A symphonic masterpiece, Awakened to the Sound is Eric Owyoung’s (Frontman of Future of Forestry) newest epic told through string instruments, harmonic voice, and pinpoint orchestration. His previous work has been a mix of dynamic guitar work, strings and piano accompaniment, detailed percussive work, and added synth for an atmospheric texture, marking Eric as an indie rock composer. With this album, however, Eric sets on a trail much deeper than previous works. He wastes no time creating foundations built from ostinatos in the strings, moving straight into creating swift and elegant melodies. His voice, acting as the main character, sings over the pieces as if he was conducting the ensemble. Apparently, Eric knew his capabilities and pushed them to new lengths, and bringing us this production as a result.
Experimental chamber music that is the motto of Future of Forestry, combining a multitude of various instruments for a unique sound and sonic experience. Awakened to the Sound presents itself as a milestone for the group’s motto, yet holds on to the group’s previous style. And while stringed instruments are no stranger to Future of Forestry, there is more use of them as rhythmic foundations and melodic harmonies. Suhail Yusuf Khan, an 8th generation Sarangi player, is a potent musician in Future of Forestry’s sound that has truly expanded the group’s textural sound. From the softest tracks to the most epically proportional songs, there is a fair amount of work going on; there is no complete silence, every bit of space is used economically. The articulation, punctuality, and dynamics of the pieces are created from individual musicians that work to blend together and animate Eric’s compositions.
The Lyrics of Awakened to the Sound are poetic, imaginative, and thoughtful. They can even be read as poems themselves, feeding the mind with imagery, metaphors, and also syllabic rhythms. Edge of the Sea has rhythmic parallel lines such as Bath in the impulse of light/Breathe deep with infinite life. Turn with its metaphoric line Your ship, took a trip,/With hope of something bigger yet/And it would take you awhile To mark your nautical mile. Then finally Canyons with its visual lines Where summits touch the sky/In depths beneath the ocean/From the rising of the sun/To the break of dawn, these are only three examples of Eric’s work, leaving more to be explored throughout the album.
Due to the uniqueness of each track, it’s hard to decide among the best, which ones are indeed, the best. On Giants Shoulders, the intro track, features foundational string work, melodic melismatic vocals, and solo Sarangi work. The steady build-ups and open-ended chorus keep the energy of the track going through its entirety. Horses, sixth track, has similar orchestration to On Giants Shoulders, but what specializes this track is how much of ride it actually feels to listen to it. The track has only one emissive build up, done with an energetic ostinato, a quiet yet intense verse, then entering into the chorus with an atmospheric choir accompanied by sparse percussive work. As a side note, the following track, Rest, is exactly what the listener needs to take a breath and continue on with the album. Soft chords, a rich cello solo, and welcoming build up are all great qualities of the track. Finally, The Wait is Done, features a lyrical and laminal Sarangi solo, that also accompanies the vocals ever so softly, until a strings come in with busy lines, the harmonic progression builds infinitely, then calms down for a second take. The track ends with party rhythms, a joyous chorus, and warm atmospheric chords, all coming to a peaceful and content end.
Nothing sounds out of place, nor feels unbalanced; it is all orchestrated and performed beautifully. This album is a masterpiece, a powerful work of art. Clearly, the best work to date for Future of Forestry, it is an album to be enjoyed time and time again.
Buy the album from these links! I promise you won’t be disappointed!