Eartheater - Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin
(TURN SOUND ON ︎)
Written by Florence Potter
(AMBIENT, EXPERIMENTAL) - 08.01.2021
Alexandra Drewchin, under all-consuming moniker ‘Eartheater’, is an otherworldly multi-instrumentalist and vocalist based in Queens, New York. Dubbed a ‘pop renegade’ (The Fader), Eartheater looks to manipulate and juxtapose classical and digital worlds, combined with uninhibited, visceral vocals as seen on her previous four studio albums: Metalepsis (Hausu Mountain, 2015), RIP Chrysalis (Hausu Mountain, 2015), IRISIRI (PAN, 2018) and Trinity [mixtape] (Chemical X, 2019).
Eartheater’s new album – Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin (PAN, 2020) – rises from the ashes of a gruesome 2020 in her new-found journey of proverbial reincarnation and renewal – a yearning many of us can relate to.
The multi-faceted Drewchin’s fifth solo album is a direct product of this years’ phenomena of isolation and quarantine, encapsulating ancient and ethereal sounds to illicit the ultimate soundtrack of empowerment and escapism. Drewchin’s finger-plucked, melancholic guitar is almost lute-like, drawn against harsh electronic sounds like the chopping of a helicopter’s wings in ‘How to Fight’ while sparkling harp is slid beside hacked-up dissonant booms and unsettling, alien-like cries in ‘Kiss of the Phoenix’.The world that Eartheater inhabits is both lucid and dark, ancient and futuristic, warriorlike and vulnerable. Drewchin’s haunting, breathy vocals rise too, joining her production in its unpredictable swooping across octaves, often jarringly so, creating a beautifully unencumbered sense of freedom synonymous with the album’s concept. In ‘Mercurial Nerve’ her vocals lead the sombre and hallucinogenic track, layered, and stuttered toward a piercing climax – a battle cry of sorts is felt across much of the album.
It is visceral and intimate, yet Drewchin’s work is also emblematic of a common feeling bubbling away against the backdrop of a global pandemic. The fruits of Drewchin’s personal isolation - the ‘Phoenix’ - are spawned by a desire for freedom, growth, movement and renewal. It is an electronically unfettered project, which explores her musical origins as demonstrated by the ubiquitous, delicate baroque guitar and the incorporation of grand string sections, in a departure from Eartheater’s other work, yet simultaneously sounding more like her than ever. The final track, ‘Faith Consuming Hope’, epitomises the key features of the project: helicopter-like chopping, solemn violin, plucked guitar and Eartheater’s glistening vocals sweeping from breathy falsettos, ending in her own, clear voice. The refrain ‘born out of it/borne out’ defines her own creative and personal rebirth.
Alexandra Drewchin’s Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin is a hauntingly beautiful but tumultuous journey of self-exploration of one’s empowerment, reincarnation, and roots. Put simply, a Phoenix rising from the ashes is a good metaphor for now.
︎ Florence Potter ︎Eartheater