EIDETIC SEEING

10 Jul

It feels like damning with faint praise to reveal how utterly unprepared we were for our reaction to “Drink the Sun,” the full-length debut from Brooklyn’s masters of time and space, Eidetic Seeing.

It’s not that we didn’t expect the album to be heavy – we did, and it is. It’s not that we didn’t expect the album to be far-out – we did, and it is. It’s not that we didn’t expect the album to reveal something heretofore unknown to us as it concerns our relationship with the cosmos of consciousness and the deformed deities of distortion pedals – we did, and man alive, does it ever.

What we didn’t expect is to feel all of this so deeply. There exists nothing faint about our praise – Eidetic Seeing’s “Drink the Sun” has thus, in a relatively short period of time, become one of those albums that will forever after mark a distinct period in our listening evolution: there is the music we heard before “Drink the Sun,” and there is the music we hear after “Drink the Sun.”

But why? What is it about “Drink the Sun” that gives it such tremendous force, such unfathomable impact?

Who knows? If we could answer that question, we would be one step closer to solving the mysteries of the universe, or at least, be counseling all other bands on the planet on how to achieve such world-eating sounds.

Certainly the answer lies beyond merely the sounds produced by Eidetic Seeing – though we’ve been listening to heavy and otherwise “out there” guitar sounds our entire life and cannot ever recall hearing a more thrilling example of “controlled chaos” than that exhibited on “Drink the Sun.”

The answer will remain undiscovered, which in and of itself is part of the thrill of listening to “Drink the Sun” and Eidetic Seeing. This is the sound of head-melting space-rock equally devoted to exploring the inner and outer reaches of our human (possibly transhuman?) experience – and doing so loudly. In the best possible way, Eidetic Seeing have assumed the nature of their own name, observing deeply and determinedly, and achieving a sound quite beyond that which can stem from the thoughtless glance or the cluttered gaze.

Not so simply put, there is no album this year that will carry us further toward seeing what we want to hear – and hearing what we want to see – than that of “Drink the Sun” by Eidetic Seeing.

We’re thrilled to get a closer look at the atomic core of Eidetic Seeing, by virtue of the band answering our ridiculous questions below.  Enjoy.

What is the single most transformative musical experience you’ve had in your life up to this point, be it seeing another band live, listening to a particular album or artist for the first (or perhaps what felt like the first) time, or even performing live? What was it about that experience that keeps it in such a prime position within your mind? What did you learn about music in general from that experience? What did you learn about yourself?

Sean: In terms of forming Eidetic Seeing, the most transformative moment that I had was seeing Michio Kurihara play with Boris for the first time.  I had already been listening to Boris, but had no idea who the guy in the shadows on the right side of the stage playing an SG was.  His solo in the song “Rainbow” totally blew me away. I love the way he combines beautiful melodies with harsh noise.  Seeing him play definitely impacted my own guitar sound and exemplified being able to make a guitar shine through even the grossest fuzz.

Paul: Seeing a gamelan ensemble perform at the New York Indonensian Consulate and seeing Stockhausen’s “Stimmung” performed as the sun rose in lower Manhattan. I didn’t like “Stimmung” until a half-hour after it finished, when I realized it was amazing.

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Can you tell us a little bit more about your own musical history and evolution? Who were the first bands that captured your attention as an adolescent? How do you interact – if at all – with that music today? Which bands do you credit with awakening your love for musical exploration, for creating the “out there” sounds made by Eidetic Seeing? What has been your own most important musical discovery of the past few years and what impact has it had on you, both personally and as a member of Eidetic Seeing ?

Danilo: As a kid, I grew up around a ton of out-there stuff, as a result of my dad, who’s an avant-garde pianist with an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and most everything else. As a result I was exposed to a lot of “out” stuff really young but it took me a while to re-discover those sounds as an independent listener. Nirvana was really the first band that opened things up for me individually. Through them, I discovered The Melvins (who need no introduction), Ruins, and Boredoms (who opened for Nirvana on a 1992 tour) – three bands that have certainly exceeded Nirvana’s impact on me but I couldn’t have discovered without.

