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THE ARK OF MUSIC - Album Review - November 1st, 2017

Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought by Eric Leonhardt Brown

 

Dayton, Ohio’s Eric Leonhardt Brown is a singer, songwriter, poet, and producer who—with three decades as a musician under his belt—has been creating music for the majority of his life. As a young boy, he would sing with his mom at church, and bury himself in his parents’ record collection, naming Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as a “formative” experience. (A good sign for you and me.)

A few years later, in high school, Eric formed his first rock band, Nude Canoe, who would go on to experience much local success, including 3 studio albums. Then, throughout the 90’s, he wrote, recorded, and performed with various acts, and released several volumes of poetry.

As time passed, other projects included: 2005’s Simply Beautiful, and 2016’s Inversion—an epic multi-genre project that arguably set the stage for Brown’s latest release, 2017’s Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought, an album which Eric himself describes as, “a conceptual interface about a character, Spooky Gladstone, and his personal struggles to maintain his humanity in an increasingly detached and digitized world.” The mammoth 33-track project is a fine example of the craft of independent music-making, the expression of free thought, and art made without monetary aforethought.

 

“Stumbling in the morning

Now my legs don’t move anymore

My eyes only see what I believe

And the waves come crashing in…”

 

—Eric Leonhardt Brown, Sidewalkwarriors

 

Here’s what we dug most…

The album opens with a 40-second spoken piece, Itsownreality…

 

“I feel very frazzled, disconnected and flustered. When I want it, I think, oh my god, everybody in this world is rich and successful and beautiful …accept me! What am I doing with my life? (laugh) It’s its own reality. But I think that’s it. It’s its own reality, and I can’t …I can’t handle it very well.”

 

The satirical word-play, tempo changes, sax, and production of Narcissus (Spooky Gladstone Was Here) make it immediately Floyd-ian.

Commentary on our culture’s increasing trend toward an ultra-superficial reality continues on ;pretty)

 

“When we make lots of money

We’ll buy everything we want

We’ll go viral

Our faces trending”

 

The alt-trip-hop number, **catharsis**, could be telling the tale of random thought sequences that occur during a young millennial’s revolution in consciousness. Stick around for the Gorillaz-esque beat that drops at 2:33.

With a techy Leonard Cohen-vibe, #Arcticcircles, creates what feels like a sonic interpretation of the collision that occurs between one’s commercialized concept of death—and one’s intuitive knowing of the immortality of consciousness.

Statements and ideas on consciousness aside, {{Gigabytes-Dreaming-in-Futile-Shades-of-Amber}} has a funky, jazzy flow. Plus, the keys riff in the last 10 seconds is super cool.

 

“I’m not afraid of dying. I think I’m afraid of having to suffer to die.”

 

—Eric Leonhardt Brown, …canihelpu?

 

Our Favorite Track:

If you can imagine the mixing a Bee Gees track with a Pink Floyd track, the end result might sound a bit like, At-Govt.sat., a funky shot at big-brother with a pleasingly nasty guitar solo that spans the track’s entire second half.

Hey, who doesn’t like a little sarcasm thrown into a grimy rock riff? Check out, #Avatar.

Possibly the most “conventionally” arranged track on the album, ^^whenspookywastrending^^ sounds like a collaboration with Beck and NIN. 

The album begins to take a noticeably more hopeful turn on, S.P.O.T., whose rhythm track reminds me of 1995’s Beautiful by the Smashing Pumpkins. The song is a curious, rhythmic composition with an enlightened edge…

 

“We see at night

A world lit up

By candlelight

Sacred prisoners of thought

We are all

Sacred prisoners of thought”

 

A refreshing, minimalist, instrumental, Valhallaallahlav, sounds like something off the Braveheart soundtrack.

Opennepo’s electro-pop-infused melody and abstract, hopeful encouragement, send the album home…

 

“Open your mind

To the possibilities

Open your heart 

To the love that will set you free

Open your eyes

To this beauty”

Using satirical irony, as well as veteran musicianship and production, Eric Leonhardt Brown’s Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought offers strong commentary on society’s ultra-fragmented, neo/tech-based style of communication; which seems to have—at least in part—created an arrested development in how our species learns to not only communicate, but also:  relate to one-another, perceive and express empathy, and interpret and relate to reality in general.

