Review: Eric Angelo Bessel ‘Visitation’

Over the last couple of years, on my adventures with The Sleeping Shaman, one of the entities I have had the joy of discovering is Lore City. The duo, Laura Mariposa Williams, and Eric Angelo Bessel have released some of the most wonderous and charming music to be gracing my ears, and I’ve had the privilege of reviewing the last couple of releases, with the album Participation Mystique being one of my top albums of 2021.

Eric Angelo Bessel 'Visitation'
Eric Angelo Bessel ‘Visitation’ Artwork

So, based on this, when the opportunity to again step into the world of Eric Angelo Bessel arose, it was too good an opportunity to miss. Thankfully El Sleeping Shaman put his faith in me, and here we are.

This time it’s different. This time it’s a solo outing and what’s on offer is a real glimpse into the world of Bessel focusing on a sparser, stripped-back version of the magic, where simpler concepts roll through. Admittedly, for what sounds like simplicity, its obvious that a lot of love, and deeper concepts have been laid down, to construct an opus which is both as intensely interesting, as it is scarce, is huge towering blasts of noise.

Over the course of the eight tracks, a sublimely soulful display is laid out, and what’s revealed is a sonic ambience, which is incredibly hard to pigeonhole into any specific genre. This is what Bessel is a master of, taking even the simplest of ideas, and transforming it into something truly otherworldly.

Opening with Sunken Prism, it’s hard to even decipher any real sound, unless you are prepared to fully immerse yourself into the work. Even within the seemingly sparse sound, there’s still a sense of closeness which feels incredibly pensive. A Tap On The Shoulder follows this minimalist drone, it’s powerfully serene, and its ambience really strips things back to an almost nothingness.

The ebb and flow, the changing of the tides, and the sense of weightlessness is captured wonderfully in a musical landscape…

After Hoax, which again just compacts this whole tone even more, Secret Lake rolls in with a more upbeat vibe. It’s darker but has a vibrance which pulls away from the previous three tracks. There is an air of ethereal, a somewhat religious feel to it, but not in an overpowering way. It’s there but is suitably muted.

It’s So Far Away drops back to a more introverted ambience, where the same sense and feel as the opening three tracks is back in the mix, but by far the most peculiar, eerie-sounding offering is up next with Less Red. Reminding me of old ’70s music boxes, or even the vibes on those creepy ‘70s kids television shows, although I put this down to my childhood and it may be completely irrelevant outside of my world, but hopefully, it will resonate with some of you

The closing two tracks, Highest Invoking, and Kindly Rewind, both hit with an air of cinematic soundscape, and both would be equally at home on a mystery movie score. The former is darker in tone, while the latter is creepier, with a close and uncomfortable feel. Dark and mysterious, both will give impressions of European thriller television series connotations, and I can’t tell if the title of the final track, Kindly Rewind, is an order, or an invitation to start the album over again.

Coming away from the album, I am struck by an interesting little connection between this solo project and the previous Lore City EP Under Way. The overriding feeling I get is there’s a very real concept of trying to sonically capture the feeling of water flowing. The ebb and flow, the changing of the tides, and the sense of weightlessness is captured wonderfully in a musical landscape.

As sparse as it is, it is still warm, and light, and is a credit to Bessel that he is able to capture these moments and give to us something which will live on forever, for what is usually a very fleeting feeling.

Label: Lore City Music
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Lee Beamish