Because Eye was in Naked City, I circled back into the NY downtown scene and also got into the No-Wave scene of the early 80’s, like DNA, Mars, and Cop Shoot Cop. Over the last few years, I’ve been most attracted to complex instrumental rock (like Laddio Bolocko, Battles, Acid Mothers Temple and Psychic Paramount, to name a few) and that interest has definitely guided me into what Eidetic Seeing has become.

I think my most rewarding, challenging, important musical discovery has got to be playing with Eidetic Seeing these last three years.  At the risk of sounding corny, I definitely have learned more about music and more about making it through our work then I have in any other context.

Sean: Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath.

The name “Eidetic Seeing,” for us, conjures the notion of something beyond “photographic memory” and more towards a perfect vision – perhaps even vision beyond what we think of as possible for the human eye.  What does this name represent to you? In what ways do you think the members of Eidetic Seeing view the world differently than many others?

Sean: Well, I think we certainly view the name differently than others, because up to this point, I think a total of two people have approached us knowing what the name means. I took the name from a term coined by Edmund Husserl. It means seeing the essence of an object.  Husserl believed you could see essences in this world. He took Plato’s ideas and changed them in that way. Explaining beyond that will put you to sleep. Honestly, I chose the name because I thought it sounded psychedelic and out there. Nothing really beyond that … I don’t really like Husserl too much …

Paul: “What was it? Eidactic Scene?”

We’ve been absolutely, positively rocketed out of the earth’s atmosphere by listening to your full-length debut, “Drink the Sun.” What is the origin of the album title? What did you, as a band, hope to accomplish with this album, and how close do you think you came? La Otracina guitarist Evan Sobel produced the album, which truly sounds like no other we’ve heard this year – what did Evan bring to the band via the recording process? We’ve add the pleasure of seeing Evan play guitar in person on a few occasions, but since you have worked directly with him, we have to ask: Do you think he is human, or a mutant? And what planet do you believe he is from originally?

Danilo: Our approach to recording is to come as close as possible to our live sound, warts and all; in order to capture the natural dynamics of the room, our natural sound, and the erratic spontaneity that occurs between us as a unit.  For that reason, all the songs are recorded live as full takes.  We recorded the LP in our tiny recording space in the basement of a moped shop, and the record definitely captures the density of that room and how explosive it sounded within it. As a result, it was really successful in getting everything we could out of both our playing and our environment at the time. Evan recorded our EP as well, and mixed and mastered both, and his familiarity with our style of music and our songs specifically made him an easy choice. We were all squeezed in this tiny 8×12 room with so much sound popping off the walls and he balanced it all really beautifully. He is certainly a mutant of some kind, but no one can be sure from where.

Paul:  I used to get really OCD with editing when I would record, especially with the drums. It was really nice to have somebody basically say, “NO. Just leave it. That’s how it happened, and it’s fine.” It does make performing for the recording a bit more stressful though; these mistakes will last forever.

Among an album that is consistently intense and mind-expanding, we might pick “Primeribneon/Waves and Radiation” as our personal highlight. What can you tell us about the origin of this track – or is it two tracks Frankensteined (Evan-steined?) together? Is the intergalactic ray gun that we hear at around the 3:10 mark a guitar or a synth? Can you tell us anything beyond what we might think of as the obvious about the song’s space-mantra, “It’s in your head/It’s in your mind/It’s in your soul/It’s in your head/Yeah!”? What in the world is “Primeribneon,” anyway?

Danilo: I recently told Sean the exact same thing! Those two songs, which we referred to informally as our “suite,” originated separately but were written simultaneously – we usually have a couple going at once.  As we were writing them, and decided on the long keyboard intro for “Waves,” we came up with the idea of segueing directly into that from the long drone that ends “Primeribneon,” and it worked perfectly. That was the first time we tried doing that, and it’s now become a staple of our live show – for the last several months we’ve been doing gapless sets where every song segues into the others – and likely a big part of the upcoming album as well.

