Twilight Horizon sparkles with artistic vision

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March 19, 2013

Solipsis
Twilight Horizon (2012)
Written, recorded, and produced by Eric Hogg at Soma Sound.

Reviewed by Chris Ho

After releasing his debut full-length album, ‘Twilight Horizon,’ this January, Solipsis, a.k.a. Eric Hogg, is now up for two well deserved Vancouver Island Music Award nominations: one for Island Producer of The Year, and one for Island Pop/Rock Album of the Year.

Given the tightly knit instrumental layering and overall cohesiveness of the album, it’s clear that Twilight Horizon is the culmination of a remarkably pointed artistic vision. Everything from the reversed guitar riffs to the sweeping vocal harmonies and impeccable guitar tones are carefully crafted and consistently balanced throughout the entire record. Nearly every track has just the right amount of twists and turns in between the inventive, yet accessible, vocal melodies. Even after a casual first listen, I was immediately drawn into the album’s soundscape, which seemed to be its own entity, separate from everything around me.

Twilight Horizon begins with a choir of voices, combined with ambience, bells, clean guitar and bass, which serves as an intro that smoothly transitions into the next brilliantly produced track, “Along the Way.” Among the ambient noise, an acoustic guitar gradually emerges and is joined by a distant voice, easing the listener into the journey they are about to take: the buildup is gradual, but the payoff is loud and glorious as the electric guitar and cymbals come crashing in for the finale. Normally I wouldn’t be this corny and refer to an album as a “journey,” but this seems appropriate here. In the same way that a story challenges you to look at the world differently and indulge in the archetypal journey of the protagonist, this record invites you to open up your mind, engage with the full spectrum of sound and indulge in its meaning.

Yet again, the ambient trail off of the second song takes us right into the next track, further establishing that sense of cohesiveness. The vocal melodies are inventive and yet accessible, but not in the way of modern pop, per se. Alternatively, they resemble the melodic charm of The Beatles, Radiohead, and especially Elliot Smith. This is particularly apparent in songs like “Over the Falls,” “End of the Rainbow,” and “Falling.” I won’t be at all surprised if Eric Hogg’s masterpiece wins him an award for both Island Producer of The Year and Island Pop/Rock Album of The Year.

Chris Ho is a UVic graduate and Victoria-based singer-songwriter.

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