Wanted to share with y’all that I have a new album coming out on May 20th via Western Vinyl. It’s about getting turned into a Time Frog and hopping through deep geological epochs.
The first single, Temporal Dryft is out now. Here’s a animation I made with my good pal Jordan Speer:
Stream / Pre-Order Link
About the release:
Having crested the west coast modular-ambient wave in just a few releases-- including 2018’s Sharing Waves on the influential LA experimental imprint Leaving Records-- Sean Hellfritsch has swapped the mossy analog synth improvisations of his prior output for refined melodic arrangements dressed in sprightly dawn-of-digital textures. Big Earth Energy plumbs the depths of Hellfritsch’s multimedia mind and naturalist heart, spinning an impressionistic narrative world off of cultural touchstones like the PC game MYST, and the work of Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi. Inspired by the aforementioned, and guided by Hellfritsch’s experience as an animator and filmmaker, Big Earth Energy is the soundtrack to a hypothetical video game with a pointedly ecological premise, and a twist of psychedelic charm. In Hellfritsch’s imagined virtual journey, the player assumes the perspective of a treefrog sixty-five-million years ago, hopping epochs with each new level, forming a comprehensive picture of the massive changes the planet has gone through over the eons. The ultimate goal of the game is not to amass resources, defeat enemies, or gain power, but to fully witness the unfolding of one of the biggest systems of energy imaginable-- or as the album’s creator puts it-- “to explore the incomprehensibly vast energetic expression and mystery that is Earth.”
Big Earth Energy is steeped in exploratory RPG intrigue, possibility, and contemplation, lovingly overlaid with Miyazaki-an sentiments and aesthetics. The through-composed, organic, meandering synthesis heard on previous Cool Maritime albums has been fully replaced by meticulous polygonal arrangements that recall the computerized sheen of late 80s work by composers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, and Yoichiro Yoshikawa-- using true-to-period gear no less.
Even given its referentiality, Big Earth Energy comes off as forward-facing where so much reminiscent music remains fixed to a bygone moment in pop culture. Hellfritsch has created a musical world where the endless verdancy of the biosphere finds its parallel in the golden age of early 1990s video games, and late 80s Japanese environmental music, all while pointing to a hopeful planetary and artistic future that vindicates the motives of all of these muses.
Excited + grateful to be able to share these tunes. Thanks for listening!
what an iconic album cover!
beautiful to see (and hear) something new from ya
the album art was so fun to make. a collaboration with two really good friends and frequent collaborators. isaiah saxon started off with a quick concept sketch based on my ideas around the album, then jordan speer did the modeling, layout & first pass of materials and lighting. i then went in and did a pass on the lighting & materials, a few layout tweaks, and the final stage of color + FX in photoshop.
can’t wait to share the rest of the album… soon!
Can’t wait to hear the full release! Sharing Waves is in pretty constant rotation over here
Usually I describe video game soundtrack music as having a Megadrive sound, but this is distinctly SNES. David Wise would be proud!
oh yeah! i love some of those donkey kong country tracks SO much. thanks for listening
such a beautiful lead single and that cover is just incredible. congrats and can’t wait to hear the rest!
Cool, i dig those shortcuts to yoshimura et aal.
Can’t wait to hear the album. single is sounding fantastic.
Wow, I love everything about this: the concept, the references and inspiration, the album art, the music itself, and the whole mood… lovely lovely lovely!
edit: preordered the vinyl
Oh god! So excited about this. A much-anticipated release round these parts
Wow, what a trip this is going to be. Excited to hear the whole album.
(Plus although I listen to very little vinyl these days, this is one of those albums where I’m thinking of ordering a physical copy just to have a printed large version of the album cover…)
thanksss @saeflod + @ampism + @andrew + @kbra for your support, enthusiasm & kind words. SO stoked this music is connecting with you.
@andrew there may be a game someday… jordan and i have been talking about crowdfunding a project…
It’s new single day :)))
(visualizer by Jordan Speer)
Apex is the final piece on the album. Because this music was composed for an imagined video game, I invite you, the listener, to imagine for yourself how the story ends.
When I wrote this I was reflecting on the eternally iterative flow of nature - how it’s always changing and growing to adapt - reaching for a peak that is itself, constantly in motion. I couldn’t think of anything more beautiful and hopeful. I was also mourning the massive loss of biodiversity that increases every day. I found myself suspended between parallel feelings of deep joyful awe and profoundly overwhelming sadness.
Thank you so much for listening!
Woah, only now found this, “Temporal Dryft” must be the coolest song I heard in quite a while. Absolutely gorgeous!
The 3rd and final single from this album is out today!
(visualizer by Jordan Speer)
What is the Secret of the Megafauna? Only a TIME FROG knows…
This piece is a meditation on utopia. An ideal of perfectly balanced stasis. Is it possible? Whether or not, I find the optimism invigorating.
Full album is coming out next week!!!
It’s here! Available physically and digitally in all the usual places.
Thanks for listening
@shellfritsch congrats sean! i’ve been really hyped for this and am not disappointed, really digging it