides between mean jazz and electronic-rock with an array of sound collages and confident math-rock sensibilities. On the record’s centerpiece “Blue Giant”, Jowels terraforms a planet on which BADBADNOTGOOD, Captain Beefheart, Tuung, and Alt-J roam. The palette of textures on this record feels like it was forged from minerals off space debris that crash landed in The Root.

Ahead of the record release, Jowels shared a gorgeous piece of collage-rock, “Fly Far”, as well as a music video for album-track “Shit of My Life”.

Listen to Eddie Jowels self-titled debut below: