Carved into the Sun - The Earth Fell Away

05 Nov 2022 - Thorsten

Post-Rock | Release date: 21 Oct 2022 | Favorite song: Even as a Dream

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Grief. One of the strongest feelings together with love and anger it can take control over your whole body and mind by simply fading out everything else. People get lost in their grief and some even go a few steps further amid this feeling of being an empty shell without any glimmer of hope. Others seek help and healing through whichever form is most adequate for them, some of them turning to art. Eric Reifinger did the latter and the result is an uplifting catharsis.

In 2020, Eric’s brother Brandon died and Eric had to cope with the loss of his sibling. Instead of shutting down and keeping everyone away from himself, he turned to his musical outlet, Carved into the Sun, a Post-Rock experience with an acclaimed self-titled debut record released shortly after Brandon’s death; the record had already been in the pipeline before that tragic event.

The Earth Fell Away, the new record, is now the first music released by Eric since and one can feel the towering mountain in front of him, throwing everything else into a despair-dark ravine. One can feel it clearly in the harsher moments of the record, when for example the drums are blasting out all the anger and pain that Eric felt. Just listen to the monolithic crescendoes of ”The Earth Fell Away on Every Side”. They are supported by some harsher guitar notes ion the background

However, the record is a purely cathartic experience. Through all the pain and sorrow, there is something like light: the intricate and shifty drumming on ”Shoreless”, the longest track on the record, is accompanied by some stoic post-punkish bass that drives the whole thing into another place and when the “salvation” comes after roughly three minutes and the speech by C.S. Lewis (performed by Kevin Radaker) joins in, one can see that grief is strong, but the memory of your loved one’s life – not his or her death – can get you out of that darkness. Interestingly, the bass here works for me like a heartbeat, strong and steady. The fact that Eric and Brandon’s brother Gabriel adds a very delicate piano part on ”5-25-20” is another tribute to Brandon as he was a good pianist him.

But let’s talk about speech samples: Two of the most efficient usages of speech samples can be found on this record: On the tracks ”Inverness” and on ”Even As A Dream” you can hear parts from Bernard Albertson’s famous YouTube video ”An Old Man’s Advice” (side-noteworthy is the fact that Albertson died a few weeks after Brandon). Here we here an old man who knows that his time is coming to an end at one point sooner or later telling his about his life and how he made it in the world. And came out alive and sane on the other end. The way that Eric embeds both samples is a sign of how much he understands of sound and production. Having written and performed nearly all audio tracks on the record, apart from the bass, he certainly displays a knack for engineering, even though he left the mixing and mastering to two other masters of their craft: Saosin-guitarist Beau Burchell did the mix and Magnus Lundberg (Cult of Luna) executed a perfect mastering. Because that is also something I must say about this record: it sounds amazing. Crisp and intimate, sharp and elegant, vast and enamoring.

It is strange how such a sad feeling can empower Eric to deliver such a record with so much intensity and vitality, bursting at the seams with sound and power. This might be the best catharsis of 2022. I am sorry for your loss, Eric. Thanks for sharing its emotional value with us.