Jeffrey Silverstein – ‘Torii Gates’ EP review

Portland, Oregon-based songwriter Jeffrey Silverstein follows up last year’s ‘You Become the Mountain’ album with new EP ‘Torii Gates’, which takes its name from the traditional entryways to Japanese temples. The six songs on this new release explore the boundaries between the mundane and sacred while also reflecting on the joys and benefits of meditation as Jeffrey tries to find peace – something we could all do with after the past year or so…

‘Caught Behind the Hours’ opens the EP in genteel style with chiming psych-tinged guitar sounds, gentle feedback and spoken-word samples about how ‘outer body experiences’ are ‘a state of being’. It’s a visceral opening that follows on through the more ambient ‘Trip Sitter’. Mainly instrumental and wonderfully wavy and relaxing, you can feel worries drifting away. ‘River Running By’ is another transcendental and atmospheric piece that reminded us of Big Thief’s more reflective and subtler moments.

Described in the press release as the album’s ‘moody centrepiece’, ‘Soft Lens’ has Jeffrey delivering poetic lines (in Lou Reed style) about how he’s ‘tired of hearing you have to wait’ and ‘running down a fever dream’ before pondering the meaning of life and death. ‘Beginners Mind’ quickly follows with spaced-out atmospherics and acoustic strums before morphing into something that could happily sit alongside Calexico. A travelling song, ‘Flowers on the Highway’, rounds off the EP in short and sweet style as Jeffrey seemingly finds some form of inner peace: ‘Starting to see things my way’; ‘Tell me the news and give me the truth’.

You’ll want to join Jeffrey Silverstein on his journey through the Torii Gates…

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