The album, as a whole, is a matrix-like, sonic-dream-sequence, shedding light on a reality where the comically unimportant has somehow become important—and the wildly irrelevant has become paramount. What it boils down to, is that this album is not made only for the sake of the music; there’s more—much more. And, at the end of the day, its meaning will depend not only on who you are, but also how you see your life.

Whose lovechild…?
A spattering of influences, which include elements of Pink Floyd, Gorillaz, Beck, NIN, and more…

 

MUSIC

CHECK OUT ERIC LEONHARDT BROWN’S PSYCHEDELIC TRACK (INCORRECTPASSWORD)

Posted on 26th October 2017

The word psychedelia means a lot of things to a lot of people. Some find the subtle swoosh of a well-tuned flanger to be enough to make them see colors. Some require layers of dissonant chanting, calls and response vocals, a guitar melody that would do well on its own pushed to the back of the mix, some classy strings placed in just such a way in song structure to cause further disorientation and maybe some of that flanger modulation while we’re at it. The latter type may rejoice in their new anthem, (Incorrectpassword) by Eric Leonhardt Brown.

Appropriately, a song that will make your senses fizz like the proverbial egg representing your brain on drugs starts with two words that you wouldn’t find in your old sixties vinyl’s, “trigger warning.” This is probably the only element of the song other than the title that proves it isn’t from another time. It’s very welcome to hear some warm, psychedelic recordings that absolutely embrace the ways of old without being cheap knockoffs of their better inspirations. If you ever wanted to get into a scene that didn’t age well, find those who carry the torch forward. Find Eric Leonhardt Brown and enjoy the trippy goodness.

-Paul Weyer, A&R Factory

Dayton musician Eric Leonhardt Brown returned to Excursions to talk with WYSO Music Director Niki Dakota about his new album, Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought. (click on image above to hear the interview)

Dayton musician Eric Leonhardt Brown returned to Excursions to talk with WYSO Music Director Niki Dakota about his new album, Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought. (click on image above to hear the interview)

Eric Leonhardt Brown to release new album on September 19th.

The past few years have been very busy for Dayton-born musician Eric Leonhardt Brown. After releasing his first album in over eleven years, INVERSION, last August, Eric decided to keep composing new songs with the intention of recording another project somewhere down the road. "I didn't want to drop the ball on my creative self anymore and to keep a strong discipline of songwriting on a daily basis. I wasn't really prepared for where that was going to take me, honestly!". Where it led was to a new album project with over 30 songs in the mix. 
Eric decided to ask INVERSION producers John Paul Davis and MS Borders to join on the project and they eventually pared the songs down to 24 tracks. "I wrote a concept album with a main character as the singer/narrator, which is something I've never done before", says Brown, "and now I had 24 songs that wove the storyline together and we started realizing that what we were attempting was pretty damn ambitious in scope and size, a 24 track concept album!”
The album, titled Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought, is set in the not too distant future where society is living in a detached and digitized world where human interactions have been dumbed down to interacting solely via social media. The main character, Spooky Gladstone, shares his world with us through these 24 songs and his personal struggles to retain his own humanity as he lives in a screen-centric culture where communication is shallow, summed up in tweets, and lacks empathy or depth of feeling.
Eric teamed up with film producer Elias Kelley to make a music video for the album’s first single, ;pretty). Several Dayton artists were involved in the video, including choreographer John Fleming, fashion designer Misti Leigh of iiiDesigns and graphic artist Cheryl Durgans who made 20 unique and original masks worn by the actors. The video was shot in Dayton’s historic Oregon District and can be watched on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qfHF5UzFqbA
The songs on Climbing Mountains vary in content and genre, blending rock, jazz and electronic music with wildly original results. Several Dayton musicians play on the album including jazz pianist Brian Cashwell, bassist Christian Berg, sax players Hal Melia and Michael Bisig, singer Felicia Jefferson, drummer Joe Tritschler as well as experimental electronic musician John Paul Davis, and Eric's longtime collaborator, guitarist Matt Borders. "I've been making music with Matt for over 30 years, he's an amazing musician who has a great musical mind and we work together so flawlessly that I can't imagine making an album without him!" The album was recorded at Sound Space Studios in Yellow Springs and was engineered, mixed and mastered by Chris Hertzler.
Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought will be released on September 19th.

