Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery
(not official cover art)
For those who follow the site, Willis Earl Beal has continually been the subject of many an article on ResonantPassage. Perhaps this has a little to do with the site’s proclivity for blues and his intriguing backstory, but one cannot deny the strikingly raw musical ability of Beal. Admittedly, the heavily lo-fi production of Acousmatic Sorcery may convince some to disregard the record, but for this writer, that divisive sound is what gives Beal’s debut a distinct, gritty character. Simply put, the album feels as if it is from a different era entirely, out of place in this electronic-laden musical universe. The music aptly reflects the bare-bones honesty of the artist’s lyricism, and the greatest instrument of the record is the voice of Willis Earl Beal, which can range from intense and commanding (“Take Me Away“) to downright soothing (“Monotony”). His days of dropping CD-Rs on random street corners and playing songs for people over the phone may be coming to a close, but Acousmatic Sorcery still has all the feel of an intimate performance from an undiscovered prodigy.