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Ernest Gonzales - Self Awakening [EP]

Ernest Gonzales - Self Awakening [EP]

FoF Music

Review 3063 Views
Last Edited by: Andy Von Pip November 12th, 2009.

On the Exponential Records website, Ernest Gonzales tells us that growing up in Texas as the only child of an electrician and a Home Depot customer service rep, he spent his childhood hooked on video games,
pizza pockets,
drawing trees, making bows and arrows and watching too much MTV. Whilst he was in school, he used extra scholarship money to buy his first drum machine, and since then has been developing his talents creating electronic music.

Ernest Gonzales already has eight releases under his belt andI must confess I have never actually heard any of them. His ninth release is a seven-track EP entitled “Self Awakening.” I was slightly worried when the disc began, because the first track, ‘Self Awakening,’ wasn't anything more than "mildly interesting". Clean guitar picks out a simple melody with a steady programmed beat and a plodding bass line. The song fails to reach any crescendos and additional melodic lines aren't introduced after the first minute. It’s a pleasant enough song, but just not very engaging.

I notice the second track is called ‘Self Awakening (Faunts Remix) and I began to sense things are about to get a little more interesting. The same basic idea is in there, but this song sounds very different. The beat is more Rock-oriented. The clean guitar is accompanied this time by stomping fuzzy bass and keyboards. The song moves through several passages, becoming large and driving before it dwindles back to where it started.

‘Self Awakening (Take Remix).’ is so different it is barely identifiable as the same song. Between the techno percussion, synthesized sound effects, and disjointed vocal samples, all that remains is the chord progression. The other versions were electronic, but this one is Electronica. The first three tracks on ‘Self Awakening’ are an interesting study in theme and variation.

The fourth track features quiet keyboards, synthetic cello, and echoing percussion and reminds me of French New Age musician Jean Michel Jarre, except it is the backdrop for a rap. This track didn’t do much for me because the rhythm of the rap never changes and each line rhymes once at the end. Neither music lyrics or the vocal performance are strong enough to really carry a song.

The next track, ‘We Can Live in the Forest,’ has several lines of plucked bass and guitar backed by unwavering electronic percussion. This track needs more of something in the way of ideas as it's thin and repetitive- listen to the Amazon sample and you’ve heard the whole song. ‘I’m Here You’re There (Mexicans with Guns Remix)’ is straight up Electronica, possibly aspiring to Rave music. The disc is rounded out with ‘Etchasketch Trees (Yppah Remix),’ a danceable song with dreamy keyboards and wailing guitar in the background.

The second and third ‘Self Awakening’ and ‘Etchasketch Trees’ have some interesting moments, but overall ‘Self Awakening’ suffers from a lack of complexity. The melodies are simple, the production and effects are often gimmicky and derivative, and the arrangements don’t shake things up enough. There are some good ideas musically within this EP, but it felt like it needed either more time being refined and fleshed out or the input of more musicians to add depth and texture.

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