Ernest Gonzales: Self-Awakening
FoF Music

With the Self Awakening EP, Exponential Records head Ernest Gonzales offers a hint of what we can expect when the full-length Been Meaning to Tell You appears in February 2010. The twenty-six-minute EP supplements two original tracks with remixes and cover versions by Faunts, Take, CYNE, Mexicans with Guns, and Yppah. Gonzales' own tracks amount to only six minutes of the total running time, so while we get a modest teaser of the album itself, we get generous samplings of music from the guests.

“Self-Awakening” (the title inspired by the final scene in the film Vanilla Sky when the protagonist, David, must choose between living in a dream world or confronting the challenges of living in the real world) opens the EP nicely with a buoyantly skipping, guitar-powered slice of effervescent electro-pop, while Gonzales' other original, the jubilant “We Can Live in the Forest,” resembles a vocal-less New Order in its galloping interweave of bass and guitar lines.

In its “Self-Awakening” remix, Canadian post-rock outfit Faunts twists the beat around until the original's chiming guitar melodies are powered by a slinky shuffle pulse and offset by a blanket of fuzz-toned treatments. Entirely different in spirit, LA beatsmeister Take (Sweatson Klank) converts it into a tripped-out, hip-hop-influenced head nodder. CYNE elevates “Upon the 49th Day” with the group's trademark beat artistry and MC vocalizing, while Yppah (Joe Corrales Jr.) does much the same with his uplifting take on “Etchasketch Trees.” As good as they are, the EP's best cut might be Mexicans With Guns' exuberant treatment of “I'm Here You're There,” which boosts its dubstep-influenced beatsmithing with a euphoric vibe.

FoF is planning on giving Been Meaning to Tell You, the label's first ever full-length, the deluxe treatment. In addition to Gonzales' originals, there'll be an acompanying album of sixteen remixes and covers featuring contributions from Daedelus, Aether, and others, plus the release will come with a book of artists' visual interpretations of the songs.

January 2010