April 2, 2021
Erik David Hidde has had a major last one year. He got signed too Cleopatra Records in LA, while soaking up acclaim from many online music critics for his last album, ’20/20′. The reception only made Erik work even more to create a quick followup, this time being backed by a renowned indie label. ‘Precious Moments’ was described by Erik as “a love letter to his wife,” this album consisting of mainly romantic songs composed in an atmospheric rock and electronic style which was prevalent in his previous works. With a new label and bigger expectations on his side, he has worked to create an album that is uplifting, expresses love, sincerity and a reason for living. Quite a contrast to ’20/20′, which had bleakness and frustration built around the tracks. ‘Precious Moments’ has the features of a very high quality album, where the production is engaging and there are always some surprises on offer.
The album is filled with splashes of electronic shenanigans cautiously laying down synths and vocals. A lot of the tracks aren’t really meant to follow a standard songwriting structure, with the focus being on drawing the listener into a tunnel or hypnotic mood bending instrumentals. But the lyrical themes do form another important aspect of this album. The lead single “Beware of Dog” and opener “Preacher’s Daughter” are both delved in appreciation for his wife Celina and acknowledging the times they have been through and what is in store for their future. “Beware of Dog” is indeed accessible, great choice for a lead single and has some very upbeat drumming on it.
My favorite run of tracks are those in the second half of the album. “Cools” is a short but brooding track that has a film score ike approach, sounding ominous but getting steady for something bigger. Then it leads into the track “Hard to Please” where the production is spellbinding. The rhythm section in the middle of the track is really well executed and the vocals here are great, giving a sense of liberation and just enjoying that moment. The penultimate track “Life After Death” is a favorite of mine, the subject matter is bittersweet and talks about fears of dying unexpectadly. It celebrates life while reminding us of its uncertainties. Don’t even get me started on the production here, because it is majestic, the switch up at the 2 minute mark is genius. ‘Precious Moments’ is a fairly short but strong body of work by Prison Escapee. A change in label has seen him grow further in confidence and letting his ideas reflect in the music he creates. – Short Music Reviews
Erik David Hidde (now running under the name Prison Escapee) is truly a music powerhouse, running New York label Housewarming Records for a number of years and now creating his own material. ‘Precious Moments’ is about finding that person to spend the rest of your life with. – Deviate Music Blog
“When I’m with you I’m tough like the street, your body turns me to concrete.” Part of his new album ‘Precious Moments’ this song probably has to be my absolute favorite. The entire album is so versatile and the fact that the artist jumped from genre to another in all the songs, is highly refreshing. For some reason this song amalgamates all the different genres so well (lo-fi, alternative and electronic elements.) the playful piano chords in the background, with the electronic beats give it a heartwarming feel. The ambient like reverberated vocals (with a nice falsetto) make this such a mesmerizing listen.
Some of my other favorites in this album are “Preacher’s Daughter” where I loved the sublime use of the trumpet with the fast synthesized chords. “Beware of Dog” has always been a favorite of mine (released previously as a single in 2020 which I have spoken in a previous post.) “Web of Love” the echoed vocals that are reminiscing about all the happy and unforgettable moments in the relationship. “Hard to Please” is the perfect long drive listen if you need a momentary escape from reality.
As Erik mentions this albums inspiration is his better half, I feel this album communicates so much more, especially about not giving up on finding love or losing hope. Once you find that special person everything in life just seems to fall in place. One of your best albums so far, Prison Escapee! – The Sleepy Feline’s Playlist
On his first record with Cleopatra Records, the Los Angeles based singer-songwriter invites us to treasure special moments through a refined blend of songwriting (with piano and brasses in the foreground) and intriguing atmospheric expansions through vintage electronics. – Incioneline Reviews
Prison Escapee’s latest album, ‘Precious Moments’, is a collection of brilliantly heartwarming and creative love songs dedicated to his wife, Celina. Across 28 minutes and 33 seconds, we are pulled into a world that fuses The National with Portishead; Mogwai with Springsteen; and suddenly, we feel like we’re in the closing scenes of a Paul Thomas Anderson film. Out on April 2nd, Erik David Hidde’s latest offering is a very, very good album.
Firstly, I really love ‘Precious Moments’ because, while we are constantly presented with a mesmerizing world of sounds, the instrumentation never detracts from the lyricism or the meaning of these songs. A lot of the charm in this album comes from the fact that it seems to revolve around these incredibly relatable little snippets of domestic bliss. For example, on Track 2: “Beware of Dog”, Erik told us that this song was about “sharing your fears and life with someone while enjoying the little things,” and he beautifully paints this picture when he sings, “I just wanna be making out, on the couch, holding hands, facing fears, together.”
In the opening track, Erik declares upon a swell of dancing synths and drawn-out trumpets that, “When I see her, I see me” (Track 1: “Preacher’s Daughter”). I find that there is something very third-album-Bon-Iver about this song in its unconventional song structure, but the form is hardly relevant when every second sounds so damn good. It’s a brave, creative move and a massive credit to Erik’s artistry that he can make the instrumentation follow the lyrics wherever they want to go. For example, next, he then sings, “and I feel free,” and naturally, the synths soar, the beat drops, and the song flies away from us. What makes all this so impressive is that not only does Prison Escapee have such a clear and ambitious artistic vision, Erik also records, engineers, performs, writes, and produces his albums entirely himself. We learned about this process in our review of his previous album, ’20/20′.
Thematically, as the album goes on, we move from ideas of finding true love to the fear of not wanting to die (Track 8: “Life After Death”) and having to apologize for being difficult (Track 7: “Hard to Please”). Musically, we also start to see Prison Escapee cover new ground, moving from “Beware Of Dog” post-rock feel to M83-esque electronica on “Life After Death”.
Something that particularly struck me was Erik’s dynamism as a lyricist and vocalist. For example, lyrics like, “I remember everything, everything that we’ve done, our first kiss, and the web that we’ve spun” (Track 5: “Web Of Love”). On top of this, we start to see a more intimate and croaky vocal style (“Hard To Please” and “Nothing Lost”), andit’s hard to believe that you’re not listening to Matt Barninger of The National.
I love that ‘Precious Moments’ flawlessly and seamlessly jumps from one genre to another with each song. A track that stood out for me was “Nothing Lost”. While it starts as a brooding mediation on not wanting to lose someone, it doesn’t take long for Erik’s vocals to leap into an electrifying falsetto. At the same time, the track drops into a trip-hop groove that definitely wouldn’t be out of place on a Portishead record. Overall, the album is a unique mix of lo-fi, post-rock, cinematic electronica, and it’s fascinating to learn where Erik gets his inspiration. Luckily, on a previous artist takeover, he walked us through some of his favorite songs.
I won’t go through every track as I best leave some of the magic for you to discover first hand. But the main thing is that ‘Precious Moments’ does pull you into a world filled with intimate details, lived experiences, unique textures, and soulful musical performances. In a previous feature, he told us that his favorite artist was Nick Drake and that he had first come across his music during the closing stages of the film Serendipity. I wonder if this is something that Erik keeps in mind when he writes his music because ‘Precious Moments’ sounds like so much more than simply a collection of great songs. This album is the soundtrack to Celina and his life; it’s a soundtrack to live, love, and lose to; and it’s a soundtrack we should expect to see on the silver screen. – Indie Wavves