Earthquake Park by sceptre fretpen

Release date: March 21, 2019
Label: Self-Released

On March 21st, Portland-based duo, sceptre fretpen release their sophomore album, Earthquake Park. It is a follow up to their 2016 debut EP PLUGH, which I had the pleasure of reviewing as well. sceptre fretpen was developed in 2010 by musicians Phil Gregory and Zak Schulhoff. With this release, the duo continues their improvisational explorations through interesting, intricate and beautiful soundscapes, forging a wonderful path for fans to follow.

The album is made up of seven tracks and is just over 30 minutes in length. The track titles hold succinct nuggets to spark the imagination and start the listener on the path of synaptic awakening. As with PLUGH, Earthquake Park also reminded of the band, Boards of Canada, with their creative piecing together of sound and hypnotic beats.

The album is truly a journey through sound. With the first two tracks, ‘Looking Forward’ and ‘Frostignites’ setting the tone with their shimmering layers and cool beats.

‘Holding Dots’ is one of my favourite tracks off the album. It’s a zone out track. I delighted in the changes introduced throughout the piece. So many layers all combining to form this sense of space. I found it blossomed as it progressed to reveal something beautiful.

‘Growing Springs’ has an interesting beat structure. I loved the reverse effect. I found it light-hearted and I had the sense of something washing over me as I listened. Again, the layers are incredible in this track.

‘Silverleaf’ has an ominous start with its low drone start. I really loved the change introduced three quarters into the track.

Another favourite is ‘Tangents Mansion’ with its luminous start, it sparkles all the way through. I love the underlying layer of noise and at one point, this layer is subtracted from the group of layers making every other layer morph into this clean, untouched layer of sound. I found this illuminating.

With ‘kineticbreath’, I love the slow meandering beat and all its layers. The ending is gold. Another layer is introduced near the end that is different from the rest of the track and it was a great way to end the journey.

Earthquake Park is a great album and sceptre fretpen are masters of sound.

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