Art On the Walls of Heaven

July 7, 2021

Written, recorded, mixed, vocals, production & engineering by Erik David Hidde
Artwork by Daniele D’Andreti, Joel Filipe & edited by Erik David Hidde
Written and recorded from June 2019-Dec 2020

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Hauntingly beautiful – State of the Alt 

California native Erik David Hidde released his whopping seventh full-length album ‘Art on the Walls of Heaven’ last week under the moniker Prison Escapee. The new record combines avant-garde synthesizer, film composition, and retrospective lyrics to create a must listen to exhibition deep into Hidde’s psyche. 

The record open’s with a song titled “A Pictorial History of the Wild West” that serves as a perfect encapsulation of what is to come on the rest of the album. Like the rest of Erik’s work, it is a song that achieves the rare feat of inspiring and depressing the listener at the same time, in a way that, for me at least, is really profound. 

Erik follows up his opening track with “Sky’s the Limit,” another song that mixes minor chords and synth with seemingly optimistic lyrics. With this track, Erik allows his music to fully develop the words he is singing, giving the listener a lot of freedom to interpret “Sky’s the Limit” however they choose. 

Hidde is undoubtedly no stranger to experimentation and exploration, as this is the seventh album Erik has entirely written, recorded, produced, and arranged all by himself. Hailing originally from New York, where he ran an independent music label called Housewarming Records from 2011 through 2013, Erik is now fully based in Los Angeles, putting his skills in music production to good use as a full-time artist. 

One of the themes most evident in ‘Art on the Walls of Heaven,’ and throughout much of Erik’s music as a whole, is tragedy and loss. In fact, the name Prison Escapee came from the loss of his close friend to prison cell suicide. While tragedy has definitely had a significant influence on the ethos of Prison Escapee music, much of Erik’s lyricism explores the dichotomy between moving forward from loss while also reflecting on past memories. 

Track six on the new record is titled “Feelin’ Like a Country Boy,” another reflective song that looks back on Erik’s childhood, growing up in rural Fort Hunter, New York, a small town just north of Albany. Though only Erik can know the true meaning behind this track, to me, it feels like an encapsulation of his move from Fort Hunter to New York City and eventually to Los Angeles. There is a sense of loneliness in this move and the overwhelming nature of jumping from a small, rural hamlet to one of the biggest cities in the world. 

I really admire how in touch Hidde is with his emotions and his ability to put all those feelings into music form in a truly powerful manner. “The Great Awakening” is my favorite track on the record, and heavily utilizes religious imagery, such as the holy spirit, to connote feelings of revelation. Erik has cited his upbringing in a Christian family and singing in church as heavy influences on his music. “The Great Awakening”, tells of an “epiphany” that perhaps inspired this song or even the album as a whole. 

For many bands, artists, and writers, for that matter, creativity is fleeting and comes from a mysterious source. For me, at least, there are times when I have absolutely no creative juice and find it difficult even to get a word down, while at other points, I feel like I am gushing with new ideas and energy. If I had to make an educated guess, I would venture that Prison Escapee is the same way, striking while the iron is hot and writing his music as inspiration hits him. “The Great Awakening” struck me as a song about that unquantifiable moment of inspiration that we all have, even if for only a moment. 

Although “The Great Awakening” is my favorite track on the album, another song, “Used Film,” highlights my favorite thing about Prison Escapee’s music; his utilization of film scores. To me, track ten totally connotes the Blade Runner soundtrack, specifically “Blade Runner Blues” released by Vangelis in 1982. Though “Used Film” is absolutely unique in its own right, mixing in some heavily layered lyrics and drum machine later on. 

Overall, I can’t say enough about the craftsmanship involved in creating an endeavor like ‘Art on the Walls of Heaven.’ To put so much emotion and heart, as well as meticulous time and effort, into a record is something I genuinely want to commend Erik David Hidde on. I highly recommend listening to this album all the way through and letting the total weight of Prison Escapee’s newest album wash over you from start to finish. – Indie Wavves 

Prison Escapee released his seventh album ‘Art on the Walls of Heaven’ on the seventh of July. This record combines many different sounds to create an exciting and unique style technique. The record is opened by the song “A Pictorial History of the Wild West” that “serves as a perfect encapsulation of what is to come on the rest of the album”, as Erik said. It’s one of my favorite track because it helps the listener to understand how the artist truly felt during the writing session of the record.

To really comprehend the rest of the album you absolutely need to listen to it very carefully to pay attention to all the backing vocals, the ghost-synths and sounds. This album has entirely written, recorded, produced and arranged by himself so it needs to be listened. As Erik said, two of the most evident themes in ‘Art on the Walls of Heaven,’ and throughout much of his music, are tragedy and loss. In fact, his name came from the loss of his close friend to prison cell suicide. Much of Erik’s lyricism explores the dichotomy between moving forward from loss while also reflecting on past memories. You truly need to listen to it if you want to be teleported in a new magical but nostalgic place. I really enjoyed this work and I can’t wait to hear more from my friend Erik. Music Surface