Icons - Liner Notes
New York based percussionist and composer Eli Keszler releasd Icons on June 25: an immersive work in perpetual motion, evoking a glorious and dystopian western world. A latticework of melodic percussion, drum set, and electro-acoustic instrumentation, built upon fragments of American abstraction, ancient scales, industrial percussion, and jazz-age film noir to achieve its feeling of imperial decay. Keszler’s instrumental performances are framed by panoramic recordings of New York City and the Odyssey Cave, along with other on-location audio from his global travels, defining an expansive music that takes on hyperreal forms difficult to describe outside of the loss and wonderment that defines our age. 

1  All the Mornings in the World  (6:42)
2  God Over Money  (3:37)
3   The Accident  (4:37)
4  Daily Life  (2:36)
5  Rot Summer Smoothes  (2:53)
6  Dawn  (5:34)
7  Static Doesn’t Exist  (6:01)
8  Late Archaic  (3:45)
9  Civil Sunset  (4:03)
10  Evenfall  (6:44)
11  We sang a dirge, and you did not mourn   (2.27)

 Artist Statement:
        “Icons is the music I made during a time where travel and trade were effectively suspended” states Keszler. “I spent nights wandering around Manhattan collecting recordings of the empty and silent city where a car alarm was audible from blocks away, where the hum of the electrical grid and the clash of bicycle gears suddenly occupied a massive amount of space. I spent the entirety of that year in Manhattan, probably the longest I’ve stayed in one place in over a decade. The island was essentially shut down and running at an erratic pace. The speed of the city seemed to oscillate from intense speed - ambulances, protests, helicopters —  to near stasis — a sort of beautiful, strange, serene stillness. I saw something strange and beautiful happening: power cracking and people changing. With Icons, I was working with these mythological tropes that are deteriorating and decaying before our eyes to create a music that finds beauty in our fragile and unstable reality.” 

Album Credits: All music written, performed and produced by Eli Keszler in New York City at Easy 7th Productions, 2019 - 2020

Eli Keszler plays drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel, tongue drum, metallophones, gamelan bars, piano, keyboards, organ, Fender Rhodes

Eli Keszler uses Zildjian Cymbals, Promark Sticks, Evans Heads and Sensory Percussion

Nate Boyce plays guitar synth on All the Mornings in the World, The Accident

Anna Khachiyan reads on Daily Life

Recorded at Bunker Studio by Nolan Thies with additional recordings at XL Studios by Matt Cohn and Alex Epton

Mixed by Eli Keszler and Nolan Thies

Mastered by Alex DeTurk

Mach1 Spatial versions of Icons+ mixed by Dražen Bošnjak and Nolan Thies

Mastered by Zlaya Loud 

With additional recordings at Mach1 Studios in New York

Liner Notes by Anna Khachiyan:      “For some reason people always want to take credit for things that were settled in advance by forces outside of their control. This explains the logic of most forms of radicalism and virtually all of our “worthy causes.” Today everyone is obsessed with politics. All anyone ever talks about is politics. This is a bad omen. It does not bode well for the culture. And, more importantly, it’s a shame.

        When I was a kid, my dad would get together with friends or colleagues in a smoke-filled room and argue about stuff they saw on the news. If no one was available, which was most of the time, he would yell at the TV. Even then, I had the vivid feeling that what they were talking about was boring and that it would eventually suck the life force out of you. The most interesting aspect of politics is the prepolitical. The application of strategy, the force of personality, the influence of patronage networks and unofficial power, and so on.

        I mean no disrespect, but when the young — a group that should have no natural leaning toward political minutiae — start to pay too much attention to politics, your culture is in serious trouble.

        Interestingly, politics has gone the way of money. It used to be bad manners to bring up money in polite conversation but nowadays it’s par for the course.

        I wanted to show you a beautiful and weird painting of Golgotha by a famous pre-revolutionary Russian artist no one has heard of but the museum was closed indefinitely. The record shop was still open, and they had many handsome classical CD box sets priced to sell, but the vibe was a bit too embalmed for my liking. It’s hard to say whether this is an accepted feature of secondhand stores or a new feature of accelerated obsolescence. To my original point, the pandemic has merely had the effect of accelerating certain disturbing but on the whole predictable trends which were already long underway (technically, this is a pandemic record). In any case, as a nouveau riche immigrant pig I have never been one for the preowned.

        And yet, I believe in honoring the continuity of history in minor ways, such as we’re doing here through art and music. On the drive home, the only thing that jumped out at me was an ad for one of those luxury condos that said “LEON.” I will read this as a sign.”

Recorded by Keszler in 421 8th Avenue, Tompkins Square Park, Union Square East, Times Square Church, Washington Square Park, New York + Shibuya Tomigaya Park, Tokyo + Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Kyiv Monastery of the Caves), Kyiv, Ukraine + Dubrovnik, Korćula, Odysseus Cave, Mijet, Croatia + Huaqiangbei Market, Shenzhen, China

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