Although formed in 2011, the Portland, OR-based art rock duo Lore City — Laura Mariposa Williams (vocals, keys, guitar) and Eric Angelo Bessel (percussion, keys, guitar) — can trace their origins to when the duo met in 2003 while attending Syracuse University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts. Williams and Bessel manned to reconnect years later, formed Lore City and got married shortly after that.
As the duo explains their music is “born from the transformational power of sound. We hand over words, instruments, and rhythms; trading back and forth until everything belongs to both of us. Until we are distinguishable. We create from the belief that we all are one, and that we’ve been here before. Song fragments are shimmering all around us, ready to transport. We tune in and transcribe. Deep knowing, alongside the unfathomable unknown, is where we reside. Sonic soundscapes give way to archetypal figures and voices materialize. Sometimes we are just singing along with the ghosts that emerge from our chorus of effect pedals.”
The duo’s fourth album Participation Mystique is slated for a July 23, 2021 release through the band’s own imprint. Sonically the album finds the duo meshing elements of psych rock, post-rock, krautrock, post-rock, dark wave and dream pop into a difficult to pigeonhole, mesmerizing sound. Thematically — and perhaps even sonically — Participation Mystique is inspired by a once every 500 year celestial occurrence that happened in early 2020: Saturn directly aligning with Pluto within the constellation of Capricorn. According to astrologers essentially hard lessons joined forces with transformational evolution when it came to the infrastructure between the spiritual and the material.
Participation Mystique’s latest single “I Know You Know” is a brooding and cavernous mix of krautrock and psych rock centered around propulsive and blown out tribal beats, chanted vocals drenched in copious reverb, droning synths. The end result — to my ears — is a song that evokes a trance-inducing shamanistic ritual, meant to bring you closer to both one’s ancestors and the universe.
The duo describe “I Know You Know” as “a trait drone-rock anthem vibrating with tension between material and spirit.”