Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More
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CST166 180gLP + art print • 180gLP • CD • DL
Release date: 06 May 2022 (DL) - 02 September 2022 (LP/CD)
Fréquences Le Disquaire (CA)
Rough Trade (UK)
Norman Records (UK)
Piccadilly Records (UK)
Juno (UK) VL/CD
Banquet Records (UK)
"Post-rock, neo-classical, experimental, whatever genre or sub-genre you wish to file it under, it makes no difference. Good records are good records and, whichever way you slice it, Esmerine’s return is not only needed, it’s one of the beautiful surprises of the year. The more time spent with Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More, the stronger it will get. With this record, Esmerine may just be the masters of the slow burn." - Sun-13
“A soundtrack to the inexpressible…a statement of unity in the aftermath of tragedy." - A Closer Listen • TOP 10 POST ROCK ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
“Esmerine locates an especially tender spot between post-rock and post-classical to cast a bucolic spell.” - UNCUT
“A majestic work with which to await the end of the world.” - Silence And Sound
“Esmerine explores ever more intricate constructs; their classical/folk/post-rock melds reward after repeat immersions.” - MOJO ★★★★
“There is a fascinating selection of instruments here that gradually intertwine with each other to create a finely balanced musical narrative… evokes a range of emotions, from anxiety and sadness to nostalgia and joy, and is definitely worth checking out.” - Canuckistan Music
“There seems to be an excellent synergy between the musicians and the ideas they brought along to this music, creating a deep meditative listening experience above all.” - Echoes & Dust"Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More est une œuvre à la fois exigeante et accessible, elle contient en elle une force de transcendance.
Ce disque fonctionne dans une forme de crescendo émotif." - Benzine
WINNER - "Instrumental Album of the Year" / "Album Artwork of the Year" at the 2023 Juno Awards
Rooted in a distinct and immediately identifiable sound—with the cello of Rebecca Foon (Saltland, Set Fire To Flames, Thee Silver Mt Zion) and the marimba of ex-Godspeed You! Black Emperor percussionist Bruce Cawdron at its core—Esmerine has long embroidered emotive chamber works using threads of post-classical, post-rock, Minimalism, neo-Baroque, jazz, pop and a wide array of folk traditions. Multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson, who joined the group in 2012, has furthered Esmerine’s melodic and ethnomusicological sensibility ever since, expanding the ensemble’s palette as its third core member with guitars, ngoni, ekonting, hulusi, brass horns of all sorts, and more.
Since 2003, six stately and filmic instrumental albums have inscribed compositional landscapes through epigrammatic miniatures, longform multi-movement chronicles, and all manner of evocative musical prosody between. Marked by an inimitably turbid yet tempered pastoralism, alternately lit by dappled dawn and disquieted dusk, Esmerine’s musical narratives balance asceticism and romanticism, melancholy and hope, stillness and wanderlust.
Esmerine now shares Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More, its seventh full-length album and first in five years. The band surprise-dropped the full album digitally on 06 May 2022, with the CD and Deluxe 180gram LP editions hitting stores on official release date 26 August 2022.
Following an acclaimed run of mid-career records on Constellation through the 2010s—the last three of which have all been finalists or winners of Juno Awards for Instrumental Album of the Year and/or Album Packaging of the Year—Esmerine began working on new music at decade’s end. Under the auspices of a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, and a summer 2019 residency at Le Château de Monthelon (an artist commune in France where the band has cherished long-standing spiritual, creative, and personal connections), compositional seeds were planted—and then pandemic rooted everyone in place. In between lockdown waves, at the respective rural Québec homesteads of Cawdron and Foon, longtime co-producer Jace Lasek (The Bernard Lakes) began capturing the band in various stripped-down configurations with spartan remote equipment. More fulsome arrangement and overdub sessions at Foon’s converted barn during the summer of 2021 brought the album to full fruition—where a notable increase in the use of acoustic piano also poured forth, with just about every band member having a go. The record also signals the definitive integration of bassist Philippe Charbonneau—having joined Esmerine as a touring member pre-pandemic, he plays throughout the album on upright and electric bass, with turns on piano and synth, as well as sound design contributions via tape echo and other processing.
Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More grapples with the existential tensions between atmosphere and airlessness, seclusion and claustrophobia, forbearance and coalescence. In many ways it is one of Esmerine’s most restrained records. Only a few passages are driven by full percussion. There is palpably less Sturm and Drang or overt crescendos compared to its recent predecessors. The new album roils with a different sort of dynamic intensity, where instrumental densities ebb and flow within an overtonal centre, melding into each other with gauzy timbral warmth, sometimes tracing fleeting tendrils outwards, but always rotating around a saturnine gravitational force. Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More is like a dark forest lit by a closely-orbiting opalescent planet; it could be the alternate score to Von Trier’s Melancholia or Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Thanks for listening.
Deluxe 180gram vinyl edition pressed at Optimal (DE) comes in a foil-embossed and die-cut cardstock jacket with printed inner sleeve and additional 12x12 art cards featuring the collages of Maciek Szczerbowski. All the art interacts with the die-cut jacket framing. Includes DL card.
Edition of 300 exclusive to our webshop and Bandcamp page.
180gram vinyl edition comes in a custom window-cut letterpress jacket with artworked 300gsm inner sleeves + DL card.
Bruce Cawdron: Marimba & Bowed Marimba, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Music Box, Drum Set, Bowed Cymbals, Percussion, Field Recordings, Marching Bass Drum, Bass Frame Drum
Brian Sanderson: Violin, Viola, Electric Guitar, Piano, Cavalry Horn, Cornet, Flugelhorn, Mellophone, Sousaphone, Hulusi, Kamel Ngoni
Philippe Charbonneau: Contrabass, Bass Guitar, Piano, Synth & Synth Drones, Tape Echo, Processing
James Hakan Dedeoğlu: Guitar on “Entropy: Radiance”, “Imaginary Pasts”
Aliayta Foon-Dancoes: Violin on “Hymn For Rob”
Olga Goreas: Flute on “Number Stations”
Jace Lasek: Guitar on “Entropy: Acquiescence”, “Imaginary Pasts”, “Number Stations”, EBow Guitar on “Entropy: The Wild Sea”
Sophie Trudeau: Violin on “Hymn For Rob”
Recorded and mixed at Lost River, Lascelles and the Rigaud Ranch, Quebec from November 2020 to April 2021.
Engineered by Jace Lasek. Mastered by Ryan Morey.
With thanks to Magda, Osha, Marty, Jane, Erin, Jericho, Ila, Reuben, Jace & Oggy, Don & Ian, Cyril, Gijs, James & Aylin, Le Château Monthelon, Lost River, Geoffrey Boulangé, Rodney Frost, Soren Venema, Teilhard, Sam, Jamie.
Esmerine is grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts for its generous contribution to the recording of this album.