By Sara Kuefler
Photo by Megan Elise
Abraham Lake, the beautifully immersive new EP by Calgary chillwave artist and YYC Music Award EDM Recording of the Year nominee DeadDeer (aka Brent Rossall), will transport you.
This makes sense considering when the artist first began making electronic tracks of his own in Red Deer, several years back, he found them a means to escape circumstances that were not bringing personal happiness.
Now located in Calgary, and performing in intimate venues such as Koi, Vendome and Gravity – not to mention being invited to play at AEMCON 2018 – DeadDeer has intensified his focus. Interesting word choice, I know, considering the mellow vibe of Abraham Lake, yet, underlying that tranquility is a quiet power.
If you visit DeadDeer’s Instagram, you will discover images of clouds, mountainous landscapes, and water. In fact, the namesake of the EP is a lake on the North Saskatchewan River in western Alberta, which the artist describes as the vision of what, “[his] heaven will look like.”
According to DeadDeer, “Nature and electronic music strangely go together beautifully. There is just something about the rawness, the scale of our Rocky Mountains and the beauty of everything in between. I find with my DeadDeer songs, I like to think that I create a similar scale of depth and hopefully similar beauty.”
I could not argue, considering listening to the album creates an impulse to close one’s eyes so that projected images of the sort of nature scenes DeadDeer gravitates toward can be viewed on the inside of your eyelids, as if your own head has become a movie theatre, while allowing exhales to become more noteworthy.
Intriguingly, per DeadDeer, Abraham Lake is a “loose concept album of a character that essentially dies in the first track ‘Gates’. From there, he/she explores the next stages of life where each song represents a different reality.”
I won’t tell you what the words are, but there is a whisper at the end of that aforementioned first track that may send a shiver up or down your spine. With song titles like “Pink Mountains,” “Pesky Monk,” and “Zoo or False,” the imaginings are pretty limitless. Each song transitions you into a new state, without losing the thread of where you have just been – akin to the shifting kaleidoscope-like sense of a dream.
A multi-genre artist, Rossall plays bass in the stellar Calgary rock band The Corey Hotline. Out of a desire to bring more to his live performances, DeadDeer began incorporating his bass at shows, adding an extra layer of texture.
There is something grounding about visually experiencing the bass along with the ethereal electronic tones – again bringing us back to the physical and nature. Maybe the best way to reconcile the combination of elements present here – including shifts in reality, next lives, dreaming, nature, and grounding in a broad perspective – might be to imagine astral projection of a sort.
So, close your eyes, or keep them open, and astral project with DeadDeer at the EP release Nov. 24 at Koi.