Indie electro-soul duo, Smoke Season dropped their latest EP, Ouroboros. Packed with Jason Rosen’s ethereal guitar work and Gabrielle Wortman’s mountainous vocal range, Ouroboros is without a doubt Smoke Season’s most lush and fully realized work yet. It is now available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and limited release physical CDs are available at smokeseason.com/shop.
Smoke Season caught the attention of noted music journalists with their cinematic indie rock and soulful vocals on earlier releases, and the new Ouroboros EP provides us with their most sophisticated sonic effort to date. The EP highlights the layered, ethereal Americana flavor that has become synonymous with Smoke Season, while simultaneously exploring more mature and driving beats as well as their most refined productions and arrangements. The result is a body of work that at times evokes the production styles of Sylvan Esso or The XX and, at others, the psychedelic arrangements and songwriting of The War on Drugs or Tame Impala. In the end, these sonic textures coupled with lead singer, Wortman’s ferocious and dexterous vocals solidifies Smoke Season’s sound in a class all its own.
“The songs on this newest EP really capture the heart and soul of who we are as artists in this moment.” Jason Rosen describes the direction of the songs as “1 part electronic beats, 1 part psychedelic soul and 2 parts whiskey under the Mojave Desert stars.” The first single, “Loose,” is electro-soul at its finest, featuring a driving beat, atmospheric breakdowns and lyrical finesse. In less than 4 minutes, Smoke Season’s “Loose” packs in the versatility and sophistication reminiscent of the best Alt-J or Portishead tracks. The second song on the EP, “When The Smoke Clears,” showcases the duo’s knack for unique vocal sampling off the bat and continues to refine its unique production throughout its length. The third song, “Emilia,” evokes a haunted lullaby with a 1950’s doo-wop-esque chord progression, culminating in a powerful soulful climax. Finally, “Santa Rosa,” drives home Smoke Season’s Americana roots with its Kurt Vile-esque guitar tones and a surprising powerhouse, up-tempo beat. Throughout each song, Smoke Season continually demonstrates lyrical prowess, pulling at our heartstrings with lines like “why can’t simple love me?” “there is gold in our veins” and “leave behind what you can’t chase.” Finally, the EP’s “Intro” and “Outro” serve to further drive home the feeling that the body of work as a whole is a cohesive and emotionally connected feat.
Kyle Draper and Dave Burris of Mateo Sound produced the Ouroboros EP, with additional programming and mix by Chris Mullings (The Neighbourhood, LP).
Ouroboros is, at its core, a concept album and even the EP’s title tells a story, stemming from the Greek symbol of the snake eating itself. “One interpretation of the Ouroboros myth is that destruction is only temporary and we are reborn from the ruin,” Wortman explains. To fully realize this concept, Smoke Season teamed up with Scott Fleishman of APLUSFILMZ to write and develop a short film and story that demonstrates the interconnectedness of the human experience. The duo collaborated with a team of actors, models, writers, producers and crew to create the film. The story plot continues throughout each of the music videos for the EP’s singles. So far, the duo has released the videos for “Loose” and “When The Smoke Clears.” Videos for the remaining tracks will be released later this spring.