by Lauren Rosier
Dredg is really one of those bands that has flown under the radar and it’s really unfortunate because they are a solid set of musicians and songwriters. If you’ve never heard Dredg before, you can thank me later, because their record, 2002’s El Cielo, is my Lost and Found for this week.
El Cielo was Dredg’s major label debut on Interscope Records. At the time, it was a record so very different than anything else that had been released. It was the progressive rock band’s concept album that initially intended to touch upon Salvador Dali’s painting, Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee Around a Pomegranate One Second Before Awakening.
Take a listen to this record while viewing this painting. You will discover that many of the themes from the painting influence El Cielo’s core themes, as well as its song titles. For example, “Brushstroke: dcbtfoabaapos” is an acronym for the painting’s title.
It’s really incredible listening to this record and viewing the Dali painting that’s been said to symbolize sleep paralysis. Pairing up this music with another form of art, similar to the way American society has discussed listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon while viewing The Wizard of Oz, pulls together a whole new level of experiencing the true meaning behind both artistic creations. It’s an emotional musical journey.
When you take a look at the album notes, the band included letters and notes from who have experienced sleep paralysis, and then took excerpts of those notes, and inserted those clips into the lyrics of the songs.
El Cielo, for me, has always been one of those records that I could connect with and one that I’ve held close to my heart. The one time that I saw them perform live (and probably the only time) was in Philadelphia at the Theatre of the Living Arts with Circa Survive. It was truly a magical experience.
Do yourself a favor and take a listen to this record. Not just once, but really listen to it. Engulf yourself in the notes, lyrics, and emotions that Gavin Hayes conveys in the songs. Picture the people that have experienced firsthand what sleep paralysis is like. Just feel.