The process of writing music is often a cathartic release and, in some cases, akin to religious ritual. Calgary musician, Evan Freeman, delves deep into unknown regions beyond the natural world with his latest release, Beyond the Stars. His 13-track, sophomore offering focuses on themes of spiritual connection, love, loss, grief and perseverance. This album is symphonic fodder for expanding consciousness.
“[Beyond the Stars] refers to places and states that defy description: infinite space, waking dreams, visions and distant memories. Oceanic consciousness, the wandering spirit. A cosmic portal, timeless and mysterious,” says Freeman.
Beyond the Stars invokes a much more spacious and melancholy ambiance when compared to his first records. It channels the art-rock ethos of Radiohead with the spaciness of Pink Floyd and the desperation of The Cure. Freeman states his main focus was on “bringing the strongest elements of each song to the forefront, removing any layers that impede the core musical message.”
Recording in a collaborative setting with peers from across the Calgary music scene, including members of I Am The Mountain and Jung People, and working with engineers Arrin Fisher (Acoustikitty Studios) and Josh Gwilliam (Pilot Audio), Beyond the Stars does not feel overly restrained and quantized — there is room for the tracks to groove and breathe.
“The recording process was a lot of fun, resulting in lots of new ideas and happy accidents. It was the coldest, snowiest time of year, so it felt right to be holed up in the studio working away. Charles [Spearin; Broken Social Scene, Gord Downie] added so much depth and dimension to the record [during mastering], truly transforming the songs. I learned a lot about mixing just by working with him and talking about his process,” says Freeman.
Evan Freeman releases Beyond the Stars on Dec. 1 at the Engineered Air Theatre in Calgary.