As a touring artist and synth engineer with many big names for most of his career, Tim Husmann gained a vast amount of experience and vision for his own projects. According to its title, however, it took a long and somewhat unexpected period of quiet and reflection to finally make and release Seven Years of Silence. Husmann struggled with the openness and vulnerability this new project seemed to require but eventually he realized he couldn’t hide from it anymore.
It was something that had to be made. I had tried to suppress the concepts and ideas explored in the 8 tracks for several years…It is an exploration of expectations and shortcomings and how they in turn will make us all the more uniquely human.
Going within in this way can be quite a challenge but it also produces some stellar results. Now branded as 1st Base Runner, Husmann released a teaser single called “All Thoughts” in January and what a teaser it was. With an equally stark video, “All Thoughts” introduced 1st Base Runner as a blend of goth darkwave, 90s-style shoegaze and deeply introspective, almost torturous Tom Waits-style storytelling. It left a mark, along with leaving many fans desperate for more. Luckily, there’s more than anyone could expect on this album.
Seven Years of Silence opens with a track called “Break Even” that seems very different from “All Thoughts.” More steeped in drone, the song with only four lines of lyrics is heavy and angry, conjuring more Disintegration-era The Cure than mid-90s shoegaze. Ever the gearhead, Husmann works the synths on all levels in this track as he squeezes more emotion out of those four lines than than Freddie Mercury did out of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
What was it you said I had to be to get to heaven?
And what was it you said I had to do just to break even?
What was it you said I had to be to be amazing?
And what was it you said I had to do to be forsaken?
The video for “Break Even” is even more stark and brave and moves the track from the esoteric and philosophical to the microcosm of Husmann’s own personal struggle. If you were wondering what this track is really about, it’s right there (video on Bandcamp).
For all intents and purposes, no song on Seven Years In Silence is like the others, save for the unifying theme of being open and honest and, of course, the exquisite synths and excellent songwriting. “Only One” is an industrial, goth core exploration of sinewaves, sound design and emotional desire while “Escape” has a much more dream pop vibe, a’la M83 or Flume. “Pirouette” has that great post punk flavor that reeled many indie fans in with “All Thoughts” while “Some Reasons” is a great, rambling guitar track with a comparatively modest electronic backing. Lastly, “What Am I” and “Ocean” are cinematic, breathy sound design-heavy tracks that conjure late-era Pink Floyd vibes.
Though diverse from track to track, Seven Years of Silence comes together in a sonic journey that is unmistakably 1st Base Runner. Even as a debut, it’s easy to see the sophistication in composition, the fixation on sound design and emotional maturity that made Husmann a successful touring artist and will likely make 1st Base Runner an even more successful solo project.