June 5, 2020
Written in 2019 as a prophecy and vision of what was to come in 2020
Most underrated artist of 2020. This album is a whole masterpiece. This album has first beaten and then caressed my heart. I’ve enjoyed this album so much. Best underground album of 2020. – Music Surface
One of the best underground albums of 2020, this new offering by American songwriter and producer, Erik David Hidde, is a revelation. With songs that have the qualities of space and silence that characterized the Post-Rock era of Talk Talk, but with the immediacy of a band like The National, that for the record, the singer really reminds me of Matt Berninger. This is an album that demands your attention, because it is commanding and powerful. These little songs sound so huge, that the way Erik crafted these songs is nothing but marvelous. Tackling concepts that are more present in our times, like loneliness, depression, faith, etc. This album is the finest example of what art is in the times of a global pandemic.
It feels human, songs like “The Art of This” “A Figment of Your Imagination” and “The Holy Wild” are some of the best songs on an already amazing album. And they represent the sonic identity of this project so well. With dramatic instrumentation, and electronic elements, that will rise the hairs on your back. This short album has a lot of replay value, because while the songs are slow in pace and structure, there is also a sense of getting back to hearing them, because they are strangely catchy. – The Darkside Reviews
’20/20′ is an amazing album. This album is emotionally engaging within the first minute. You can feel the heart and soul put into it. The best part about ’20/20′ is how it makes you feel so much in only 23 minutes. The amount of talent put into this project deserves it more attention. Amazing underground album, one of my favorites of the year. – Delta Reviews
Declarative and bold… tonal similarity to Matt Berninger (The National), you know the lyrics will be introspective truth and deeply transparent. Put “Patience/Human Interaction” in a movie with two long lost loves. They see each other from across the boardwalk, and for a minute and 20 seconds they just start at each other, and just as Prison Escapee sings the first verse, they run into an urgent embrace.
It’s clear that faith is paramount to all else in these tracks. He ends the song (Too Soon) with “Praise your name, Father”, as he remembers where lies his anchor. If you stripped all the vocals out of this album, there may be some songs where one may ask, “Is this The Album Leaf?” This hymn (The Holy Wild) is a lo-fi, electronic proclamation of faith, but the music is a backdrop for self-reflection. – The Audio Glow
Hidde’s voice is unique, earthy and satisfying to the ear while also keeping a haunting otherworldly quality. I would quantify it by comparing it to Nick Cave or late Bob Dylan. The album has a very thoughtful tone and musically the haunting strings, piano, post-rock riffs, drum tracks and shimmering synths suit the feeling of the album and pair well with Hidde’s voice. It’s an album that requires listening to more than once, I have begun to find it quite addictive, and the intricacies of the production come out more with each listen. – Good Sounds Big Talk
I need to start by saying if you like The National, you’ll love this because it takes qualities that makes them great and expands on it. His voice is so reminiscent of Matt Berninger and I’m all here for it. The album as a whole is bleak and slow but there’s a beauty he creates in the bleakness from the instrumentation under his voice. The rawness and truth behind the vocals hit you hard, but also keep you moving forward and coming back for more. This is one of the heaviest, rawest, and best albums of the year from a musical and emotional standpoint. – Those Groovy Tunes
Direct lyrics cut to the chase and describe his feelings perfectly. Grabs your attention and keeps you hanging onto each note. I really thought it was all professionally recorded and produced, so finding out it was all done by him makes it that much more impressive. I loved listening to this album and I know I’ll find myself coming back to it over and over. – Beat Critiques
The indisputable highlight of this project is production; Erik creates an almost orchestral soundscape in every track. The intriguing vocals also stand out, with a solid performance from Erik on every track. This is a really great project that I would highly recommend. – Reviewed Rated Ranked
Erik writes, records, mixes and produces all of his music in his living room. It takes an incredible amount of talent to do just one of those things. To do all four and in a not so professional environment, not bolstered by wealthy CEO’s and wealthy record label executives is really, really impressive given the sound that this record has, it sounds like it was recorded in a concert hall. Raw and emotional lyrics that are really relatable to what we are going through now in 2020, I’m almost reminded of The National type of vibe.
