Imagine for a moment, traveling across the United States, the evergreen smell of the Mid-West, the salty breeze of the East Coast, and a sky that stretches into forever. These sounds could sound different from person to person, but for Julie Hampton, the artist behind the project Electra Day, it sounds like an acoustic guitar that stretches and bends like clouds.
Electra Day is actually the stage name of Julia Hampton. Back in her college days, Julia started to go by the alias for some of her writing, although when she found out her parents nearly named her Electra Day, she took to the name even harder. For Julia, the name Electra Day holds much strength as it was also the name of her great-grandmother.
“Who they are, what they done, don’t much matter anymore.”
How does one begin to speak for empty space? Well, Julie started playing the guitar while living and teaching English in Berlin, Germany, although she had been a writer since her college days. However, the music did not end once she left Germany, in fact, the music filled the horizon and as she experienced the Mojave Desert or British Columbia, so did her sound. Keeping up with her craft after moving, Julie now lives in Fairfield, Iowa, which is also where she recorded the album Quiet Hours, which was released on Aug. 4, 2016.
In a word, Electra Day is soothing. Her long-winding notes and lingering guitar might bring back memories of artists like Stevie Nicks or Bob Dylan. That is to say that Electra Day is a one person band, with only guitar and vocals leading the majority of the album. Folk is the strongest genre here, but a few songs linger into sounds of blues or worship music.
It is easy to see that Quiet Hours follows a particular vibe, one that makes it easy to get lost in, the smooth vocals and guitar seem to bridge the gap between songs. For example, the album opener “Big Sky” flows into the second track, “Falcon’s Gaze” so softly that some might not even realize the song has changed. To further support this theory, most of the songs on the album are so long (most are six minutes or more) that they already tend to repeat and create a sort of breezy listening experience. This sense of similarity is what builds up the atmosphere that Quiet Hours sticks so heavily in, and thankfully, the name that was chosen for the album strongly represents what the album is about. This rule also works with the song names, just reading the name “October Nights” or “Old Blind Couple” gives the listener an immediate idea of what the song might sound like. This sense of honesty is truly the lifeblood of Electra Day. She does not want to fool to trick the listener. She wants to serenade them slowly.
Electra Day’s album Quiet Hours is not for everyone, it is a slow walk down a dirt road in the morning with no true destination, it is gentle like the rain and soothing like sleep. Regardless of the reason why, the album cannot be found on YouTube, however, she has both a SoundCloud and Bandcamp webpage where the album can be listened to and purchased. Truly, unlike most of the music of 2016, Quiet Hours does gentle Folk well.
Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.
Opinion by Garrett Jutte
Electra Day: Quiet Hours
Bandcamp: Quiet Hours
SoundCloud: Quiet Hours
Image Courtesy of Electra Day – Used With Permission