Eau Claire, WI reeks of talent. It has been blessed with the emergence of nationally recognized bands and artists to bring forth the indie scene in recent years that has no doubt been thriving all along, but was never getting the recognition it deserved. Eau Claire's most recent emergence is solo-artist Gabe Larson who prefers the stage moniker Waldemar - the royal name of lines of ancient Swedish and Danish king's as well as Larson's late paternal grandfather.
Waldemar began quite accidentally. Initially, it was the title and subject of a song that drew poignant parallels between Larson's own identity and struggles as an artist and the deep generational depression surrounding the life and work of Larson's recently deceased grandfather, Waldemar. Grandpa Waldemar, or Wally, as Larson describes, was someone he always wanted to be close to; someone he wanted to understand. But Waldemar lived most of his life in a quiet, somber solitude; as though he carried some unknown wound or unfulfilled purpose and hope in life. Waldemar lived his whole life as a Midwestern cattle farmer through the days of the Great Depression and WWII on the same plot of land granted to his immigrant Swedish family in the days of Theodore Roosevelt and the Homestead Act.
The name Waldemar carries with it a sense of personal identity and family, as well as a call to break the cycle of generational fate and destructiveness of depression in the individual and the family unit. This tension cuts through in the forthcoming debut record, Visions EP from Waldemar. Moments of levity, adventure, and free-spiritedness in songs like Totem and Brotherly are tempered by songs of inner conflict, and personal dissonance in the second half of the record. The record pulls the listener through a sense of up and down throughout the arc of the record, reflecting the process and feelings of cyclical and seasonal bouts with depression.
Besides being a home for incredible performing artists, Eau Claire, WI is dense with extraordinary production talent. For the forthcoming Visions EP, Larson enlisted an elite production team of local fellow producers and friends, Evan Middlesworth (El Vy) and Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Local Natives, Sufjan Stevens, Indigo Girls) as Co-Producers for the record. The recording process was patient and precise spanning over four months in Eau Claire at Middlesworth’s Pine Hollow Studio and Joseph’s studio, The Hive.
The sound of Waldemar is lush, intricate and layered; a vast array of instruments and elements woven tightly together. Often deviating from traditional indie song structures and favoring arrangements closer at times to modern and classical choral composers. This is owed largely to Larson's extensive years studying classical choral music since he was a child. Post-80's inspired electric guitar tones, nuanced rhythmic textures from dual drummers, trombone sectionals and near constant choral inspired harmonic vocal arrangements comprise the sonic landscape constructed by Larson's multi-instrumental artistry.