Album Premiere: Journey Test by Purple Decades

Purple Decades is an alias for Cincinnati-based pianist, composer, & producer Tristan Eckerson that offers a low-key departure from the solo piano work he releases under his own name, affording him a wider canvas upon which to explore a broad spectrum of electronic textures and subtly cinematic soundscapes. First introduced with the 2020 EP Thought Forms, the ambient project sees its first full-length album release today with Journey Test in a limited vinyl LP edition on the Beacon Sound imprint.

The slow gestation of the project seems in some ways a reflection of the music and the method Eckerson chose for Purple Decades. Journey Test unfolds like a sonic origami with elegant melodic shapes and tidy minimalist design. As Eckerson tells it, the idea is to use electronic sound sources in a way that feels organic, essentially “bringing the background to the forefront”. While the piano still features on tracks like the wistful “Kagami” or the waltzing “Everthus the Ether”, Eckerson introduces reverb, foley, and orchestral electronic arrangements to create lush, emotive textures which reach their pinnacle with the penultimate “Pathway”, a track which bears comparisons to a subdued Sigur Rós.

So, pull up a chair, get comfortable, and have a listen for yourself courtesy of this full album streaming premiere:

I didn’t use a lot of different electronic instruments for the album, but rather I focused on what each instrument could bring to the table in terms of texture, noise, organic sounds, and subtle details that could all be combined into something that was an experience. Something that took the listener on an auditory journey without them having to make an effort to get there.

Tristan Eckerson

Links: Bandcamp (LP/digital) | Tristan Eckerson | Beacon Sound

Journey Test is available in a limited-edition black vinyl LP with design by Studio Benhardt as well as digital download and streaming. In addition to Purple Decades and his solo albums, you can hear Eckerson’s work behind a number of award-winning commercials, short films, and web series.