“Escape Scenes is the new album by Sea Dramas, the San Francisco Bay Area based music project led by Scott Pettersen. Originally started by Pettersen as a home recording project, Sea Dramas grew to become a full band, until 2020 changed everything and sent Pettersen back to the solace of his home studio where it all began.
Escape Scenes explores the liminal space of 2020-2021, reflecting Pettersen’s experience as life turned inward and time blurred. The San Francisco Bay Area was the first metro area in the US to go into lockdown, amongst the days and nights of isolation there was ample time to reflect and to experiment. The common thread running through the songs is the concept of time itself, the changing of seasons, and the way time began to blur for all of us at that time.
“During the first year of the lockdown nights became days. Days became dreams. Dreams became sounds. Sounds became the soundtrack to looking inward and reflecting on life choices and also the banality of it all. There’s darkness, there’s sadness, there’s light and there’s joy. All bound together in the realm of that unique time. The making of the album was my particular escape scene” says Pettersen.
“There are recurring symbols like the moon, the sun, the sea, the seasons, symbols of the consistency of change and modifiers of time. Time had become a mutation of itself or perhaps I had become a mutation of myself? Escape Scenes came out through this new skewed life lens. The words were all stream of consciousness and nothing was planned out. It all sort of just revealed itself.”
Influenced by library music, dream pop, folk, and 60’s pop, Pettersen took the opportunity to start fresh and experiment with a new palette of sounds, nothing too drastic but enough to further the plot. In the absence of a drummer, there are drum samples cut to pieces and arranged to fit, less weight on string arrangements and vocal harmonies, and more electric instruments added to the mix.
Amidst all the isolation, Pettersen still managed to connect with a handful of collaborators who added their touches to the songs. Former bandmate David Brandt added percussion and bowed cymbals on “Daybreak”, while Sara Mohan played violin and sang backing vocals, and David Glasebrook (Sandy’s, Credit Electric, Sam Burton) mixed & mastered the album at his studio in Oakland, CA.
I recently set a personal goal to share all the amazing releases from Royal Oakie, a fantastic label that never fails to impress with the music they release. The new single from Sea Dramas, which will be featured on their upcoming album, is a perfect example of this. As always, I was eager to hear what they had in store, and I was not disappointed. The dreamy indie rock sound of this single is infused with a sense of nostalgia and draws inspiration from a variety of genres, making it incredibly well-crafted. I found myself lost in the beautiful melodies, feeling as though I was transported to another world, and the song acted as a healing balm after a long work week where I had little time to reflect. I am grateful to Royal Oakie and Sea Dramas for creating and sharing such a beautiful piece of music with us.
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