Royalty collection society:
Ambient, Electronic, Folk, Atmospheric, Vocal, Textural
Radiohead, Bjork, Rufus Wainwright, Sunny Day Real Estate, Panda Bear, Nobukazu Takemura, Steve Reich, Ali Farka Toure, Thomas Mapfumo, David Bazan, Soul Junk, A Tribe Called Quest, and many more.
Started in 2005, Ellul is an electronic rock band based out of San Francisco. Though supported by a rotating cast of contributing artists Ellul is essentially the brainchild of songwriters Blankethead (Joel Tarman) and The General (Joel St. Julien).
The two first met while studying sociology and urban economic development in Philadelphia. A mutual love of music and social activism spurred their first joint effort - Janbazian Theory - an amorphous trio inspired by noise, free-jazz, funk, and social criticism. After graduation, Blankethead moved out west to San Francisco, where he quickly began efforts to lure The General. Its unclear if it was the promise of sunny skies, left leaning politics, music, or burritos that finally swayed The General but two years later he touched down at San Francisco International Airport and never looked back.
Both band members had been dabbling for some time with electronic music - sharing their experiments, critiques, and ideas with the other. Finally on the same coast, the two began fusing these electronic experiments with the lyrical and vocal talents they had been known for in previous projects. Pulling in the entirety of their varied influences, these initial demos caught the attention of Asthmatic Kitty Artist/Sounds Are Active label owner Chris Schlarb, who agreed to both produce and release the bands first self-titled LP in May of 2005. The album received overwhelmingly positive reviews at home and abroad and the band soon followed with national and west coast tours.
Not long after returning from tour the duo began blending the lines between artist & engineer. Moving out from behind their guitars, keyboards, and electronics, the two began a new journey of creative freedom - from the recording booth to the mixing console. In 2008, Blankethead and The General began co-engineering a series of weekend recording sessions that would inspire the direction, sound, and dimensions of Ellul's sophmore full length album, Ashes. While still mixing the full length, in January 2010, the band announced it's charitable release of the Debris EP: an act of solidarity with the people of Haiti. With deep connections to the island nation so devastated by a 7.0 earthquake, Ellul donated all the proceeds of this release to Partners with Haiti (www.partnerswithhaiti.org), raising over $3500 for the relief effort. That same year, Debris was selected from hundreds of submissions to be released on an Annual Test Press SF Compilation Album put out by Epiphyte Records in San Francisco.
As if in Karmic response, The Debris EP not only did good for Haiti, but in turn caught the attention of MC Subtitle’s B.E.A.R. group label -the label that later signed with Ellul to release their upcoming full length Ashes. Musically and emotionally varied, Ashes was recorded over an intense two year period (2008-2010) for the band. Written largely during the final rattles of Blankethead's marriage, the shimmering guitars, raw vocals, and textured electronics of Ashes reflect a tone that is intensely personal and emotionally turbulent. The band recorded, mixed, and mastered the album at studios all over the San Francisco Bay - most notably at the legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. Lyrically, Ashes strives to transcend a purely personal narrative by merging the personal with the abstract. Though springing from the ground of tragedy the content of Ashes isn't mired in overindulgent sentimentality. At times, the album even rings out triumphant with lines like fresh shoots of green struggling against a desolate horizon.