Pale Saints’ Ian Masters and His Name Is Alive’s Warren Defever found themselves together in the mid-90s at the Livonia, Michigan home where Defever had been mastering his recording techniques and creating spectral brilliance. The result was an incredible album of cracked folk, shimmering acoustic washes, found sounds, aching moments of silence and Masters haunting vocals. It is perhaps the album most in tune with the clash of Ivo’s record collection and his label’s commercial realities, so it comes as no surprise that it was pushed aside by 4AD. Defever found outlets via his own Time Stereo label and the cassette and eventual CD became a secret handshake amongst those in the know. Foreshadowing the surge in like-minded artists that would attempt to capture this type of ghostly magic 20 years later, ESP Summer stands side by side with the best work of Barrett, Spence, Sufjan and Banhart.
“Much like the pairing of Brian Eno and David Byrne in the early 80s, Warren Defever and Ian Masters made for an alignment of talented studio eccentrics of the time. ESP Summer’s dreamy acoustics made for one of the decade’s unrecognized gems and was certainly deserving of the high regard of His Name Is Alive and Pale Saints’ best works.” – Allmusic