This album is a true inspiration to aspiring artists and those currently running through the trials and tribulations of beginning adulthood. It’s a complicated time to be alive but it’s comforting to know that there’s a number of people in the same place in life.
This is a thoroughly impressive album from an orchestral and emotional stand point. It’s always moving forward, it’s unpredictable and it’s the result of years of blood, sweat and tears. Simply put, it’s like Ben Folds 5 in space. But that’s almost insulting to summarize it as such because of its complexity and deeper meaning that lies within the recordings.
Before the analysis, listners need a bit of a history lesson about Garrett Eckl and the creation of his first album.
Eckl, 21, is a student from Rochester NY who studied computer science at Drexel University while juggling a job in NASA’s Goddard Flight Center. Eckl has always been a music lover and recently began to dabble in the art of music production. He began writing and recording a concept album out of his small, Washington D.C. apartment but his progress was limited by time and space (no pun intended).
Some time passed and Eckl decided that his passion no longer lain in computer science and that completing this first EP was what he wanted most. He dropped out of Drexel, left NASA, moved back to Rochester and in one year’s time, finished the album. His seemingly rash decision yielded heckling from his friends but was countered by support from his family. His decision to move away is what helped inspire that album’s theme – appreciate what you have and don’t look back. From drum tracks to album art, Eckl did it all. He says it’s a concept album about a man who has five weeks left to live. Eckl asks people to give it a try and think to yourself, “think about what you would do if you only had five weeks to live. Would you be the same person or would you make drastic changes in your life?
It’s obvious that Eckl is fiddling with a variety of styles here (that’s to be expected with an EP) but the album still holds a powerful story. “Fall Apart (Start Again)” and “Out Of Time” are definitely his most impressive pieces of work. The lyrical content is a little somber, and that’s true throughout the album, but the first two songs counter those thought provoking lyrics with a a complex and upbeat tone. As said before, the sound is very reminiscent of Ben Folds in terms of his voice and some prominent piano sections. NYS Music brought this to Eckl’s attention and he said that although he is familiar with Folds, he was not an influence within Eckl’s music. Rather, the stylings of Breaking Benjamin, Green Day and Three Days Grace were the basis of his musical approach.
Working down the track list, listeners will come to “Life on an Island” and will notice that Ben Folds style predominately on this track. One of the most intriguing parts of the track is the beat, specifically as it starts off. It’s polyrhythmic, complex and immediately gets you moving. The song builds very well and is highlighted by one of the most moving guitar solos on the album.
“Fade” pops up next and it’s where the album takes a sharp turn in terms of genre – It’s obvious there is much more of an electronic influence here. As mentioned before, Eckl recorded and produced the entire album so NYS Music asked him if there were any compositional influences he had. Eckl said that although it’s not something he follows closely, he believes subconsciously the score from the Netflix original series Stranger Things played a part in the composition of some of his songs – this is very apparent in this track. The song is docile most of the way through, but builds up to a drop that one may not expect to be followed by the previous tracks. Regardless, it’s very well made and it makes for a nice change of pace when listening to the album all the way through, which is how it should be enjoyed.
Finally, the most melancholy recording plays through, “The Last Week.” It exclusively consists of a piano, strings/ violins and Eckl’s voice. It’s not a particularly thrilling song but is very fitting considering the overall theme and the name of the track. It’s does have a build up which ends a little abruptly, but again, is fitting for the theme of the album.
All in all, this album may not tickle everyone’s fancy. This is undeniably a somber album, but it should be appreciated for it’s theme and production value. Listeners should be inspired by this album and spurred on to do the things they love. And although it may be crazy to drop a great education and job, pursuing your dreams and passions can result in creating something epic, just as Eckl has. The album is available on Spotify and Youtube, and you can follow Eckl and You’re Name Here on Facebook and Twitter.
Key Tracks: Fall Apart ( Start Again), Out of Time, Life on an Island