AERIAL EAST – ” Try Harder ” Best Albums Of 2021

Posted: June 24, 2021 in MUSIC

Aerial East’s music explores the space between the conscious and unconscious mind, between what was and what will be. She dives into what she has known – adolescence, heartbreak, coming into a new social consciousness, and managing a perpetual unanchored-ness – in order to find a most surprising place to rest inside: the unknowable.

As the daughter of a military family, East spent her late childhood in Europe and teenage years in Abilene, Texas. After dropping out of community college, she moved to New York City where she’d meet a group of musicians whom she would come to befriend and collaborate with (including Okay Kaya, Kelsey Lu, Wet + more). She hopes to tell stories we don’t hear often. “I want to tell stories about people in Texas,” she says, “I want to humanize different characters.”

‘Try Harder’ is a tight yet eclectic record, both sonically and emotionally. “I didn’t want to hear any drums,” East says. “I was going through a period of high anxiety,” she explains, adding that she listened to a lot of solo-piano to calm down during moments of ungroundedness. “I wanted to make a record to be soothing in the same way [as the piano was for her].” So, much to the initial skepticism of her collaborators, East decided against adding drums to her songs. “I just wanted it to be healing and calm, something you can listen to even if the world is ending,” a feeling we can all relate to. She also visualized the record as feeling like the desert at night. “Western but quiet and intimate. I wanted it to have gravity but didn’t want it to be heavy.”

Among many films, artists, and musicians, East drew inspiration from 20th minimalist century painter Agnes Martin. “I wanted the record to feel harmonizing to people. When I look at an Agnes Martin painting I feel realigned,” adding, “I wanted to make something like that.”

A departure from her previous work, on ‘Try Harder’ East’s delicate voice takes centre stage, creating an unvarnished intimacy between her and the listener, a reflection of her live performances. “I wanted the album to be easily translatable into a live show,” she says. “Rooms’ was about a very painful time for me, but it also has a lot of silliness that I still relate to,” she said. “With ‘Try Harder’ I’m moving away from fantasy.”

her new album, ‘Try Harder,’ out now on Partisan Records.

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