Eric Leonhardt Brown to release new album on September 19th.

The past few years have been very busy for Dayton-born musician Eric Leonhardt Brown. After releasing his first album in over eleven years, INVERSION, last August, Eric decided to keep composing new songs with the intention of recording another project somewhere down the road. "I didn't want to drop the ball on my creative self anymore and to keep a strong discipline of songwriting on a daily basis. I wasn't really prepared for where that was going to take me, honestly!". Where it led was to a new album project with over 30 songs in the mix.  Eric decided to ask INVERSION producers John Paul Davis and MS Borders to join on the project and they eventually pared the songs down to 24 tracks. "I wrote a concept album with a main character as the singer/narrator, which is something I've never done before", says Brown, "and now I had 24 songs that wove the storyline together and we started realizing that what we were attempting was pretty damn ambitious in scope and size, a 24 track concept album!” The album, titled Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought, is set in the not too distant future where society is living in a detached and digitized world where human interactions have been dumbed down to interacting solely via social media. The main character, Spooky Gladstone, shares his world with us through these 24 songs and his personal struggles to retain his own humanity as he lives in a screen-centric culture where communication is shallow, summed up in tweets, and lacks empathy or depth of feeling. Eric teamed up with film producer Elias Kelley to make a music video for the album’s first single, ;pretty). Several Dayton artists were involved in the video, including choreographer John Fleming, fashion designer Misti Leigh of iiiDesigns and graphic artist Cheryl Durgans who made 20 unique and original masks worn by the actors. The video was shot in Dayton’s historic Oregon District and can be watched on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qfHF5UzFqbA The songs on Climbing Mountains vary in content and genre, blending rock, jazz and electronic music with wildly original results. Several Dayton musicians play on the album including jazz pianist Brian Cashwell, bassist Christian Berg, sax players Hal Melia and Michael Bisig, singer Felicia Jefferson, drummer Joe Tritschler as well as experimental electronic musician John Paul Davis, and Eric's longtime collaborator, guitarist Matt Borders. "I've been making music with Matt for over 30 years, he's an amazing musician who has a great musical mind and we work together so flawlessly that I can't imagine making an album without him!" The album was recorded at Sound Space Studios in Yellow Springs and was engineered, mixed and mastered by Chris Hertzler. Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought will be released on September 19th.

Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought.

Climbing Mountains Across The Shoreline Of Your Thought.

Everything I am musically, artistically and in many ways as a person, was gestated in the magic of Nude Canoe. We were four small town high school kids who decided to be a rock band and in the process made some very interesting art and a lot of great friendships and memories.
The Mohair Jacket Safari album, originally released in 1990, was in many ways the pinnacle of that magic. So happy to have it remastered and available for old and new ears. Thanks to MS Borders for the focus and diligence on seeing this project into fruition.

Everything I am musically, artistically and in many ways as a person, was gestated in the magic of Nude Canoe. We were four small town high school kids who decided to be a rock band and in the process made some very interesting art and a lot of great friendships and memories. The Mohair Jacket Safari album, originally released in 1990, was in many ways the pinnacle of that magic. So happy to have it remastered and available for old and new ears. Thanks to MS Borders for the focus and diligence on seeing this project into fruition.

Omega

Big Week Ahead! 

This is a big week for the INVERSION project! Several studio sessions booked, the first video for the album will be shot for the song BLOOD, and we are days away from the launching of the PledgeMusic campaign!!!💪🏻🏄🎤🎬

Comrades In Sound 

As we make this journey together watching the INVERSION project bloom, I wanted to say a little something about the 2 men I consider my right and left hands, artists of great talent, quality human beings and my comrades in sound; Matthew Shane Borders and John Paul Davis.
I have know Matt since 2nd grade! We have been longtime friends and formed our first band together in high school. We have collaborated on many musical adventures and we speak the same musical language. Matt is a consultant on this project and will be playing guitar on several tunes, as well as adding some vocals.
John resides in New York City and we have been friends for over a decade. We started Hipgnosis Records together in 2007 and have worked on many artistic endeavors together over the years. John is the executive producer for the INVERSION album and is involved in nearly all facets of the project.
I could not be more honored and blessed to have these great men working with me on INVERSION, the overall artistic integrity and quality of the album will soar just from their involvement!
THANK YOU!

