Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart

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Into the Depths

Fathom strings together heart-heavy new mixtape

Zack Katz, photos by Mariah Hamm

FATHOM THIS. A veteran in Eau Claire’s hip-hop scene, Fathom, the moniker of Cory Crowell, just released a new mixtape called The Heart and the Brain, fresh off a big show with Seattle rapper Grieves.
FATHOM THIS. A veteran in Eau Claire’s hip-hop scene, Fathom, the moniker of Cory Crowell, just released a new mixtape called The Heart and the Brain, fresh off a big show with Seattle rapper Grieves.

One of Eau Claire’s longest standing rappers seems bent on pushing characteristically anti-hip-hop material: the sort of push that traditionalists might shove back at.

Cory Crowell, better identified by locals scanning show flyers as Fathom, isn’t bored with the conventional, he just knows himself better than to continue that route.

“I said forget all the hip-hop, I just want to do things exactly how I’m seeing them,” He said. “I’m turning 30 and this is my coming into skin, no longer caring what other people want to hear.”

The Heart and the Brain is Crowell’s freshest output as of May 29, an eight-track makeshift mixtape assemblage that’s intimate like the bedroom location where it was recorded. 

Featureless, and nearly breathless from one end to the other, Fathom said his fourth definitive solo run is the most honest since the beginning with his first performance nine years ago at Eau Claire’s Hip-Hop Invasion.

“I really like to pull out all that I am and give it to people filter-free.” – Cory Crowell, a.k.a. Fathom, on his featureless new mixtape, The Heart and the Brain

Crowell said the tracks were originally recorded as a demo to create a band and although that plan unraveled, catharsis brought him to release them free-of-charge via his bandcamp.

There’s nothing cryptic about his attempted shift from raw hip-hop with his 2012 album Tracks to taking cuts at the rougher facets of romance, from what he considers heartaches to operating in relationships that aren’t exactly working out.

Although a small handful of local producers are available, on The Heart and the Brain Crowell dabbled with instrumentals by a varying array of sources like post-rock outfit This Will Destroy You and English electronic producer Lapalux.

On top of his rap group Wayward, the ambitious spread of genres to be found in Fathom’s solo work should clue you into his resume of slam poetry, metal, folk rap, techno, and he might even entertain the idea lacing bluegrass tunes with his rhymes.

“I really like to pull out all that I am and give it to people filter-free,” Crowell said.

“Because beer and booze just doesn’t always cut it.”

Crowell is definitely carrying buzz from a recent set with Rhymesayers heavyweight Grieves all the way into this fall, where a series of noteworthy, yet-to-be-announced shows await.

Until then, chances are Fathom will be found ripping poetry sets at Stone’s Throw downtown – catch him there and maybe let him pour you a drink at the bar after.

Download Fathom’s new album The Heart and The Brain free of charge on his Bandcamp page at fathomguff.bandcamp.com and check him out on Facebook.

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.