Minnesota-based artist Gregory Euclide‘s involvement in music goes well beyond the memorable cover he created for Bon Iver‘s Grammy-winning second album. In 2016 Euclide launched an ambitious project of his own called Thesis which presents thoughtfully curated collaborations in limited vinyl editions assembled with bespoke handmade packaging. Every release is unique and intended to create an ephemeral artistic experience that demands to be fully engaged with. Consider the latest edition, Thesis 18, which features a delightfully unexpected partnership between Black Brunswicker (a solo project of Ethan Helfrich), Lucy Gooch & zakè.
“It is our intent to create something that is not downloaded again when lost… it is not streamed at the office… it is intended to be an object to have an experience with. We ask you to take time for music. We want to be respectful to the music and the way we feed our spirit. Life can be a mess, a rush, complicated… but if we don’t make time for the art that fulfills us, we become empty little machines that expect art to conform to our busy lives.” – Thesis
As with most Thesis releases, this is an inspired pairing of artists that had never collaborated previously, but these three do share a connection as they have all recently released material on Past Inside the Present, a label which zakè co-founded two years ago. Lucy Gooch’s Rushing, which came out early this year, has garnered much well-deserved attention for her distinctive blending of ambient, choral, an pop motifs while Black Brunswicker’s Hidden Amongst the Trees and Foothills and zakè’s Orchestral Tape Studies feature prominently among my most recommended ambient albums of 2019.
For the first time, you can listen to Thesis 18 here in its entirety in advance of its release to the public on May 29, 2020. “Wash Away” is a mesmerizing amalgam of sounds created by all three artists while “On a Sunny Shore” is an warmly pastoral mediation on guitar & tape by Black Brunswicker. In addition to the cover art, Euclide has created three beautiful new poster prints to accompany the release as well as the highly unique “turntable ballet” which assembles contour line drawings of each musician’s hand, as well as their city of origin, on a stalk of prairie plant mounted to driftwood which spins along while the album plays.
Thesis 18 was mastered by Simon Scott and includes additional vocal arrangement & synthesizers by Alistair Lax. You may also wish to explore other variants of Thesis which include Print/Track, Arrangement, the subscription-based Drive, and Recurring which is available in app form for Apple and Android devices.