Fire Talk & Night School / Australia / 2022
On their third album Constant Connection, West Australian-based Erasers create hypnotic compositions of synth, guitar and voice, evoking the vast expanse of their native landscape and the shrouded emotions behind the senses. Comprising of vocalist, synth player Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas on guitar and synths, Erasers have developed their earthly kosmische music into an open language based on drone, variation in repetition and minimal song stuctures. Based in Perth, regarded one of the most isolated cities in the world, Orchard and Thomas’s music has brewed in the city’s vibrant DIY/Outsider community and evolved into a meditation on landscape, power, the shadow-world of human emotions and stream of consciousness. Constant Connection, with its waves of sound and chant-like vocals evokes a trance that suggests an infinity just beyond the senses.
At the heart of each Erasers composition is the interplay between the instrumentation, played with stoic restraint and recorded directly with minimal effects and the transcendental states induced in the listener. It’s a magic that is performed in plain sight and all the more powerful for it. The recognisable vibrato of Fender Rhodes keyboards and simple drum machine loops, the subtle strands of analog synth melodies that snake in and out of the ear, above all the towering encantations of Rebecca Orchard’s undeniably Australian-accented hymns; all of this is presented with minimal ostentation and yet it instantly engenders a dream state, hints at an infinity beyond the material.
Shades of John Cale’s 70s work with Nico, early 70s German synthesists Kluster and even fellow Australians Fabulous Diamonds can be seen as stylistic touchstones for Constant Connection. Where Nico hinted at the macabre and gothic, Rebecca Orchard’s similarly gliding vocal is more zoned in to a kind of oceanic openness, with words becoming chants and spells that suggested themselves to the singer during recording sessions. It’s this hidden hand of improvisatory, automatic writing that lends a sense of expanse to the music. On opener I Understand, while the lyrics might hint at discontent the emotional spectrum it opens up is far more rich and complex, as layered as the waves of droning chords that are the bedrock of each Erasers track. The title track talks of flow, continuum and balance, the protagonist in the song seemingly weightless, gently pulled through a walking reality that borders on dream. In Erasers’ world, it seems, the borders between reality and dream, consciousness and sub-consciousness are blurred and eroded.
On Constant Connection, Erasers’ music might be deeply evocative of landscape but it’s never clear which one. The vast, open terrain that surrounds Perth is dusty, burned by the sun into desert and Constant Connection feels like the product of the heat and relative isolation, the altered states these elements can create. But it’s these altered states of mind that appear to be the real landscape described by Erasers. It’s a landscape that’s hazy, in-and-out of focus, with emotional undertows pushing and pulling you into a weightlessness. On album closer Easy To See the band dispense with percussion all together, field recordings of the water at the edge of their native city ushering in two duetting synths. Orchard’s vocal undulates with the flow, viewing both the geographical and psychological landscape from the perspective of a consciousness not bound by bodies and from a timescale measured in millennia. The album ends as it begins, with field recordings of the real world that the music seeps out from, temporarily, before regressing back into the other realm it feels like it belongs to.
Between these two recorded hints of reality, Erasers manifest a deeply sensual dreamscape that constantly feels like it’s dissolving at its seams. A desert psychedelia emanating from a real world that might not be that real in the first place.