Published Nov 17, 2020Badge Époque Ensemble's Self Help is a mystifying journey to a safe space of tranquility — an overwhelming sense of comfort that can be felt through the band's exploration of different textures and structures.
In its entirety, Self Help is a breath of fresh air. This album isn't just casual background music; each song drifts off into a different direction, exhibiting a distinctive and unique tone. The album emerges with feel-good, upbeat tracks and gradually slows down into a soothing, laid-back place.
"Sing a Silent Gospel" and "Just Space for Light" feature guest vocals (Meg Remy of U.S. Girls and Dorothea Paas on the former, Jennifer Castle on the latter). While not overpowering, there is a clear difference in the atmosphere — a form of self-expression or freedom, almost as if a door has been opened. Being able to find a free-flowing format like this is a momentous achievement.
One of the most unique moments on the album is "Cloud" — the expression of the sounds flowing through the sky. The track is simple and, in a subtle way, a very powerful experience that grants a chance at clarity.
"Birds Fly Through Ancient Ruins" has beautifully woven elements of Eastern psychedelic expression. Throughout the entire piece, the listener's ear follows a variety of different parts. Whether you're listening with intent or giving your mind a break, your subconscious will begin to follow the pattern you most connect with.
Concluding with a classical piece "Extinct Commune," Self Help comes full circle with unity and cohesion. Although the music was written just prior to the pandemic outbreak, it really speaks to those who might be seeking a break from reality. Each track acts as a form of escapism and altogether has an immense impact. (Telephone Explosion)