What I’m Listening To: Ari Herstand – Your Eyes

Written By Simon Chisholm

Ari Herstand is an independent multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter based out of L.A. I came across this track somewhere on Tumblr. It was accompanied with a caption something along the lines of ‘love this song’, or ‘so me right now’, which piqued my interest. What are social networking sites for if not to share music that moves us?

This is one of those truly beautiful songs that stop you in your tracks. The overall effect of the track is relaxing and emotionally moving. The mix is very spacious and airy, which supplies that element of relaxation.

The song tells the story of a relationship. It is a melancholy recount of the trials and tribulations in the search for love. The lyrics  communicate angst, frustration and heartbreak. The track concludes with our protagonist showing acceptance.

The instrumentation is sparse. The main instrumentation is the vocal and piano with a steel string acoustic guitar. As the track progresses, the texture and intensity builds with the aid of adding instruments. We hear a string interlude and a weeping accompaniment, as well as a female vocal and, towards the end, a classic rock band. The piano motif in the conclusion of the song is pretty. It is nicely timed and executed.

Ari’s vocal is almost strained. It sounds as if Ari is in pain or trying to sing quietly so as to not wake someone. It has an intense, breaking quality that implies emotion, that he is choked up over the events he is recounting.

Deep underneath the mix is a low rumble and click, what I would identify as the sound of a vinyl record. The quality that give a vinyl record its ‘warm’ sound.

The arrangement, instrumentation and movement of the track mimic the turmoil and emotion of the relationship. As the story unfolds the track builds into full rock band instrumentation including groovy electric guitar solo. The arrangement is a progression. The structure is made up of a number of different sections building to the conclusion. I’ve labelled them thus: Intro/ Passage 1/ Interlude/ Passage 2/ Build-up/ Conclusion.

The performance is not virtuosic, but it is crafted ingeniously from start to finish.

Sit down and listen.

Ari is known for his live looping performances, check out the one below.

‘Your Eyes’ appears on the album ‘Whispering Endearments’ released independently in 2008 by Proud HoneyBee Productions.

What I’m Listening To: Ari Herstand – Your Eyes

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