Ethan Rose makes antiquated instruments sound like fresh inventions from the future with his new one, Oaks, named after the rollerskating rink he once frequented. In that unassuming building lived a Wurlitzer organ that Rose used liberally on this album. Damn you, Portland. Why must you be so fertile and abundant with musicmakers that stretch and twist the boundaries of what the public calls “music?”
Drive your car to the top of a hill that overlooks the city at night. Sit on the roof of said car and Oaks helps you realize the music that the city and sky make while you’re too busy to listen. “Rising Waters” makes you feel like you’re floating in space, passing by chirping satellites and whizzing space trash. Even in “The Floor Released,” you can hear what sounds like an air tank, an astronaut taking a deep breath during space exploration.
The elegance of Oaks takes you to a warm place with blankets and a Northern light show. This is what the sky would sound like if it had Ethan Rose conducting.
What he reminds you of: the magical music of the last frontier.