Woozles is the solo project of Conor Ryan.
With the help of Deadplant Records last May, Conor released his debut album, Ember. All of its digital proceeds were donated to the Nature Conservancy.
His debut album, as Ryan puts it, “was a breakup album, through and through.” Ember distinguished itself as different, however, in the deliverable that you got when you downloaded the album. Not only did it involve the 12-track creation from Woozles, but it also included a booklet of poetry and short stories from Ryan’s ex-girlfriend. Storytelling from both sides of the aisle in the matter, we had never seen anything like it before.
Shapen on the other hand is the latest EP from Woozles, which was released today, Feb. 10th. This time, the proceeds are going to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, as the EP details the very personal thoughts and inner-dealings with depression.
When asked about the impetus behind Sharpen, Conor had this to say:
“I’ve struggled with depression for a few years now. In the Fall, I was out at a college in California, across the country from my east coast home. I was going through a particularly bad depressive period, made worse with my grandfather passing away. He was (and still is) a huge inspiration to me, as well as the main reason I started playing music in the first place. Sharpen was recorded in one night after I had almost been exclusively listening to World of Echo by Arthur Russell for days. I wanted to try my best to emulate the sonic landscape he creates, but since I can’t play cello, I used my bass. I had been writing the lyrics in my diary over the course of weeks, but I wrote and recorded the songs all in one night. The result is raw, but it’s also the most open I’ve been.”
Sharpen is deeply reflective and personal, and in its progression, ascends to a state of universality. Sombre to its core, one listen is enough to share party of the weight of Ryan’s emotion. The immediacy of the tone and atmospheric soundscape silence any noise outside of your own thoughts.
“Flavored Soul” is the song closing out Ryan’s visual diary, and is paralyzing in its beauty and distress. The final stanza of the track is difficult to shake off. I had to have listened to the last minute of the song/video 20 to 30 times before it began to truly sink in. As an experience, Sharpen is a journey with the most bitter of endings — but the bitterness is shed through the stout authenticity of its author. 5/5.