Ascent is a husband-and-wife progressive hard rock duo based in Orange County, California. The duo, Bruce and Christina Baldwin perform complex arrangements of original, emotional, thought-provoking songs by using live looping to create a unique sound. The music is dominated by Christina’s impressive and compelling voice and Bruce’s intense heavy guitar. Bruce Baldwin's entry into music began at the young age of 9. By the time he was 15 he was the drummer in a metal band, and he picked up his first guitar at 16. His obsession with music grew rampantly and his passion in music led him to become a multi-instrumentalist, determined to play anything new and unorthodox. His desire to have all instrument parts played just as he envisioned eventually led to the live-looping approach Ascent employs. Christina Baldwin has been passionate about singing since she was 3 years old. With having exposure to a wide variety musical genres, styles, and artists from a young age, Christina began doing performances with marvellous choreography, lyrics, melodies, props, and staging. For years, Christina honed her skills, stage presence, and love for performing in many venues throughout Arizona. Christina and Bruce met through a newspaper ad requiring a vocalist, which led her to Bruce’s door. This exact moment is when their legend began. Since then, they have gotten married, released three CDs, and are currently working on their 4th.
Ascent’s newest release is titled “Beacon Eleven”. “Beacon Eleven” is a dark rock fantasy with somber lyrics and filled with Bruce’s intense guitar. Christina’s first verse in the song is “In deepest, blackest ocean, I drift for hours, no direction known”. This sets the tone for the entire song, leaving the listener feel the emotions and confusion that is being expressed throughout the entire song. This is a comforting track for anyone who feels lost because Christina’s powerful vocals make the listener feel understood and not alone.
Give a listen to Ascent's new music here, and continue reading for Ascent's personalized interview!
Does being married affect the music you make in Ascent? If so, what are the benefits and struggles that you face?
The benefit is we know each other inside and out. We know how to anticipate what each other will do when we perform, and we know how to push each other to our peak. We also know how to cover each other’s mistakes. In the past, it was sometimes a struggle when we couldn’t necessarily separate our music life from our personal relationship, but we’re way beyond that now. We make each other stronger.
Is there a meaning behind the name “Ascent”?
The name is inspired by flight. It’s amazing to consider that humanity tried for millennia to figure out to take flight and how to reach beyond our world, and now we’ve had the technology for a relatively short time, and we take it entirely for granted. Meanwhile, we have always had flying birds all around us, for whom flight is as simple and obvious as walking. They are incredibly varied and complex, and we mostly ignore them. There’s so much more depth and detail to the world than we choose to consider most of the time.
What do you want listeners to get out of your hit song “Beacon Eleven”?
Hopefully, what they get out of it is a sense of yearning and loneliness, expressed in music that’s out of the ordinary. We hope listeners detect the details below the surface. Today’s technology isolates us as much as it connects us. But can any of us truly survive alone?
What was the inspiration behind “Beacon Eleven”?
Bruce: it’s a long story! The music was inspired by wanting to write a guitar riff in eleven time. I’m somewhat obsessed with prime numbers - I’ve written in 13, 17, and of course 5 and 7. I had the riff and the lead guitar melody, and it was originally going to be an instrumental called “Eleven”. One day, I got stuck for a while reading Wikipedia articles about the Channel Islands. I was particularly interested in the story about San Nicolas, where a woman was left stranded there for many years, the last surviving member of her culture. Shortly after that, I went out on a long bike ride. I tend to write lyrics in my head while out on bike rides. Part of my creative process is to ask Christina for a couple of random words to think about while I’m riding, which helps me focus on writing lyrics. On this particular day, the words were “beacon” and “rotting”. So the song is about loneliness and isolation. I imagined being lost at sea and encountering this isolated person, sensing the loss all around, yet being unable to communicate.
What is next for you through 2019?
We’re constantly working on new songs and making new recordings. We plan to expand the Bleed Like Us EP into a full LP by the end of the year. We’re continuing to perform regularly all over Orange County and we look forward to some additional shows in L.A.
Connect with Ascent via the duo's socials: