East Forest: 'Pacific Coast Highway'

East Forest 300

Trevor Oswalt of East Forest is interested in the musical qualities inherent in nature--from the sounds of crickets to "how the chopping of wood can become a snare drum." Karina Towers hide caption

itoggle caption Karina Towers

The music of Brooklyn artist East Forest is difficult to classify. With such diverse sound effects and samples as frogs croaking, children playing, side walk preachers preaching, and a New York subway door closing, The Education of the Individual Soul is tied to both nature and to everyday urban life, giving it the qualities of a sort of ethereal and mystical modern-day fairytale. Trevor Oswalt, the driving force behind East Forest, refers to his music as "ambient-electro-acoustic-post-rock," or "Shaman-rock" for short.

It was intentional on Oswalt's part not to include any sung lyrics on his album. Instead, he includes samples of original field recordings, looped over layers and layers of ambient sound and gentle instrumentation. On the opening and concluding tracks, for instance, Oswalt includes sound clips of a man named Court Johnson of Santa Barbara, CA who holds impromptu late night court sessions. To Oswalt, vocals would have detracted from the album's organic quality. "I like how little performance there is in a person chatting at a table or just in a bird song and how it can also contain such depth, honest, and real soul," he says.

Oswalt has chosen to make The Education of the Individual Soul available as a free download on the East Forest home page. It is his hope that his music will "promote introspection and personal growth" and "put a few cracks in the hypnotic spell of our modern life."

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