Stream/Download: The Orchestra Of Hugo Stiglitz - How To Remain Conscious (2012)
The Orchestra Of Hugo Stiglitz is the ambient music project of Evan Cooper, an extremely prolific musician based in Smithtown, New York. In 2012 alone, he’s already released six albums, ranging from the lofty ambient folk of Whispers of Immortality to the eerie drone of A Ghost Who Floats.
Released earlier today, How To Remain Conscious is Cooper’s latest and perhaps his best work under the Hugo Stiglitz moniker. It’s also one of his most subtle and thought provoking releases, constantly straddling the line between gently comforting and eerily disturbing. Although still firmly rooted in ambient music with its woozy synths and minimalist keys, How To Remain Conscious finds Cooper flirting extensively with glitchy electronics and subtle beats. When paired together, the two make for a disorienting combination — as a listener, I’m not sure whether to let it simply wash over me, or to pay attention and analyse the musical/rhythmic interplay. I can sense that this album will reward repeated listens for this reason, and I plan to incorporate it into my sleep playlist soon.
Cooper strays from the minimal electronic format occasionally on this record, at times harking back to to emotive folk of Whispers Of Immortality, his last release. The slowly building acoustic guitar and piano duet on “What Did You Forget?” is a particular highlight, especially with the strange, distant samples coming through in the background. The gentle, nursery rhyme-reminiscent “My Imaginary Friend” even finds Cooper singing a little, which adds some lively energy to the otherwise sleepy release. Overall though, I find this album to be most stimulating and successful on the more electronic tracks. It’s a direction that I think would be really rewarding for Cooper to explore more as he continues his impressive musical journey as The Orchestra Of Hugo Stiglitz.