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ARTIST
TITLE
This Was Paradise
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
BB 368CD BB 368CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
6/4/2021

Irish producer Chris W Ryan (Just Mustard, NewDad, Robocobra Quartet) began releasing music under the moniker Sorbet in 2020 with the express intention to cleanse the palate; both for the listener and himself. Spending much of his time in the studio with other artists, Chris took inspiration from producer-led albums like Brian Eno's Another Green World: "I love the way you can hear the playful interaction between friends on an album like that --there are none of the constraints or rules that you might have when you're trying to represent the sound of a live band or artist." Exploring freely across genre bounds, the world of Sorbet is informed by electronic music just as much as classical and alt-pop, with nods to artists like Laurie Anderson, Arthur Russell, Kate Bush, and David Byrne. Inspired by this freedom of creativity, the debut Sorbet album This Was Paradise features a host of collaborators orbiting around Chris's nucleus, in which he flexes his ability as a composer and technician in equal measure. These collaborations include vocal features from Maija Sofia, Mark McCambridge (Arborist), and Mícheál Keating (Bleeding Heart Pigeons) as well as powerful instrumental performances from musicians working in the jazz and classical world poached by Chris, such as jazz saxophonist Lara Jones and upright bass player Jack Kelly. Jones and Kelly feature on lead single "I Heard His Scythe", a song which slices through the despair with an optimistic nihilism that is central to the record. Featuring a musical backing that nods to Kate Bush's "Watching You Without Me" alongside Maija Sofia's airy refrain rebutting the grim reaper. All of this sonic looseness is bound tightly by the concept behind This Was Paradise: a rumination on humanity's precarious position in a living purgatory. "We're stuck between Paradise and Hell, always swinging between the two as a result of how we behave towards each other and our planet." This duality is represented in the binary use of electronic and acoustic instruments, especially in the case of album closer "(Hell)" -- a recording split right down the middle between a string quartet and four synthesizers. "Aesthetically I wanted to hang in the balance of electronic and acoustic composition: between the natural world and humanity's imprint on it." Therein lies the central theme of This Was Paradise -- an album littered with references to Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost which opens with Adam being expelled from the Garden of Eden for "Man's first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree."