LP Walkthru: Echo Omen - New Moon, Ancient Eye
Great Southern W.A. artist talks us through his stunning debut album of indietronica & atmospheric beats
After dropping his single Moojar featuring veteran Boorloo-based MC Mathas and local Noongar language choir Koondarm last month, Denmark-based producer, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Echo Omen has unveiled his debut album, New Moon, Ancient Eye.
The product of a commitment to write, record and release a new song for each new moon of the year in 2022 by Matthew Bracknell AKA Echo Omen, New Moon, Ancient Eye is a collection of substories that are greater than the sum of their parts. With Bracknell’s songwriting inspired by everything from changing relationship dynamics and personal struggles with addiction to becoming a parent and finding a sense of place within one’s own cultural background, the album’s songs form an overarching narrative of a search for self and belonging.
Being crafted in a one month span over a year means that the 12 songs that make up New Moon, Ancient Eye are both sonically connected while being distinct and unique, as Bracknell explores a range of influences and styles. From the stripped back, fragile indie folk of Echoes and Victor to the trip hop and downtempo beats of Family and Solarescent Lullaby and everything in between, New Moon, Ancient Eye takes the listeners through mellow moods and memorable melodies while keeping a focus on visceral storytelling.
Bracknell explains “In late 2021 I made a commitment to write, record and release a new song every new moon. Every song would have a music video and every song would have an accompanying art piece created in collaboration with different WA artists. I was creatively constipated, half finished songs clogging up my hard drive and my belly, I needed a system in place to hold myself accountable to finish projects and share them. Sharing is the most vulnerable step and I felt ready to conjure up the courage.
The birth of this commitment began around the birth of my daughter. Lyrics explore my transition into fatherhood and my frustrating dance with addiction. Songs are also heavily themed with my journey around cultural belonging; attempting to remember the land based ways of my own ancestral line whilst simultaneously, as a Wadjela, attempting to come into relation with the ancient stories that sing within the place of my birth, Menang Noongar Boodja.”
To celebrate the release of New Moon, Ancient Eye, Bracknell was kind enough to take us through the record track by track - have a listen and get to know below!
Hahaha... Great Spirit
The first single from the new moon project. With meditative melodies upon a smooth subtle groove, this track explores the shape of the eye and its countless expressions within nature.
Water is the name of this song and it features some spoken word poetry by a good friend. Its a really special song for me as it tell the story of water flowing through the landscape in which I grew up. Diving from the clouds onto Bula Miyal (Bluff Knoll,) soaking into the soil and traveling within the root networks of different plants like Mungart (Acacia acuminata,) forming into a river at Tamungup (Upper Kalgan,) and making the journey through the Harbour and into the ocean where Maamang (Whale) spits the water through his blowhole back into the clouds to cycle around again….And again.
I created the foundations and lyrics of this song while spending time at Warralong in the Pilbara. One particular night I was listening to the night sky and letting my gaze loosen and slip into the spaces in between the stars. I could feel information falling into my mind like a fine mist whispering subtle sounds. I slept deeply in my swag that night and arose in the morning to write this track.
This song was created as I soothed and serenaded a dear friend while he was dying. He was a lover of music. He held an appreciation and knowledge for sound deeper than anyone I have met. Throat cancer had eventually stolen his voice and all he could do was listen. I grabbed his guitar, sat beside him and improvised. This song is what emerged.
Home in Here
This track was created in collaboration with my friend Michael Simpson. I sent the basic structure of a song to him and he created a beautiful poem inspired by the music and his connection to country. I then threaded his lyrics with my own into the song and voila! The chorus sings of fire, when wielded with balance, being a sculptor of homes… from our own hearths, to hollows in a tree canopy, to a charcoal cavern under a grass tree.
The lyrics of this song were created in collaboration with Wren Richards, my ex partner. Years ago we sat in Manning Park on a beautiful day and played with poetry to express our dream of having children. I am fascinated by how much art and its message changes depending on where you are experiencing it from. I am in a very different place now and the lyrics reveal a different meaning. This happens a lot with old songs or poetry that I reflect on years later, new stories emerge.
My dear friend Elsie Harbour and I collaborated on this track and she reads a poem through the verse. The song began when our friendship began. Being both creatively artistic people, we felt inspired to write a song together. We captured different samples as we explored a placed on the banks of the Derbarl Yerrigan and sufficiently nurtured the idea. Though it was until a couple of years later that I managed to bring the track to a point resembling completion. Stoked to now be able to share it. Elsie also created the artwork for this song. Really beautiful piece and felt perfect for her to create it.
This track features Myla Rose and Michael Rummer. We created and recorded a rap verse each and being a first for all three of us, we went through quite a process. It has definitely inspired me to weave this art form into more of my music. I find rap helps me share from a more vulnerable and personal place and my lyrics seem to emerge less dense with poetic mystery. Really fun stuff!
Us & The Chaos
I created this track up North in Jigalong. I was with a small crew setting up a musical banquet for the kids to jam on over the school holidays. We are talking the full spread… Guitars, bass, drum kit, microphones, keyboards, percussion, sample pads, ukuleles, xylophones and more. Heaps of fun… Absolute musical chaos! Over my years as a musician I had been taught a certain way that music should sound like, but here in the chaos, when I was able to let that musical structure go I found a wellspring of peace. I started hearing complex rhythms and unique melody. I discovered harmony amongst the disharmony… and of course I found this song! Or it found me.
Echoes is a collaboration between my partner Myla Rose and I. On our first date Myla read a poem that really touched my heart. She was in the process of writing a book of poetry and eventually when the book launch came around, I turned the poem into this song. It feels really special to have had this art with us from the beginning of our relationship and its beautiful to share it with you all in its current form.
The main melody of this track is a little song I have been humming to my daughter Ilyara since her days in the womb. Upon her emergence the melody became a song I would use to calm her or sing her to sleep. Recording it was really special and once I added a beat it soon morphed into one of my favourite tracks. I explore the venerable art form of rap to tell the story of Ilyara’s conception, my transition into fatherhood and our relationship as a family.
Moojar features ‘Koondarm’ choir and veteran Boorloo Mc ‘Mathas.’ Koodnarm is a choir I sang in for years while I was living around Fremantle. Led by Kobi Arther Morrison, the choir holds a space for young adults to build understanding of Nyoongar language and culture through music. The other feature artist, Mathas, is one of my all time favourite rappers. For a long time I have been in awe of the way he weaves his art form so raw, eloquent and honest. Such an honour to collaborate with him and to now call him a friend. Moojar is the Nyoongar name for the WA Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda) and is the central presence in this song, connecting all of our own stories and relationships with this tree together. Definitely one of the tracks I am most proud of.
- Echo Omen, February 2023