Exploding Views

by SJ Esau

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    A lovingly designed 6 panel digipack with artwork by Oliver Marler and Sam Wisternoff.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Exploding Views via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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      £10 GBP


  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    A lovingly designed 12" vinyl album with artwork by Oliver Marler and Sam Wisternoff.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Exploding Views via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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      £15 GBP or more 




Videos for songs from Exploding Views can be seen in these places - vimeo.com/82901585 / vimeo.com/78191210 / vimeo.com/76523851

SJ Esau – ‘Exploding Views’

In the first full length from Bristol’s SJ Esau since ‘Small Vessel’ was released on Anticon in 2008, one could not hope for a more sublime distillation of Sam Wisternoff’s unique sonic worldview. ‘Exploding Views’ is a record both muscular and confident; destroyed analogue synths, demented loops and violent drums set the stage for his lyrical ambushes and infectious melodies. With this experimental pop album, Wisternoff steps out from amongst the myriad musicians and vocalists from whose contributions he has woven many aspects of previous releases and takes the forefront.

One regular collaborator who is fully present this time is drummer Sean Talbot, whose thundering, propulsive kit work adds a new urgency and momentum. Esau knows exactly when to let the drums thunder, allowing a dynamic alternation between dense percussive loops and the points where he lets Talbot loose. Another who returns for this outing is Charlotte Nicholls, who has played for Oxbow and Portishead and lends her ‘one woman quintet’ cello stylings and warm vocals to the mixture. The album's other obvious collaborative element is Doseone's satisfyingly growly vocals on 'The Pull'. Dose is an obvious kindred spirit; they both consistently refuse any compliance to how the music industry might wish to channel their talent.

The songs on ‘Exploding Views’ represent a move towards a more emotionally expressive outlook while maintaining the dry humour, word play and stoicism characteristic of previous releases. On ‘Who Isn’t?’ he asks, “Who isn’t trying to get off?” and answers “Everyone else and me”, while ‘Forceps’ finds him as a jilted ex, “phoning you at midnight just to check that you’re lonely” and threatening to “impregnate your mind”.

With this release, Wisternoff’s studio gifts have been distilled to the point where he could easily become an in-demand producer in the vein of Jim O'Rourke or Sean O'Hagan, a Mercurial figure who seamlessly blends traditional production mastery with a uniquely recognizable sound - one which no-one else could ever cope to imitate.

SJ Esau’s sound is individualistic enough to genuinely defy comparison but if you must, imagine the unique, evocative lyrical worlds of Jeffrey Lewis or Mark Linkous but with every other line cut up by Arthur Lee, the music rearranged by The Flaming Lips, overdubbed by Broadcast, and produced by Jim O'Rourke in a bedsit. Imagine the warped lyrical pitfalls of Love sitting within Brian Wilson's most lush yet equally warped arrangements. Imagine the craftsman-like song-destruction of This Heat's 'Deceit', but if the paranoia at the band's heart was actually all about walking through Bristol on a calm summer's day.


released March 3, 2014

All songs written by Sam Wisternoff apart from 'The Pull' which was written by Adam Drucker, Charlotte Nicholls, James Brandon Best and Sam Wisternoff.

Soul II Skull

Sean Talbot – Drums, Vocals
Yoshino Shigihara –Vocals
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Percussion, Guitars, Synthesisers, Stylophone
Matt Jones – Beat consultation

Stubborn Step

Sean Talbot – Drums, Vocals
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Guitars, Sythesisers


Sean Talbot – Drums, Piano, Vocals
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Guitars, Sythesesisers

Who Isn’t?

Sean Talbot – Drums
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Percussion, Guitars, Synthesisers

Why Angry?

Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Guitars, Piano, Synthesisers

The Pull

Adam Drucker – Vocals
Charlotte Nichols – Cello, Vocals
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Percussion

Make Space

Sean Talbot – Drums
Sam Wisternoff- Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Synthesisers

Perspective Parade

Sean Talbot – Drums, Vocals
Francois Marry – Trumpet
Yoshino Shigihara – Synthesiser
Josie Hypatia Grounds – Vocals, Viola
Charlotte Nicholls – Vocals
Ruth Revel – Vocals
Emma Revel – Vocals
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Guitars, Percussion, Glockenspiel, Synthesisers


Charlotte Nichols – Cello
Kathy Hinde – Music box, Tibetan singing bowl, Bowed toy piano
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Guitars, Percussion, Piano, Synthesisers

What Is It Now?

Sean Talbot – Drums
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Drum machine, Guitars, Synthesisers

No Journey

Sean Talbot – Drums
Sam Wisternoff – Vocals, Percussion, Guitars, Synthesisers


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SJ Esau UK

Sam ‘SJ Esau’ Wisternoff fuses experimental techniques and an individualistic song-writing sensibility to create manic psych-pop compositions.

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Track Name: Soul II Skull
I’m not in this line of work.
I couldn’t hold it.
I unheard a warning.
I was sleeping in school.
My body is trying to work,
I can’t control it.
Sent a certain signal from the soul to the skull.

It signals,
I couldn’t hold it back.
It’s simple.

I’m not in this line of work.
For all the effort,
I may as well forget it,
When the body says “no”.
Just willing this mind to work.
There’s a rebellion.
Straight from the cranium,
A physical movement which shows.
Track Name: Stubborn Step
You draw a line under the title
“This is what this is called”
I have a limit, I have opinions,
I’m unprepared to withdraw.
A single Jenga brick removed could wreck the whole foundation.
You have a space, you have to maintain,
Total, utter control.
You put a foot down and then keep it down,
Until you can’t pick it up.
Until the roots have grown around your foot, your foot is stuck down.

You can draw any line that you like.
You can draw any line that you like.
You get drawn into lies all the time.
You can draw, you get drawn, you get drawn.
You can draw any line that you like.
You can draw, you can draw, you get drawn.
You get drawn into lies all the time.
You get drawn, you get drawn, you get drawn.

A stubborn step into a locked room,
“I’m correct, I have checked.”
You give a reason, like there’s no reason,
For me to argue with you.
“Look, this is my position, you can’t undermine my mission.”
With some respect, I just expect your,
Undying alliance.
I did a re-count and you are still wrong,
You’re very welcome to check.
Although I seriously doubt that you can read my writing.

A sudden reversal of mind,
To know I don’t.
To see your construction unwind,
And your throne explodes.
To lay your assumptions aside,
for one whole moment.
A fool looking up to a climb.
The ascent goes slow.

A sudden reversal of mind,
To know I don’t.
To see your construction unwind.
And your throne explodes.
Track Name: Forceps
Don’t be alarmed, this is just for pretend.
Realistically, I’m a platonic and harmless friend.
And any harm that I didn’t intend,
Didn’t come from me, it’s a confusion at your end.

And I could strike, anytime, like a light-bulb doesn’t strike but dies.

Breathing into your home when you presume you’re alone.

Trust me on this one you’re not in control of your faculties.
Plus I insist you’re just playing a role, badly.
You mustn’t resist, you can’t see it but you’re still into me.
Trust me on this one. Trust me on this one, I can change.

I’m not ashamed and it’s clear to see,
You were only joking when you said you’re disowning me.
Don’t be afraid of attention from me.
Phoning you at midnight just to check that you’re lonely.

And I was right, all the time.
Why would I fight when I could just impregnate your mind?
Track Name: Who Isn't?
Who isn’t trying to get off?
Everyone else and me,
Behaving unhealthily.
And when I zoomed into one of your eyes using Photoshop,
It was the last opportunity to get off.

We are a disaster.
The price hike for a nice night, I paid in full.

Who isn’t trying to get off?
Everyone forms a queue.
Watch them perform for you.
And when you turn into one of your lies,
And the movement doesn’t stop,
You’ll take the last opportunity to get off.

It was the last opportunity to get off.
Track Name: Why Angry?
When it’s clearly your own bullshit that you’re angry at.

