The Earthly Framespresent
The Rainbow Table
Nine full-length albums for each chromatic value, plus black and white.
The Earthly Frames are not known for putting out accessible music. Taped Over seems at first to break with this convention, offering some straightforward, melancholy Americana. The lyrics and title focus on a pre-digital, Younger era. The music, too, doesn’t veer far from the folk-rock formula of banjos, mandolins, harmonica, and Nashville-sounding baritone guitars that were popular in the 1970s and again in the 1990s.
However, on closer listen, those heady Sci-Fi-esque metaphysics from the ‘Frames previous materials are still there. On the opening track, “My Worst Self,” the singer is not just referring to a bad day, but in its dedication to a “v875,” it seems to actually be talking about an Earth-616-style alternate universe self. In “Pixels,” Walsh’s shrill and affected voice notes to the ever-present screen molecule, “It’s a funny little world you’ve got yourself rendered here.” The title track, too, seems not to talk about a nostalgic VHS mishap but about aging and identity, “A plank to the head, on the ship of Theseus, hull marks obscured, we taped over them.” Yikes.
The Empty Fields
This recording focuses on ecosystem degradation and the inevitable environmental collapse. Long string quartets follow the arches of mass extinction cycles, surface temperature data is rendered as a droning, foreboding doomsday siren, and species variation becomes unsurvivable mutations. This full length takes the "green" position in The Rainbow Table. It is meditative, apocalyptic, and stoic with a strange resilient beauty.
Pulsar Palace lands squarely in the Electronic genre. Its beats, samples, and oscillations operate in the kosmische zone whilst the occasional guitar or orchestration reminds of Earthly Frames penchant for psych and art-rock. Each track is named for a room or space within the imagined Pulsar Palace. It is a walking tour equal parts grandeur and grotesque.
Ruine, a combination of "ruin" and "rune" is the third full length by The Earthly Frames. It's a broken memory palace with allusions to the genres that were popular when I was a youngster. Subject matter ranges from personal memory to imagined futures.
On Light Reading, The Earthly Frames second full-length, Walsh’s powers of sonic and narrative fuckery are in their prime. The album follows the format of an imagined reading list. There's a corresponding song for each obtuse-sounding book. Titles such as “A Doorbell for Finite Beings” or “Dismantling Ubiquitous Monitoring Systems” offer glimpses into a parallel universe with exotic, yet obsolete, technology. With each track, we hover briefly into the lonely worlds of ghost singers, failed philosophers, and dead ideas. It's a pile of books no one will ever read - a minority report filed away and forgotten. And yet, with Light Reading, The Earthly Frames remind us that knowledge, the reality we don't throw away, is indeed the power.
The Conjurer's Thread
So you've lost all your heroes? Magic stopped working? Feds at the door? Perhaps you too have lost the thread.