Toronto based Lailien describes himself as the ‘anti-matter twin and alter-ego’ of poet Brad Shubat, whose debut album ‘Ensoular‘ is set to smash any preconceived notions of how pop music should be contrived from a pre-defined formula. As a classically trained pianist and university graduate (at one point on the path to become a Professor of Literature), predictably this record unveils a mature talent for careful, poetic and intelligent song-writing, although you might be forgiven for misinterpreting your own expectations on your first listen.
“Lailien exists as a fictional character within a mythic cosmology at play: An extra-dimensional sorcerer, conqueror of Vishnu’s body-suit, rational empiricist, fool, gender fluid prince of darkness… and yet another iteration of the Gnostic Christ resurrected.”
From a belief that “the best musical artists [utilise] profound, erudite, mind-expanding lyricism“, ‘Ensoular’ is less of a genre-crossing, and more of a genre-creating experience – with no single track taking the lead on the how the rest of the album sounds. It’s perhaps unsurprising that this debut LP was written in part during an intense period of experimentation with psychedelics, which had resulted in an intense period of clinically diagnosed psychosis during periods of the creative process.
“What happens when you love yourself or someone else unconditionally, with all your heart and soul, but you know that suffering will disrupt said love? Exploring the complex interrelationship between life and death, the song and video features principles of eternal reoccurrence, anti-matter spacetime, a multidimensional daemon and mystical psychopomps.”
The accompanying video for the track ‘Blue Love’ is every bit as imaginative as his music. Having been conceptualised by Lailien himself, the video was shot by Mina A Solomon and directed by Zafir Ahmed of NRWFilms and stars lead actress and former Miss Universe Canada delegate Chealse Sophia Howell.
“a symphony of thick and warped textures… subtle beats and infectious melancholic vocals.” – Line of Best Fit
Though discovering a love for experimental electronic, pop, rock and jazz sounds derives the main fuel for his creative imagination, Lailien is perhaps best described as a ‘cultural-omnivore’. At the same time as citing a diverse range of musical influences from Animal Collective to Lana Del Ray, academic influences such as gender theorist Judith Butler and modernist writer Virginia Woolf, even video game influences such as Legend of Zelda and Super Mario had samples which made it into the final edit.