Assad pushes the bounds of electronic music to achieve a transcendental sound.
It’s been a while since Audrey Assad’s last full-length album release of Evergreen, in 2018, but now the acclaimed singer/songwriter is back with an Extended Play (EP), Eden, that features six absolutely beautiful songs. Eden is a significant release in that it pushes the boundaries of traditional instrumentation, allowing Assad to explore the extent to which electronic music can be utilized to produce a transcendental atmosphere.
This experimentation with sound is best heard in the fourth track, “Find You.” Opening with little more than Assad’s crisp voice framed by a piano, it turns into a thick wall of sound about halfway through. The music sounds like it was produced by layering synthesized keyboards, scraping tremolo strings, backmasked chords, and even high-pitched chimes. It is at this point that Assad’s voice leaves the center stage and becomes just another one of the instruments, adding to the fullness of the orchestration.
Assad’s original works, “Shiloh,” “Find You,” “Islands,” and “Eden” are filled with rich, introspective lyrics that are steeped in the artist’s faith. In an interview with Jubilee Cast, she said of the work:
“There’s a deep calm that I can hear in the lyrics,” observes Assad. “I can tell that I’ve grown, deepened, healed, and opened up quite a lot. I try never to write a song I haven’t lived in some way, so each of these songs is born of some experience in my life.” She added, “I hope for people to look around at nature and see the vibrating, pulsating love of God that is and always has been with them. To anyone who has listened to my music and found themselves far on the fringes of their younger projections of themselves: God is in all. God is not inaccessible to you. You have never been completely separate from God, and you never could be.”
The most surprising inclusion on Eden was a cover of “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, which we especially appreciated because her impeccable diction allowed the lyrics to be decipherable for the first time ever. The track makes excellent use of the reverb effect to make the piano in the beginning sound like ringing bells. All the while, Assad keeps the tempo and timbre of the song more gentle than the original, giving it a much more charming feel than the popular radio version.
Eden is a solid 25 minutes of fantastic introspective listening that will spur religious thought and contemplation. With each hook catchier than the last, the only regret we have with this EP is that it wasn’t a full length album. Check out an acoustic arrangement of the title track, featured above, and then hear the marvelous difference that Assad’s electronic additions bring to the whole EP via Spotify, below.