Connor Bush offers a track-by-track breakdown of the new EP, which showcases the care, complexity and creativity that make up the music of the “sometimes solo project, sometimes four-piece band”
While some bands are easy to explain—whether due to a definitive style, a specific schtick or an easily classifiable sound—with certain musicians, it’s impossible to describe the magic of their music with words alone. That’s how I feel about Aisle Knot.
I try not to begin every write-up by citing the source of my discovery; catching a band live or having their songs appear in my inbox doesn’t make for an interesting story or serve as a memorable meet-cute. But I think it is important to mention when you really felt something at that first moment. How the music captured your interest, sparked your imagination and hit that strange sweet spot in your chest—the one whose existence you’re only reminded of on occasion, when you’re suddenly hit with that particular pang that’s equal parts sadness, sweetness and a little bit of awe. That’s what I experienced when I first saw the band at The Broadway… again when I caught a Golden Hour set on the Our Wicked Lady roof… and a third time when I soaked up a solo synth set by Aisle Knot’s Connor Bush while sitting crosslegged on the floor at the Footlight.
Not to break out French phrases on a Friday afternoon, but there’s a je ne sais quois to the Brooklyn “sometimes solo project, sometimes four-piece band,” whose songs strike that emotional chord in a way that few bands do for me. They’re often dreamy and sometimes twangy, a little eerie and occasionally emo, implementing countless instruments, incorporating unconventional sound effects and infused with ambient and experimental elements that, while they do come through on stage, are even better noticed, experienced and absorbed in recorded form, where the care and complexity can come through and Connor’s creativity is even more obvious with every listen.
Today, Aisle Knot dropped Reasons for the Dead, a beauty of a five-track EP that showcases Connor’s skill, style and sound a thousand times better than I ever could. And I urge you to listen to it. Again and again and again.
“Listening back, I think these songs walk the line between being melodramatic and genuine, and I am glad because I like that area,” Connor told me of the EP over email. “I think and hope it stirs up an uncanny feeling when listened to. Aisle Knot is both a band and a solo project. This EP was written and recorded by myself (Connor), but we have also recorded a full album as a band that we are very excited to eventually share.”
As is custom for track-by-track features, Connor also sent over insights on each of the record’s five tracks, in which he sings of clarity and closure, holding on and letting go, and shared some thoughts on the meditation practice, ASMR elements and stories that he pulled from and worked with to create the EP.
REASONS FOR THE DEAD—TRACK BY TRACK
“I don’t really know what a ‘catapult of change’ is, but I think it means a momentous event of clarity. These moments are so essential to our lives, but it is very difficult to know when they will occur. I love the song ‘Change’ by Laraaji where he says ‘if you can stay loving through change, you can stay loving through life.'”
“Reasons for the Dead”
‘The narrator of this song really wants everything to make sense after his sister and baby die and he has mystical experiences at both of their funerals that give him some peace.”
“Hold On to Everything”
“My friend Tyler taught me a meditation where you breathe in ‘I know nothing’ and breathe out ‘What do I know?’, and it was very helpful at the time, and I think this song is looking to do a similar thing.”
“I don’t really regularly listen to ASMR, but it’s really fun to whisper into a mic with headphones on, and I hope here it enhances the rest of the song. I really like how the synths turned out on this song.”
“Help Me, I’m Alone”
“We’ve played this song as a full band and at the end we all sing “help me, I’m alone’ together, and it’s really fun. I recorded this version alone though so it’s just me singing with myself. I’m really happy with how the guitar sounds on this song. I think this song would be awesome sung an octave down and with a bit of a country drawl, but I couldn’t really pull that off.”
While some records are great blasted as background music, this one deserves to be listened to with intention, while paying attention. I can’t wait for you to do just that and discover the magic of Aisle Knot for yourself.
Feature image provided by the artist.