The centerpiece, “The Art of This” is a fantastic track, with a driving drumbeat and a really good melody. This track screams ‘Blackstar’ by David Bowie, especially the vocals, I think Hidde’s vocals are really great, he steps into them and just goes for it, definitely a high point on the record. I also love how this album ends just as strongly as it began. Overall, an album that deserves way more recognition than it has, a raw, emotional, relatable record. Prison Escapee comes out with one of the best up and coming records of 2020. – The Queue
The album in itself felt magical, felt great to listen to. The production is beautiful, well mixed, and has an ethereal, ambient style to it that fills you with emotions as you flow from song to song. Erik’s vocals are nicely implemented onto the production and instruments, and his beautiful, passionate voice resonates and the story told by this album is a wonderful idea that is well executed. – Reveewer
I loved this album’s production, all of the songs were coherent and really unique. The alternative sound and quality was out of this world. It was amazing and so interesting, I would love to hear more from this artist! My favorite track would have to be “The Art of This.” In the last bridge of the song there’s these falsetto harmonies that I would give five stars! This song blew me away! Absolutely a masterpiece! – Album Reviews 2020
On this short but deeply impactful album, the listener can tell just how personal and intimate each song is. The lyricism is highly poetic and introspective, with topics such as isolation and feelings of despair that resonate with a wide audience. – Oh the Raindrops
I really like the organic natural sounds of the strings mixed with the less natural sound of the drums. The drums sound amazing. The shiny and colorful instrumentals overall are really well executed. Really consistent, almost flawless. – Just Another Music Reviewer
The album has many innovative components, especially with cinematic arrangements which is not often heard in indie or alt music. Many of the songs discuss something everyone can relate to: 2020’s events. Well written lyrics offer a poetic lens into the year and the feelings surrounding it. I definitely recommend this album if you’re looking for something new and unique. – Everything Music
Incredible vocals, and meaningful lyrics. Overall I think the album is amazing, and Prison Escapee really has a lot of potential to do great things with his talent. – Alpha Music Reviews
Prison Escapee does a wonderful job in putting into words how many of us feel. Perhaps, I’d compare it to The National… the production is consistently good. – XPLR Music
I recently stumbled across his song “A Figment of Your Imagination” and was instantly intrigued by his sound. I haven’t heard an artist quite like Prison Escapee. You’ll find yourself in deep, rhythmic thought. – Music Undiscovered
I absolutely loved the production of this album… reminded me of FKA Twigs sound. – SJ Reviews
The dark undertones I’m getting from the lyrics really adds a dramatic tone to it – I can feel the songs, especially “The Art of This” featuring in a film. The artists vocals are also incredible and unique with the drums and the slight echo really equates to greatness! – Recommend Tunes
Prison Escapee gives us some experimental and symphonic art-rock, for this being completely in his living room the production is actually really top notch. “The Art of This” is a standout, the drums paired with the strings and choirs create an amazing track. “The Holy Wild” has the best vocal performance, I really like it. – Flying Microtonal Iguana
‘20/20’ is an album that 100% caught my ear from the first song until the last one. Erik David Hidde alias Prison Escapee is the artist behind this amazing album. It is one of the most interesting combinations I’ve heard. The lyrics are a very important key in Erik’s music, they talk fearlessly about raw human emotions such as loneliness, the need for affection and depression. The album offers such a big variety of musical and lyrical elements that hearing it on replay does not get tiring. – Breaking Pop
‘20/20’ subject matter is deeply relevant, predictably focusing on just how awful of a year it’s been so far. Well written and introspective… though the production is what really shines. Every track has a grand atmosphere which can be attributed to great instrumentation. A fantastical cinematic soundscape with some of the most unique singing I have heard in a while, ranging in tone and delivery. Quite remarkable that this was fully written, recorded, produced and mixed all in Erik’s living room. – EK Music Reviews
