An Evening Redness Soars Above the “Mesa Skyline” (Early Track Premiere)
Conflict of interest statement: An Evening Redness mastermind Brandon Elkins and I were once live session members in a band together and have collaborated in various projects over the past decade. I will look at his music as objectively as I can.
The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man's mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.
–Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
The desert is vast. I remember driving through it once, a very long time ago out in West Texas. Pictures don't really do it justice. It goes on seemingly forever, this expanse of warm hues and distant pillars, and the yellow sun beats down, rendering useless any attempts at respite.
What people didn't tell me about the desert is how small it was going to make me feel. This swathe of sand, tens of thousands of square miles in size, could swallow me whole and the world would keep moving without consequence.
Chicago avant-drone duo An Evening Redness look upon this idea of insignificance in the face of nature's most desolate child and capture it in sound. The child of multi-instrumentalist Brandon Elkins and vocalist Bridget Bellavia (which also features the guest talents of Convulsing's Brendan Sloan and drummer Ryan Jewell), An Evening Redness' folk-and-country-influenced drone musings transport the listener to the great, wild stretches of sand and nothingness of my youth.
Taking notes from author Cormac McCarthy's lauded Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, Elkins and Bellavia's performances take this idea of the dry, harsh deserts found in the American Southwest and transmutes it into a lush landscape, full of life which is just out of reach. We fly over this idea of desert verdance together, an oasis behind a pillar of compacted red sand too far away to comprehend but just close enough to understand. Though superficial comparisons to micro-genre heroes Earth can be made, An Evening Redness' take on Americana drone is much more complex and song-oriented when placed side-by-side to Dylan Carlson and Adrienne Davies' long-standing band. Whereas Earth concentrates on desolation and picturesque landscapes, An Evening Redness' vivid approach offers a human element to the desert, if just to express a much more arresting vastness.
He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.
Listen to a pre-release stream of "Mesa Skyline" below.
From the artist:
"Mesa Skyline" is the polished desert stone in the crown of this album. The demo track written back in 2019 would be barely recognizable as what it ended up as here. The slow accretion of layers, first with the pedal steel lines from Steve Giddings, next with the steadily swinging drums from Ryan Jewell, and finally the absolutely triumphant and soaring vocals from Bridget Bellavia allowed me to tap into something I've never been able to nail down. I listen to this song in particular almost every day and it still sends shivers up my spine every time.
An Evening Redness releases on physical formats via Transylvanian Tapes on February 25th.
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