Previous events

INVERSION album release (US)

Eric's new album, INVERSION, will be released in the United States.

Local Musician's Rebirth is Just the Beginning.

Jim Ingram, Staff Writer 
Dayton Daily News
Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Inspiration comes at the strangest times. In Eric Leonhardt Brown’s case, it came 11 years after his last release — a jazz album.

“(It) was a lot of fun. I had never done a strictly jazz album before,” the Yellow Springs-based artist says.

But then it all stopped.

After cutting his teeth in the 90s, playing in local bands and solo projects, he disappeared from stages and recording studios following the birth of his first child. And he stayed gone.

“I think everyone in my life has been curiously wondering why I stopped making music. There’s the literal being busy with kids thing. But it was more than that; something psychological, too. Something inside of me, creatively, just stopped,” Brown says.

This wouldn’t be the first time having to be a responsible parent has taken precedence in a musician’s life. However, at a point where many tuck away the guitars or sell the drum set, Brown became inspired while looking back on his life.

“Last year was a challenging year for me. It wasn’t anything that was happening to me necessarily. It was just all inside stuff. For lack of a better cultural phrase — that midlife crisis moment kind of settled in. But I think it’s a little deeper than that for me,” he explains.

“I’m at this crossroads; (a) life-changing moment. The thing that called to me again was music. So that’s how this project started.”

So Brown began staying up late writing poetry and song ideas as fast as they came to him, expressing everything he’d been feeling over the previous year and a half. As he reflected, Brown didn’t like what he saw. He felt he had neglected and mismanaged past relationships.

As the songs started to come together, he began to see a theme that would eventually become his first album in more than a decade, Inversion—a genre-stepping collection of songs formed in the style of Greek tragedy. Brown was influenced by the works of American mythologist Joseph Campbell and the concept of a “hero’s journey”-- where the protagonist must metaphorically die to recover what they are missing. Inversion, available online and in local music stores Aug. 30, loosely documents Brown’s own journey while taking the listener along for the ride.

“I believe in the album process. A lot of people don’t really honor that art form as much, but I most certainly do,” Brown asserts.

The album’s first track, “Katabasis”— the Greek word describing a descent— starts the hero’s journey, mixing piano and acoustic guitar with a slick pop beat. Over the course of 13 tracks, Brown uses elements of soul, rhythm and blues, trip hop, jazz, rock, world beat and anything else that came to him and his collaborators at the time.

“I wanted to be wide open for the creation process. Whatever comes to mind, let’s play with it and see what happens,” he says.

“It’s one thing to write songs and have demos. Then the moment you involve other musicians, the songs kind of morph and shift a little bit. This album is called Inversion for a reason. You have an experience, and that is inverted, and you’re kind of experiencing it differently.”

“Shimmering” is a well-crafted song drawing on the hopelessness of feeling lost and aimless, using piano and vocal harmonies to make the emotion swell to a fever pitch, before ending on an optimistic note.

Perhaps the most personal track on the album, “Apologia”, is Brown’s apology to those he’s wronged in the past. So personal, in fact, that while recording the vocals for the song, his voice began to crack as he became overwhelmed with emotion. That’s the take everyone agreed should make it on the album and can absolutely be heard.

The video for Inversion’s first single, “Blood,” shot in Yellow Springs at Glen Helen Nature Preserve, was produced using an iPhone and a film crew from Wilberforce University.

The album closes with the title track, signifying the resurrection of the character. But that doesn’t mean Brown’s journey is done. In fact, he says he has a lot more music to release, and promises the next release won’t be another decade in the making.

“I think what’s interesting is that it’s an ongoing process,” he says.

”Just because I completed the album doesn’t complete my own personal process. I’m still on that journey. I think what Campbell would say is that’s kind of the story of your life. You’re going through this cycle of that journey at different points as you grow.”

Bresnan pic
Cover

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