Earthwave is Zak Riles’ (Grails/Watter) follow-up to his eponymous debut CD released on Important Records in 2008, a cinematic ascent through dark space, volatile illumination, reflection and refraction. Recorded during the pandemic—when Riles took refuge in his rural Kentucky studio, providing remote engineering work for groups like Sleep, Om, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Mono, and Joan Shelley—it’s a monumental exploration of his enduring interest in late '70s/early '80s instrumental electronic and new-age music.
The humid atmosphere and ominous moods of Earthwave were accomplished using an Arp 2600 and multiple Yamaha and Farfisa keyboards. The recordings were then run through analog equipment—MCI JH110 tape machine, Lexicon Prime Time, Roland Space Echo—adding to the sense of a time out of time. Echoes of past Riles compositions float through Earthwave’s chambers, the saz, oud and twelve-string acoustic recalling his memorable contributions to early Grails recordings. The only guest is the legendary Britt Walford (Slint), whose drumming appears on two tracks. Earthwave is a project of sonic world-building by a master of his craft. Let yourself be overcome by its tectonic movement.