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Camera Obscura’s Masterful Evolution: ‘Look to the East, Look to the West’ Unveiled

  • April 9, 2024
  • 2 min read
Camera Obscura’s Masterful Evolution: ‘Look to the East, Look to the West’ Unveiled

Camera obscura, indie rock, alternative rock, look to the east look to the west, liberty print

Look to the East, Look to the West, the latest release from Camera Obscura, heralds a new chapter for the band. Under the leadership of Tracyanne Campbell and in collaboration with Jari Haapalainen, their former producer, the group delivers a sophisticated masterpiece that rekindles the deep affection of their long-time followers and marks their most polished work yet.

This album emerges as Camera Obscura’s most challenging project, especially in the wake of founding member Carey Lander’s death in 2015. The band took a significant break but kept in touch, their future uncertain until their return was announced for Belle & Sebastian’s 2019 Boaty Weekender cruise. Joining original members for this comeback were Donna Maciocia, adding her talents on keys and vocals to the mix, and becoming a key songwriting contributor alongside Campbell.

Recorded in the historical room where Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was penned, the album takes a grand scale approach yet simplifies their sound. Eschewing strings and brass for a focus on piano, synthesizers, Hammond organ, and drum machines, and stripping back their signature reverb, it unveils a more direct sound. The album’s country and soul influences shine through more brightly than ever, with guitars that echo into the distance and keys that linger, all while Campbell’s voice deeply explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time.

The lead single “Big Love” straddles the line between country rock and prog, serving as a heart-wrenching anthem of love lost and the struggle to move on, highlighted by Tim Davidson’s pedal steel. Another standout track, “We’re Going to Make It in a Man’s World,” co-written with Maciocia and featured in Margaret Salmon’s 2021 film “Icarus (After Amelia),” offers a poignant commentary on women’s experiences in the music industry, buoyed by steel guitar and keys.

“The Light Nights” brings a swooning, western shuffle that hits the sweet spot between honky-tonk and undiscovered California pop treasure. The album opens with “Liberty Print,” (see below) a powerful elegy wrapped around a compelling synth line, showcasing Campbell’s lyrical prowess and the band’s ability to weave grief into the fabric of pop music. “Look to the East, Look to the West” not only signifies Camera Obscura’s return but also their evolution, blending genres and emotions in their unique tapestry of sound.

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Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is an accomplished promoter, event planner, producer, activist, counselor, poet and blogger. Within the course of two and a half years Chris Ryan has worked with some of NYC's most established promoters/event planners, been named 2007′s GaySocialite of the year, granted a promoter of the year award from NYC's most famous gay establishment, Splash. He's worked in some of NYC's top venues including; Avalon, Capitale, Cipriani, Cielo, Pacha, Element, Le Poisson Rouge, XL, G Lounge, Plumm, Hilton Hotel, Indigo Hotel, Spirit, Myst/Quo, Splash, The Ritz, Vlada, Roseland Ballroom, Heaven, etc. In 2008, Chris Ryan has begun to unveil some of the most innovative & unique parties New York City has ever seen. The Fusion events "fuse" together all disciplines of art into an event that remains diverse yet cohesive at the same time. won best gay promotions website from NYC Event Patrons in 2008 & he was granted an award from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Gov. Patterson & Michelle Clunie (QAF) saluting him for his hard work in nightlife. Chris Ryan has also begun working with many renown companies, including; doctors, lawyers, physicians, modeling agencies & more. Chris Ryan has been responsible for wide-scale promotions for all these companies & generating tremendous business. Chris Ryan has even started to become National with events taking place in LA & Miami this year. In May of 2009 Chris Ryan received the very prestigious honor of being named a "40 Under 40″ Gays in America by the Advocate Magazine. He also created three successful parties that generated over 1,500 patrons each. In January of 2010 Chris Ryan was featured as one of the top promoters to look out for in Noize Magazine Chris Ryan joined forces with legendary promoter/event producer, Lee Chappell and created one of the most talked about events of all 2010, Desire @ Capitale. Chris Ryan and Lee featured one of the most outstanding artists NYC has ever seen, "Oh Land." Her performance coupled with an exquisite and unforgettable set design added to this extravagant event that held over 1,000 patrons in one of NYC's most successful PRIDE events! Chris Ryan then joined forces with legendary Pacha promoter, Rob Fernandez in addition to Jake Resnicow and Tommy Marinelli to bring one of the largest and most successful parties worldwide to NYC, MATINEE. The event on Governor's Island saw over 2,000+ attendees and one of the most ambitious productions ever. In 2011 Chris Ryan started Emerge Music Promotions with business partner Darren Melchiorre. Emerge Music promotions began signing artists with plans to develop and market the artists to the community at large. Emerge Music promotions has big events planned for 2012 and 2013. Chris Ryan debuted the IMAGE events which took place on top of two of NYC's most beautiful rooftop venues, Rare View and Indigo Hotel. The events were blogged everywhere and featured the fashion designs of several clothing designers, artists and photographers. Chris Ryan felt that fashion and art should be displayed at every event and attracted the likes of Malan Breton, Calvin Klein and even Katy Perry. Chris Ryan began an extremely successful event which incorporated the concept of a house party into a nightclub atmosphere. The event Twist'D at G Lounge has been one of the most talked about events in NYC and allows it's audience to play nearly-naked Twister, beer pong, flip cup & more with other attendees. Chris Ryan was granted an excellence in volunteering award from AVP (Anti-Violence Project) for all his efforts in supporting the organization. 2013 has a very promising landscape on the horizon and Chris Ryan is complacent in saying "you haven't seen anything yet!"

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