Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of artists who have become mainstay artists on this site. And interestingly over the past week or two I’ve been primarily (and unwittingly) focusing on many of those mainstay artists, as some of them had been releasing videos or new material. Adding to that growing list is the New York-based electronic duo Beacon, who will be releasing their latest effort, Escapements through renowned indie electronica label, Ghostly International on February 5. Now if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few years, you may be familiar with the New York-based duo comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production), but I know that there will hopefully be some new readers and listeners and there will be some folks whose memories will need to be refreshed so some backstory is a little necessary. With the release of their debut EP, For Now and its follow-up efforts, The Ways We Separate and L1, the duo have received attention across the blogosphere for a sparse R&B-leaning electro pop driven by big bass and big beats that frequently explores human relationships — perhaps more important, the dark and fucked up aspects of broken and failed relationships including the confusion between lust and love, obsession and longing and so on. And at its core a haunting sense of dread and regret as a reminder that ghosts linger — and linger in unsettling, uncomfortable ways. Although initially sparse and icily minimalist, the duo’s material has become increasingly warmer and dance-floor ready while remaining as subtle and nuanced as ever. In many ways, the material captures complex mental and emotional states that we all have known at some point.
Interestingly, the Beacon’s forthcoming effort Escapements is about time and the baggage it inevitably brings. And it’s title is reportedly taken from clock mechanics; escapements are timekeeping regulators designed to transfer energy at a constant and regular pace. As the duo’s Mullarney explains in press notes. “I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies. Friction and changes in amplitude over time mean[s] every escapement, no matter how well crafted, will lose its accuracy and effectively slow down time via its own decay.”
Featuring drumming from Tycho‘s Rory O’Connor, the material on Escapements was written, revised, refined and recorded over the course of about nine months at Beacon’s Brooklyn-based home studio and Gary’s Electric and interestingly, their forthcoming effort reveals that the duo in a period of restless experimentation that includes changing their songwriting and production approach wherever their muses take them. And as the members of Beacon note, it meant trying out new studio tricks and recording techniques — sometimes on the fly, essentially capturing the free-flowing energy of the creative process.
Escapements‘ first single “Preserve” begins with woofer and tweeter rattling bass, layers of undulating and cascading synths and skittering and stuttering drum programming paired with Mullarney’s aching falsetto in what may arguably be the most dance-floor ready, classic house music-leaning song they’ve released to date while remaining incredibly nuanced both emotionally and sonically. But at it’s core the song glistens with an urgent, plaintive need.
The band will be on tour next February and March to support the new album and it’ll include a hometown show in February. Check out tour dates below.
02/04 Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s Tavern*
02/05 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Cafe*
02/06 Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel*
02/10 Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
02/11 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom*
02/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle*
02/13 Washington, DC @ Song Bird*
02/16 Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5*
02/17 New Orleans, LA @ Hi-Ho*
02/18 Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s*
02/19 Austin, TX @ The Parish*
02/20 Tlaltizapán, MX @ Bahidora*
02/22 El Paso, TX @ The Lowbrow Palace*
02/23 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar*
02/24 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar*
02/25 Los Angeles, CA @ Bottom of the Hill*
02/26 San Francisco, CA @ Noise Pop*
02/27 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios*
02/28 Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge*
03/01 Boise, ID @ Treefort*
03/02 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court*
03/03 Denver, CO @ Lost Lake*
03/04 Wichita, KS @ Barleycorns*
* w/ Natasha Kmeto