More than a decade in the making, Esa Shields’ album Ovum Caper finally arrived late last year, but as Getintothis’ David Yates discovers, it was well worth the wait.
Is it possible for someone in 2014 to release an album with zero online presence while not even possessing an email address?
Liverpool’s enigmatic musical craftsman, Esa Shields shows us that it is – albeit a slow process. Ovum Caper was recorded over the course of a decade and emerged to little fanfare back in September 2014 via Bandcamp and the German independent label Gagarin Records.
Esa’s album was created in a flat overlooking Sefton Park on a 12-track home-studio, in among a mind-bogglingly large collection of vinyl. He creates sounds that pulse from the strangely discordant to a hugely melodic bedroom orchestral feel which underpin Esa’s playful, other-worldly voice.
Esa recently told Nerve that he sees his songs as ‘pop songs’ and this sensibility can be most strongly felt on album track Shelley Duvall. Esa’s psychedelic leanings are evident in Woods and Gullies which was featured on the cover mount CD of November’s The Wire.
A dark psychedelic mood pervades the entire album, created in part through Esa’s use of irregular chord formations and tunings, ignoring traditional sounds and creating his own textures by ear. It’s both beautiful and disquieting. It pulls you in despite it’s somewhat discomforting aura.
Esa’s solo album comes after stints in Merseyside-based bands such as Seawitches and Snap Ant as well as collaborations with musicians such as Dominic “Dominoes” Lewington and Claire Welles while his live performances date back to 2004 sharing stages with Pop Levi and the Korova alumni.
Following a number of solo gigs around the city, backed by his mini-disc player, Esa is currently planning to put together a live band to perform tracks from Ovum Caper.
Esa’s influences are many and varied; he has a fascination with 1970s and ’80s TV adverts and foreign TV idents while musical influences derive from the likes of Delia Derbyshire, Todd Rundgren, Warren Zevon and Syd Barrett.
Ovum Caper is available in Probe on vinyl and can also be downloaded via Bandcamp (stream below) while a follow up album is currently in the works. Judging by his latest output, we hope the results will arrive far sooner than his recent efforts.