Two Castles adds emotional weight on new lo-fi EP
Eric Christenson began making sparse lo-fi slices of pop music more than five years ago, a craft he’s meticulously honed into his most recent work as Two Castles. After debuting his new moniker at the beginning of 2015, Christenson has gradually incorporated more and more tenets of electronic music into his songs, from the mournful synth counter-melodies in “Elegant Nights” to the aqueous breakdown in last summer’s standout cut “Liquor.”
A new year brings new material – this time in the form of a three-song EP called Night Talk (find it at soundcloud.com/twocastles).
Christenson packs a lot into just 10 minutes: The opening number “Two Tuff” is his most extroverted work to date, with a commanding, arpeggiated introduction punctuated by a soaring vocal hook, while “Week 17” repurposes an early demo for shuffling, understated musings about broken cars and lost love. The best is saved for last, however, as “Porch” successfully distills Christenson’s ethos into a combination of nocturnal pulses and crystalline synthesizer shimmers. “Two Castles has been a learning process,” Christenson says. “I’m a slow writer in almost everything, so it takes time to get things right.”
Most of his songs steer clear of impulsion, and are instead the byproduct of months of tweaking and absorbing. “It takes time to gather all the pieces I need to feel good about a song,” he continues. “That happened with ‘Porch.’ I had an old version of that song that I thought was done, and I was sitting on it forever. Then I revisited it and added some layers, and now it’s ready.”
Christenson closes out “Porch” with the refrain “I hope this gets to you,” its repetition quickly amassing emotional weight and further driving home the effectiveness of simplicity in Two Castles material. On Night Talk, Christenson’s mantra is received clearly.