JOVM turns 12 later this month and over the course of it history, I’ve spilled a copious amount of virtual ink covering New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Their third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs saw the JOVM mainstays — Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) — writing material that was a sonic left turn from their previously released work.
Gravity Paris‘ creative process saw Mullarney III and Gussett embarking on open-ended writing sessions, in which they adopted a more linear songwriting style instead of the loop and textured-driven method they had developed and honed through the early part of their career. The initial demos the duo wrote were built around piano chords and guitar phrases paired with vocal melodies, which they then edited into a number of iterations. That allowed the JOVM mainstays to look at each individual version from a multitude of angles and directions.
As they continued through their creative process, they expanded upon song songs and pared others back. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, patient and deeply painterly process eventually turned the material they had been working on into a space in which wildly different colors, tones and textures — in the album’s case, minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds.
Interestingly, with each iteration they created, the JOVM mainstays quickly discovered that they could easily expand upon how they presented Gravity Pairs‘ material in a live setting: They could play the album’s material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play that material in a very different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires.
While Gravity Pairs found Beacon boldly pushing their sound and approach in adventurous, new directions, the material remained imbued with the vulnerability and yearning that they’ve long been known for.
A couple of years have passed since the release of Gravity Pairs, the JOVM mainstays have been busy: Back in 2019, they opened for acclaimed Aussie electro pop artist Nick Murphy during his North American tour, which included a stop at Brooklyn Steel. The duo shared a series of stripped down, live studio sessions — and they released a remix album, which featured remixes and edits by Elkka, Helios, and CRi.
2020 saw the release, of a meditative, piano-led take on the Pixies‘ “Wave of Mutilation” inspired by the slower tempo and phrasing of the UK Surf B-side, which managed to showcase the song’s mutability. Before, the pandemic struck and put the world on an indefinite hold for the next 15 months or so, the duo went on a headlining European tour, which featured a stop in one of my favorite cities, the charming city of canals Amsterdam.
Beacon capped off 2020 with the release of “Feel Something,” which saw Mullarney III and Gussett continuing to prioritize the creative process behind Gravity Pairs while painting a surrealistic and disturbing vision of desire, longing and control that feels like a lived-in perspective of a codependent and dysfunctional relationship — with a person or a situation.
“Until Next Time,” is the first bit of new material from the duo in about two years, and the single reveals a fresh aesthetic rooted in contrasts: Rumbling electronic feedback and noise gives way to a swirling and twinkling piano-led melody paired with Mullarney’s achingly delicate falsetto, trembling metronomic beats and swirling static, which rises and crashes into Mullarney’s vocals.
“Until Next Time” is the start of a new chapter for the dup with more music to be released throughout the year. “It really captures some key dynamics of our new work,” Beacon’s Gussett reveals. “Shifts between rich, delicate piano and intense electronic noise are defining characteristics of this genre-bending, soft-loud direction.”
Directed by Beacon’s Gussett, the accompanying visual is a cinematically shot fever dream, inspired by a key line in the song “With my face to the glass, both sides of the tether . . .” The video features Mullarney with an uncanny doppelgänger, whose actions frequently mirror, fracture and distort his own throughout. It opens with them feverishly running towards one another,” Gussett explains, “drawn to this inevitable collision. Two characters so intertwined as to be almost one, their journey from connection to rupture.”
The JOVM mainstays will be hitting the road for the first time in two years with a handful of European and UK dates, which you can check out below.
2022 EU/UK TOUR DATES
Nov 15 – Haarlem, Netherlands @ Patronaat
Nov 17 – Budapest, Hungary @ Turbina
Nov 18 – Glasgow, UK @ The Hug & Pint
Nov 19 – Manchester, UK @ YES
Nov 20 – London, UK, @ Nells