CD Review: Eugene
Genre: Organic, Electronic, Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: Dec. 4, 2014
Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis and Randy Radic
Somewhere in Brooklyn there's an "experimental electronic artist" who goes by the singular name of "goste." As far as I can tell, the term means "to like" in Portuguese and "ghost" in Old Middle English. Goste's -- he does not capitalize his pseudonym -- real name is Owen Ross and he is a product of Berklee College of Music. His bio advertises his musical genre as: organic, electronic, singer/songwriter.
According to the Urban dictionary, Organic music means: "Music that deals with natural, percussion, acoustic based instruments. Musicians involved in organic music resonate positive vibes in their music." I enjoyed listening to goste's latest EP, called Eugene. Eugene has six tracks: "Volcanoes (Slow Fade)", "Loadedlikepistol", "Hold On / Let Go", "Omar's Ghost", "Won't Be Long" and "Single File."
My favorite track on Eugene is "Loadedlikeapistol", which, frankly, I didn't expect to like, since I don't consider myself a fan of "experimental electronic" music. I find the adjective "experimental" usually equates to music for crash-test-dummies, i.e. cacophonic junk music or more bluntly -- noise. Thus, "Loadedlikeapistol" was a pleasant surprise, probably because the music, along with the lyrics produced an integral unit. In other words, it doesn't sound like a computerized composition, tinny and fake. Goste's voice is the integrating element: rough, expressive and distinctive enough to stand out from all the other wannabes.
The Wah-Wah pedal utilized in "Loadedlikeagun" is nicely done. And since goste is listed as the guitarist, kudos to him for excellent musicianship. Other musicians on Eugene are Bryan Percival on bass; Chris Holdridge on drums; and Megan Lui and Tamsin Wilson, background vocals. Holdridge's drumming deserves special mention: he keeps it simple, spare and powerful.
The way it should be.
"Hold On / Let Go", which is the third track on the EP, starts off with mega electronica effects, what one reviewer called "reverse tracking and shimmering synth pads," whatever those are. As previously mentioned, this kind of thing ordinarily causes my ears to twitch and my eyes to glaze over, but here it's passable. To me, "Hold On / Let Go" is two songs merged into one. And it works. The "holding on" portion is softer and harmonious, while the "letting go" portion bubbles with intensity.
The only track on the EP that grated aesthetically for me is "Single File", which sounds like a lame rip-off of 1970s hallucinogenic rock and roll or Emerson Lake and Palmer gone bad.
This is goste's third EP. And it's certainly worth picking up. With his unique voice and talent for writing interesting songs, goste appears to have a bright future as a recording artist.