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Envisioned during the most disquieting moments of the pandemic, Icons sees dextrous percussionist Eli Keszler evoke the mood of watching raindrops slide down the window while gazing out at a sparse city that might never be coming back as before.

Made during the most disquieting moments of the pandemic, “Icons” sees dexterous percussionist Eli Keszler evoke the mood of watching raindrops slide down the window while gazing out at a deserted city that might never be coming back as before. It’s a modern retelling of fourth world jazz — or, perhaps, no world at all. And now, an expanded multi-sensory edition of “Icons” is available for the first time.

Keszler’s presence as a drummer-in-demand alongside some of the most celebrated experimental electronic musicians of recent times (Oneohtrix Point Never, Jandek, Laurel Halo, Helm, Rashad Becker, et al) has established a template for what we might expect from his own solo output. “Icons” wrong-foots these expectations adroitly.

With a new album more or less ready to go at the start of 2020, the New Yorker scrapped his plans, dial down his typically frantic performance style, and explore a long-held ambition to make a tribute to solitude. “Icons” transmits an eerie absence throughout. The palette isn’t cold, rather the opposite; this is a supple and inviting record to nestle inside, and you’d be mistaken for thinking you’d stumbled into a jazz bar at 3am in places. Yet Keszler makes the theme of loss intractable from the music. Leia Jospé’s photography on “Icons”’ cover, and video accompaniment to ‘The Accident’, train in on solitary figures in the city that ostensibly never sleeps and stops moving.

Baroque harmonies, half-heard choirs and gently tumbling kalimbas ricochet off empty stairwells and streets. It’s often unclear where Keszler’s field recordings of pandemic-hit NYC end, and his meld of synth swells and pitched percussion begin. Whether undergirded with faltering slo-mo beats or faintly-detectable church bells, the entire atmosphere is humid and rich, curlicues of fog and steam coiling up toward the sky. A few of Keszler’s contemporaries have tapped into this lambent moodstate before, particularly Daniel Martin-McCormick’s latter day recordings as Relaxer, but Keszler’s access to, and utilisation of, a wide range of instruments sets “Icons” apart.

Available today as part of Bleep’s Top 10, “Icons (Expanded)” offers a range of additional dimensions to Keszler’s work. Two bonus tracks, ‘Years of This’ and ‘Sunrise’, are added to the album, which is being repressed on blue vinyl, issued as a mono mix on cassette, and being offered as spatial audio in two different formats: a 32-bit, Mach1 .WAV download and Dolby Atmos spatial mix for streaming. On top of all this, Keszler is launching a complimentary scented candle with boutique fragrance designers Joya Studio, capturing the smell of Chinatown where “Icons” was laid down. As for the energy of Chinatown circa 2020? You can hear that in every note.

Bleep Album of the Year

Made especially for you, LuckyMe have created an exclusive end of year cassette edition as well as a limited edition candle designed by Brookyln's Joya Studio to evoke the location of recordings on the record. Be sure to check out the new Eli Keszler merchandise below also.

Icons conformed to mono on translucent cassette
Limited to 100
Bleep exclusive

Icons X JOYA Candle
Limited to 150

  • 152932
  • 152557

Icons X Joya Candle

Icons candle designed by Brookyln's Joya Studio to evoke the location of recordings on the record: from the Odysseus Cave at Mljet, Croatia to New York’s Lower East Side. Produced in an edition of 150.

Top Notes: Italian mandarin, black pepper, tea tree, carrot and celery seed oils Heart: jasmine, juniperberry, pineapple, baijiu and rose blossom Drydown: Atlas Cedarwood, Chinese coumarin, Canadian fir needle, cypress and incense

Joya is a scent brand and design studio based in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Established in 2006 by Frederick Bouchardy, the company produces perfumes, candles, diffusers, soaps, art objects and environmental scent creations dispersed into the air through gas atomization technology.

  • Artist
    Eli Keszler
    Merch
    Icons X Joya Candle
    Label
    LuckyMe
    Release Date
    December 10, 2021

    Pre-order Information

    Please note that pre-order release dates are estimates based on the latest information we have from our suppliers. Changes or delays are possible.

Note: To experience the Mach1 Spatial audio mix, download the WAV format from your account

Eli Keszler Merchandise

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Albums of the Year 2021

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