Melancholic and electric, a little bit like a fusion between a less dystopian Nick Cave and Brian Eno. – One Spalt Reviews
Prison Escapee is an artist worth checking out. This new album is really well produced and has some good lyrics, too. Erik channels his emotions into creativity by laying down precise beats and lush instrumentation that has elements of electronica, ambient and gospel. Do check out the talented LA musician, he has a strong discography. – Short Music Reviews
A passionate and personal reflection on modern life with a strong nostalgic edge. The production blends a classic synth rock sound with modern electronic flashes to deliver a project that morphs between melancholy and hopefulness with a deft touch. Highlights include the punchy drive of “The Art of This” and the soaring album closer, “The Holy Wild.” – Play the Music
This is a very atmospheric album that removes the listener from the chaos around them for a few minutes. The ambient music accompanies the poetic lyrics and compliments Hidde’s unique voice. ‘20/20’ is very relevant to today’s world. The vocals on the album don’t sound like exactly like any artist I’ve heard before but could be compared to the vocals of Ian Curtis of Joy Division but with far more range. – Alternative Music Reviews
The slow, yet driven tempo, really compliments the sound to create a calm and almost relaxed atmosphere. The vocal parts on the songs are lovely, they suit the somewhat sad feel to the songs, and the use of layering and harmonies in the vocals, such as in “The Art of This” gives an amazing tone. I love how the songs are based around problems we are facing at the moment. – Amy Talks Music
Surprising and reflective. Smooth translations, the soft instrumental contests nicely with the vocals. Smart blends, placements and also a very relatable and inspiring lyrical message. – Shower Thoughts Reviews
Reminds me so much of my favorite artist of all-time, David Bowie, give it a taste, I absolutely loved it. – Music Reviews 357
The instrumentals are sweet and ambient. The songs are well structured and professionally composed, so is the track-list order. His voice is husky and therefore atmospheric. I like this style of album and in particular, the concept. I can note inspiration from Radiohead. – Music Reviewing Squirrel
“A Figment of Your Imagination” is the most soothing song I have ever heard. – Songs From Sydney
Incredible how a record conceived in a living room, can be as powerful as a movie soundtrack played by an orchestra. – Incioneline Reviews
This is the kind of album we need. – Deep Dark Music
“Empty Wishes/Feeling Light” reminds me of the sound Bon Iver went with to make the album ‘i,i.’ – Music Discovery Oasis
Hidde creates a beautiful cinematic soundscape. Creating haunting imagery of lost loves and lives gone by. Calming and reflective lo-fi production and Erik’s powerful vocals throughout. It’s really stunning. – Authentic Audio
This work is extremely relevant and takes a look at the craziness we have experienced this year. – Daily Good Song
Super relatable for the unfortunate times we have all gone through, especially this year. It truly has a great meaning behind it. – Project Unheard
An interesting blend of rock and orchestral elements. Erik is emotional and displays this on tracks such as “The Holy Wild” & “Too Soon.” – One Minute Music Reviews
If 2020 is a prison we’ve all been convicted to, Erik David Hidde—better known as Prison Escapee—is not living up to his moniker. Quite the contrary, he’s metaphorically taking classes, leading support groups, and tending a garden in his new confines. His new album, not so subtly titled 20/20, paints a portrait of an artist that is deeply immersed in this year and the dire state of our troubled world. The album’s lyrics address 2020 and the music sounds 2020. When Hidde laments on the New Order inspired “The Art of This,” “I don’t want to feel your pain, I don’t want to feel anything,” you can’t help but empathize.
Sonically, 20/20 is built around a lo-fi, field recording, synth-y, sample based ambiance that would make Aphex Twin proud. Songs like “At The Bottom of the River” or the opening to “Empty Wishes/Feeling Light” have no drums or rhythmic orientating elements at all. And even in the songs featuring post-rock drum loops, they are distant and tame. The result is music that feels lost in time. Much like this year, where I can’t remember if something happened last week or in June, these songs are more like landscapes than linear threads.
