Albums to watch

Acousmatic Sorcery

Willis Earl Beal

Acousmatic Sorcery

Blues, hip hop, soul, R&B on the debut album from the Chicago singer-songwriter, musician and artist

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  1. 9.1 |   A.V. Club

    Part of Acousmatic’s appeal is that Beal recorded these songs without any expectation that the public would hear them
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  2. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    One feels Beal will become something of a fixture
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  3. 8.0 |   Rave Magazine

    Willis Earl Beal’s debut album is simultaneously amazing and terrible
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  4. 8.0 |   Spin

    Beal is a strikingly singular performer, synthesizing various muses into something deeply unique. Accordingly, it's nearly impossible to turn away
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  5. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Bugged-out lo-fi genius of Chicago X Factor homeless hopeful songwriter for hire. Print edition only

  6. 8.0 |   music OMH

    Acousmatic Sorcery won't propel Beal to Lana Del Rey levels of fame - it's too weird, too spooky, too idiosyncratic for that. For those who do connect with Beal's gloriously skewed vision though, you're in for a treat
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  7. 8.0 |   BBC

    This set emerges rough-edged, ill-fitting, barely a whisper compared to the modern studio majority; yet it resonates with such feeling that its contents are irresistible
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  8. 8.0 |   No Ripcord

    Willis Earl Beal is a phenomenal vocalist, with a unique drawl and searing tone. Phenomenal in virtuosity, yet even more astounding with his delivery. A man that can croon like the best of Sam Cooke is also a man that can be as experimental as Captain Beefheart
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  9. 8.0 |   The Observer

    Part of the beauty of this Chicagoan's extraordinary avant-blues songs is that they sound like they were recorded down phone lines
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  10. 8.0 |   AU Review

    The album’s melding of extreme lo-fi sounds (recalling outsiders like Daniel Johnston and Jandek) with soul/blues vocals results in something quite unique
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  11. 8.0 |   Clash

    At times it’s testing, but there are flashes of phenomenal creative genius here that are destined to manifest further
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  12. 8.0 |   Q

    Mesmerising. Print edition only

  13. 8.0 |   DIY

    You’ll either love it or hate it but, ignore the buzz, take it on it’s own merits, and you might very well be rewarded
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  14. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    These songs are powerful, vehement, soulful, and impossible to ignore
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  15. 7.5 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    Chaotic, discordant experimentation and legitimate musical chops
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  16. 7.5 |   Bowlegs

    It’s compelling stuff. Acousmatic Sorcery isn’t showy or especially innovative, yet it is full of richness, coming from the layering of instruments and Beal’s down-but-not-out expression
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  17. 7.2 |   Pitchfork

    While Acousmatic Sorcery is interesting and occasionally even great on its own, it ultimately it feels very much like a hyper-creative and gifted artist trying to figure out what he's doing
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  18. 7.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Despite a few missteps, Acousmatic Sorcery is still a unique debut announcing the emergence of a fresh talent worthy of the buzz Beal has been receiving
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  19. 7.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    There are moments worth latching on to but for the full effect, go stand in a club with him and watch him perform
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  20. 7.0 |   NME

    In short, there’s lo-fi, and then there’s this album. Songs generally consist of a rudimentary, one or two-chord strum topped with Beal’s vocals, which are cracked and unrefined but have a clear blues’n’soul ancestry
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  21. 7.0 |   The Digital Fix

    There’s a rawness here that cuts across the spectrum, from Ellis’ paired down immediacy to the songs’ emotional openness
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  22. 6.5 |   Prefix

    He's already got a killer origin story, now he just needs a bulletproof album
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  23. 6.0 | mag

    Blues, soul, op and gospel are in the realm of Acousmatic Sorcery, but Beal pulls out his very own ideas from underneath and dresses them all in such dreadful lo-fi aesthetics that it can be just damn wearisome at times
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  24. 6.0 |   State

    He can sing and he can write songs without doubt, none of which wouldn’t benefit in ordinarily from being recorded in a proper studio
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  25. 5.2 |   Beats Per Minute

    Beal can write and perform songs which tug on the heartstrings as well as get you on your feet. Unfortunately, he appears determined to be kept an outsider
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  26. 5.0 |   PopMatters

    An intriguing work overloaded with unedited brainstorms and non-sequiturs that rarely gives the more compelling elements room to breathe and stretch out
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  27. 4.0 |   The Guardian

    Beal's got a great voice. He can rasp and holler, soar to a falsetto and wrap you in warmth... But the unrelenting, clanking horridness of virtually all the backing is wearing
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Willis Earl Beal: Acousmatic Sorcery

  • Download full album for just £8.49
  • 1. Nepenenoyka £0.89
  • 2. Take Me Away £0.89
  • 3. Cosmic Queries £0.89
  • 4. Evening's Kiss £0.89
  • 5. Sambo Joe From The Rainbow £0.89
  • 6. Ghost Robot £0.89
  • 7. Swing On Low £0.89
  • 8. Monotony £0.89
  • 9. Bright Copper 'Noon £0.89
  • 10. Away My Silent Lover £0.89
  • 11. Angel Chorus £0.89
  • 12. Masquerade £0.89
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