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STEREO EMBERS SINGLE/VIDEO PREMIERE – “Falter” from Ceiling Spirits Soon-To-Be Released Second Album ‘Bloodwren’

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So, here’s how it not infrequently goes here in the life of a music obsessive who also happens to wield pen to paper or keyboard strokes to screen whatever: In the moment when, with the strength of an epiphany, you’re smitten by what’s just been offered by a publicist and agree to premiere a track/video/album/something but it’s weeks away from when you agree and you’ve all these other irons in various fires then suddenly it’s days and you’re looking at your calendar and going ‘Who the hell is ___?’ then you remember – not just in an ‘Oh yeah’ way but with the head-snapping suddenness of a slap across your sorry face – the audio file or, as in this case, the video-accompanied advance single to a forthcoming album, that so floored you when you first heard it and so you rush to your laptop and begin translating the kind of furious joy you experienced in the first place, hoping you can recapture that initial burst of wow that overtook you in that initial encounter. In this case that filled-in blank up above belongs to Ceiling Spirits, composer/multi-instrumentalist Mario Quadracci’s project whose self-released, just-mentioned sophomore album Bloodwren (following 2018’s self-titled debut) is due out March 22nd via all your standard DSPs and from which comes today’s premiered video/single “Falter” and, really, insofar as any concern about sufficiently recapturing that initial judder of excitement? Not a chance. The thrill level has not only survived undiminished but, exactly because of its ceaseless thrall, has actually increased.

With the orchestral heft of “Macarthur Park” boosted by a breathless jolt of emotional adrenaline that Eldorado-era ELO would have killed for, the percussion relentless, seemingly chasing after itself, the essence of this track’s powerful pull is that innate relentlessness underscoring the piece’s drive, which in turn stirs something of a fierce existential empathy for the character depicted in the video, no mean feat considering the relative, nearly featureless anonymity of the figure but that’s just the point. That figure is being pursued and is, to quote the artist’s own words, running from the inescapable darkness of his own being. He flees inward into his own consciousness only to soon find himself in an unrecognizable landscape stalked by an omnipresent adversary with twisted bird-like characteristics, the Bloodwren. 

Incorporating many of the elements from that debut LP while amping up the dynamics, their complexities, and injecting them with even greater, fuller production values, assisted along the journey by the likes of The National’s Bryan Devendorf, Devin Drobka from Mouse on Mars, the Augustines’ Eric Sanders with that production being handled by Peter Katis who, besides the National, has produced records for a who’s-who of this century’s most notable artists, including Interpol, Mercury Rev, Sharon Van Etten, and Jonsí. Not to get too too here, but what’s clear to us here at SEM is that this is the sound of an artist gone next level, exacting their craft until it bears the mark of his soul. Heavy words, perhaps, but the work here bears them lightly, with grace and clear intention.