Saturday, July 1, 2017

Prison Escapee - Locket and Au Revoir

Prison Escapee - Locket and Au Revoir 

The name Erik David Hidde has chosen to adopt for his musical project, Prison Escapee, is more than just a stage and recording persona. Instead, it’s an intelligent nod to Hidde’s description of his own music as “field recordings”, along with other elements like post-rock and electronica, which makes the case. It is a clear reference to the relatively low-fi approach he takes to the recordings = the songs are cut in his living room, but they never betray any loss of quality due to the modesty of their budget or surroundings. The term field recordings, though, has connotations reaching back further and there’s a discernibly traditional air emerging at moments during the songs “Locket” and “Au Revoir”. The two tracks are quite different in many respects, but both share a common grounding in what has made popular song so effective over the centuries – strong and certain melodies. Prison Escapee’s more modern touch comes with his talent for filling out these melodies with synthesizer, post-production effects applied in just the right way, and post rock affectations carry the material to whole other level. 
“Locket” has a memorable build reliant on a fat, repetitious synthesizer line filling out more and more as the song progresses. There are other musical elements that soon come into the frame – there’s a solid bass line and accompanying percussion that never leaves a busy presence on the song but, rather, achieves a consistent see saw effect that holds everything down. Both of the songs here deal with the personal – in often general ways anyone can relate to and, at other times, with deft flashes of imagery surely all his own. “Locket” artfully conveys the longing that defines much of the track and much of the responsibility of its ultimate effects comes from Hidde’s well turned vocal. He’s a talented singer who never needs to cheapen the composition with needless histrionics and even the light treatment his voice receives isn’t enough to compromise the immediacy of his singing. 
“Au Revoir” is even less cluttered than the aforementioned song and focuses much more on conventional instruments like piano. There’s a startling intimacy to this song and much of it comes from the interplay before the piano playing and Hidde’s voice. There’s less post production performed on this song and the way it allows his vocal to be much freer increases the emotional impact of the cut. These are two powerful examples of what he’s capable of and certainly evidence of the excellence we can expect from him in the future. “Locket” and “Au Revior” are fascinating efforts any serious musical devotee is likely to respond to and have a fiercely personal spirit quite unlike anything else on the independent scene today. 

William Elgin 

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