You are troubling again,
A big huff-wagon dragged you off the ledge.
I contributed to you and your mood.
It’s puzzling, but then I did stuff on purpose just to piss you off.
I’m enjoying annoying you.

Why are you angry at me?

You are baffling, my friend, I daren’t look,
As you read me like a shit book.
I am obscuring your view.
We’re battling, it’s tense, I mistook,
A flippant comment for a left hook.
I am absorbent when you just ooze.

I promise not to do it again.
I want to do it again.

Track Name: SJ Esau feat. Doseone & Charlotte Nicholls - The Pull
(Dose Rap)

Dose –

You ask me how I do it.
I don’t, it undoes me.

Charlotte –

One mile from here.
A strange pull.
Half an hour.
Cold sheets

Dose –

Since the sick of me and blood hits skin,
The whip kick.
The whip kicked in.

Sam –

Unfolding the gift which you brought,
The porn of your natural form.
It’s tempting.
The drool of an organ undrawn.
Beholding it’s horrible form.
You’re haunting my regular haunt.
The call of the human.
The physical form of the thought.
The call of the human.
The pool of the stink,
The fool and his think
The call of the human.
To swallow the drink,
And sink in the sink,
The call of the human.

Charlotte –

The alibi.

Dose –

Debt begets debt.
Track Name: Make Space
I was born an only twin,
But someone else came crashing in.
Managed to collect the shards,
But never reconnect the parts.

Yes. It’s logical.

Fun times fighting fear with beer,
But you should know there’s apce in here.
I presumed I’d lost it all,
But now is less impossible.

I can make space.
A miniscule room is a much bigger place.
I can make space.
I didn’t assume it but now I have faith.

Truth is looming through the words,
Presuming you can prove it first.
I might know as you might know what’s logical.
I was nearly too far gone to make room for anyone.
Time was long and I was wrong.
It’s logical.
Track Name: Perspective Parade
I can’t be held responsible,
For what I might have said twenty minutes ago at all.
That was then, I’m a different person now,
Even though there’s a passing resemblance.

A parade of perspectives, here they come.
I can’t tell which perspective’s the correct one.
In this place every face is a shape-shifter.
Holding on with the grip of a stapler.

I’m holding on by my teeth when your rhythm’s irregular.
Burrowing up from beneath just to meet a non-sequitur.
A mirror of me and I struggle to see the resemblance.
You’re molecular.

I am held in your pull,
And I move between all your molecules.
Can you tell where is up?
We have merged but I’m personally splitting up.
Looking out into hell,
Looking back, I can’t recognise myself.
The molecular structure melts.

Fusing, dispersing, improving, worsening.

A serenade of perspectives from all sides.
The individual angles all collide.
I resent that I can’t take the temperature.
Had a clue but it’s hard to remember.
Track Name: Remotely
A wave is collapsing,
Takes a form we don’t know.
You’re waving remotely.
It’s coming on slow.

From A distance.

The wave was engulfing.
It flooded our home.
The space was left over.
A small glimmer shows.

Come over.
Track Name: What Is It Now?
Watch a habit,
turn to an alarming trait,
When it turns it’s too late.
Got to have it,
It’s part of the ordinary state,
When it’s near, I can’t wait.
It’s embedded,
It sneaks into reason.

What is it now?
The angle has changed.
The object remains.
From mundane to deranged.

The line’s a circle and I don’t know how it ends..
(And I just reach for my intoxicant friends.
Then I can’t speak but yeah, you know how it ends.)

An illusion,
is fusing with the ordinary view.
What you know isn’t true.
An intrusion,
becomes the cause of everything I do.
It was small and it grew.
The solution is based on a lazy lie.

What is it now?
It’s altered again.
The object remains.
From mundane to deranged.

(repeat chorus)

According to lies,
everything’s fine,
but time has shrunk.
Been spending my,
expendable time,
high and drunk.
Track Name: No Journey
No journey is complete without the departure.
Those urgent, itchy feet,
Adjourn but can’t retreat,
Without a disaster.

I hope it’s going to get too loud.

The stomach finds a whole new function.
The shrinking station.

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