Fairfield, Iowa-based Julie Hampton is behind the artist known as Electra Day, who released in August 2016 a nine-track folk album called The Quiet Hours. With only an acoustic guitar and accompanying vocals, Hampton set out to create a spiritual journey based for listeners. This is the kind of album one will either love or completely disregard after only a few moments of listening to it, as it is densely packed and very unique-sounding.
For those who will love The Quiet Hours, they will no doubt enjoy the serene, contemplative nature of each of the nine numbers. That is, mostly serene –just like with any spiritual journey, there are rough patches that one needs to dip into an almost aggressive part of one’s self to get through.
Ranging from five to 10 minutes, the tracks come off at times as music journal entries of someone struggling to become better and to overcome his or her lower self. In “Big Sky”, just like with most of the other tracks on the album, the vocals range from almost spoken word to singing, taking side trips into a meditational “ohmmm” place.
What differentiates the tunes the most are the lyrics their melodies carry. There is a lot of personal interpretation that can be done there, which comes hand in hand with the “spiritual journey” territory. The various emotions related to such a journey can be felt throughout the set, such as the wistful melancholy in “Falcon’s Gaze”, the yearning in “Ferry Song”, and the agitation in “Not Against It or For”.
There are some unique, subtle flavours in some of the tracks that help keep things fresh, such as the jazz-like inflections in “Romance of the Stars”, the particularly striking imagery Hampton evokes in “October Nights”, and the lullaby-like quality of “Old Blind Couple”.
Listeners looking for music to inspire a meditation of their own would do well to give The Quiet Hours a try. Tracks are available for streaming on Bandcamp. More information about Electra Day and her music is available on her Facebook page.