Spotlight – East Forest

East Forest weaves ethereal soundscapes from his vintage keys, intimate vocals, and original field recordings.  His sonic architecture reflects motifs of nature and the inner spiritual landscape juxtaposed with the realities and possibilities of modern society.  The emotive music experiments with elements of pop and contemporary themes while leading the listener on a sensual ambient journey.

The wide ranging textural sound has been called “blissful” (NPR),“ unerringly gorgeous” (Nothing Sounds Better), and likened to a cross between Sigur-Ros, The Album Leaf, and Olafur Arnalds.  He has collaborated with Deepak Chopra, shared stages with artists ranging from Moby, Sarah Neufeld, to Random Rab, and composed and licensed music for tv/film, theatre, apps, video games, and dance companies.  The debut album, The Education Of The Individual Soul worked to bring the essence of the natural world to the earbuds of the urbanites and his live performances established principal, Trevor Oswalt, as a pioneer of improvisational live looping.

“Oswalt,” which translates from the German to mean “East Forest,” founded his project in 2008.  He has since released seven full length albums including a large body of live performance recordings. The project has performed throughout North America including SXSW, CMJ (upcoming), Lighting In A Bottle, and venues as varied as the NY Armory and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. A lifelong student of the scientific and sacred power of sound healing, Oswalt travels the globe leading sound retreats and seeking out sounds to sample in locations ranging from the mountains of his native Pacific Northwest and his adopted Southern Utah to the Amazonian jungle and the desert of Morocco. After a decade in New York he is currently based in Portland, OR where the project has grown to work with additional members ranging from guest vocalists, bass, drums and live strings.

As an innovator in the world of yoga, meditation, and the healing arts he collaborates with a wide range of international teachers and has been featured at multiple Wanderlust festivals as well as countless events and studios across the US and Canada. East Forest has created a new type of live aural experience using music as a “technology” that can intentionally facilitate a heightened odyssey of body, mind, and spirit.

In 2012 an eerie “double” bicycle accident that badly broke Oswalt’s left arm threatened to end his career — he had seriously broken the exact same two bones as in a prior accident five years earlier — the mishap catalyzed a winding quest for recovery that took him around the world.  Orbits, the 7th full length release from East Forest, is a musical healing salve for a world gone “busy”. The fluid electro-acoustic mix of down-tempo beats, inspiring melodies, chamber-esque strings, and original field recordings from around the world all combine to form a musical journey that invites presence, patience, and inner peace. The album took shape after the Portland based A-wol dance company commissioned East Forest to compose the score for their 10th anniversary Art In The Dark aerial dance performance. The commission offered the opportunity for Oswalt to create a dynamic album of both new and old reworked and remixed material that synthesizes a musical catalogue spanning over seven years since the inception of the project. The resulting album, Orbits, is an aggregate of work that is both prescient and timeless, and reflects an evolution of artistic style and an adroitness of compositional skill sharpened through years of experimentation.

A self described “reformed Eagle Scout”, Oswalt now applies his technical prowess, discipline, and love of exploration to creating a hand crafted sound imbued with his love of the natural world.

Follow East Forest on Twitter @eastforest