The space laser at 3:10 is Paul on his synthesizer, and he plays that and the drums simultaneously.  I know … playing bass is hard enough for me to pull off.

Paul:  In the earlier days of Eidetic Seeing I was using a Micro-Korg synth in performance. After it got stolen I decided, being a programmer, I would code my own synths, and now my synths are custom coded in SuperCollider.

Speaking of which, where does the title “Deep Falafel Prophet” originate? Where does one get the best falafel in Brooklyn, and what makes it the best? Would you care to comment on the rumor (the rumor that I am attempting to start right now) that the follow-up to “Drink the Sun” will feature a new song called “Shallow Gyro Guru,” featuring the dude from RevoltoftheApes.com on vocals?

Danilo: Our titles come from all sorts of random places; sometimes they’re phrases that we come up with spontaneously while bullshitting (“Deep Falafel Prophet”) or quotes from books we’ve read (“Waves and Radiation” is from DeLillo’s “White Noise”). “Rift Canyon Valley” originates from me misreading something Sean had written, whereas “It’s Brick Out” refers to the cold during brutal NY winters.  More often than not they come before the lyrics and are just ways for us to have fun with language the way we do with sound … for example, “Primeribneon” – in the suite’s spirit of connecting disparate fragments – is a conjunction of Prime Meridian + Prime Rib + Neon.

I’ve heard murmurings in the ape community that somewhere in the deep recesses of the Amazon, there is a pressing plant waiting to print the RevoltoftheApes compilation, but only one man would know for sure…

What’s the best thing about being an insanely heavy, insanely spacey rock band in Brooklyn, NY? What are the obstacles that arise from doing what you do in Brooklyn?

Danilo: Well, you really can’t complain about living in the best city in the world too much, but I guess the one thing you miss in such a large place is the tight knit community thing; it seems crazy to think that it’s harder to connect to people when you’ve got almost nine million to choose from, but NY has got so much going on that it’s sometimes hard to grab the random fan the way you’d be able to in smaller towns.  Still, being able to see all the bands I want to see come through town, and being exposed to so much great local music makes it hard to complain too much, and I’ve been here for 25 years!

What music have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what is your favorite Hawkwind album and why? Please show your work.

Sean: “Black Sabbath” has to be my most listened to album ever.  Always spinning Les Rallizes, too … super lately, a lot of “Born Too Late” by Saint Vitus. Contemporary band I listen to the most probably is Psychic Paramount. The best Hawkwind album is “Space Ritual.” Mainly because it’s live. I also don’t think any of their studio recordings sound as heavy and as raw as that record.  It’s really wild.  That riff in “7 by 7” that comes in … damn.

Paul: Lately a lot of free jazz and free improv. I’ve been listening to Han Bennink a lot.

Antoine de St. Exupery – the author of “The Little Prince” and (a lot of people don’t know this) the dude who played theremin on Hawkwind’s “Space Ritual” – wrote the following:

“No single event can awaken within us a stranger whose existence we had never suspected. To live is to be slowly born.”

Your thoughts?

Sean: I’d like to think Eidetic Seeing sounds more like slowly dying then slowly being born.

What’s next for Eidetic Seeing?

Danilo: We’re gonna try to play a ton more shows this year and then have that lead up to our next album, which we hope to start recording late this year or early 2013. Until then we’ll be bouncing around the northeast and hope to put some grander tours together so we can visit the Apeman himself!

Eidetic Seeing

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One Response to “EIDETIC SEEING”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. BAND OF THE WEEK: EIDETIC SEEING | Revolt of the Apes - January 27, 2014

    […] “Against Nature” by Eidetic Seeing is available here. It’s worth your time.You can read our 2012 interview with the band here. […]

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