Hidde sings clearly and confidently, if not mournfully, with a voice that has shades of Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan. Many of the vocal lines sound more like spoken word with infliction’s than predetermined melodic phrases. I would actually like to ask Hidde what came first the melody or the lyrics? To my ear, it sounds like he wrote these haunting reflections in his journal while sitting in a park and then just let his voice take him wherever it felt natural. A particularly effective approach in this setting when you’re floating over a bed of ambient loops and don’t have to conform to rigid 8-bar chord patterns. Once again, the result only reinforces the feeling of the year. I can’t tell you how many times I was listening to the album while following along with the lyrics and not knowing how he was going to fit those words into this passage. It reminded me of the countless times this year that a friend has called me in distress and I did not know how to respond.
I would describe the album as lo-fi, ambient, post-rock. It tows the line where you could listen to 20/20 as you fall asleep—albeit that may be a darker way to end the day—and alternatively, if you gassed up the drums it would make for a powerful live show. Hidde combines organic and electronic elements in a way that feels both contemporary and timeless. The slow rolling “Patience/Human Interaction” anchored by a cello-like synth patch is a standout. Another favorite is the album’s closing track “The Holy Wild.” A powerful song with a beautifully ambient intro and a strikingly defined melodic hook. After the complicated lyrical journey he’s taken you over the course of the album, when Hidde opens the song by singing, “I will never surrender my hope,” I was pleasantly reassured. And then when he continues, “keep me company in the cemetery and cope,” I paused and thought, for this album, and this year, that feels about right. – Music, Movies & Hoops
As the title implies, the year 2020 plays a big part, as it now also plays a significant role in our lives with everything that has occurred. “The themes of the album include isolation, the year 2020, feeling disengaged from reality, grief, loss, redemption, fear of the future, the battle between good/evil and PTSD,” Hidde explains. ’20/20′ was supposed to have been the debut album for his previous band, GOSPELS, who had released two stand-alone singles. As fate would have it, the group went on hiatus, and Hidde made good use of what he had and made it into what is now Prison Escapees’ fifth full-length album. Yes, we said that correctly, album number five! Erik does not play or probably sleep as he’s also responsible for having written, recorded, mixed, done vocals, production & engineering for this new album.
Erik shared with us that he had initially self-isolated in his LA home in the Spring of 2019 to write and record this album. Less than a year later, he found himself in isolation again due to the pandemic that hit. “Though the good I take from this is that the themes of the album couldn’t have lined up to be shared and experienced at a more relevant time,” Erik explains. We couldn’t agree with him more as this album doesn’t fall short from what makes Erik the artist he is today. Since 2015 he has been crafting and releasing melancholic, electronic rock songs inspired by equal parts post-rock, electronica, lo-fi field recordings, and film soundtracks. Yes, the man makes cinematic tracks, and you’ll know what we mean once you listen.
If you listen to the album from start to finish, which we highly recommend, it will take about 23 minutes as there are only seven tracks. The album opens with “A Figment of Your Imagination,” which grips you with it’s a simple and beautiful melody from the start. It’s lyrics read “2020 I need human interaction,” who can’t relate as this year we have found ourselves in quarantine which has placed any human interaction on hold. As we mentioned earlier, this is a recurring theme throughout the album as you hear those same lyrics again in song four. The second track, “Empty Wishes/Feeling Light,” holds words like “I need 1999 again, 2020 is too much time my friend.” Who wouldn’t want to go back to any other year at this point? Heck, we’d even settle with going back to last year!
We won’t break down every single song, but we had to say something about track four and seven. “Patience/Human interaction” is track four and possibly one of, if not a personal favorite. The beginning of this song is cinematic beyond belief. Immediately transports you into your feelings and keeps you there, especially given the last two weeks with what’s occurred. Read the lyrics and tell us you don’t know what we mean: “I don’t wanna be afraid. I want to unite the nations; I don’t wanna lose my patience. I see you with Jesus breaking bread; I see Him doing everything Revelation said.” Hidde does a beautiful job of incorporating bits of his Christian faith in his music. “The Holy Wild” is track seven, and it’s the last song for a good reason. The raw and honest use of his voice adds the human touch, which the album speaks so much on. The ending leaves you in a bit of a cliff hanger; it leaves you wanting more. Like so many events in life that don’t always have set conclusions, this track is no different. It leaves you excited about what Hidde will create next! – IndieWavves