Tag: Beacon Escapements

Comprised of  Amber Lane-Mcivor, Jake Blythe and Oliver Lamb, the Manchester, UK-based electro pop trio Ambiere have received attention from the blogosphere and BBC Introducing over the past year for a sound that’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Portishead and The xx among others. Building upon a breakthrough year and a growing profile, the Manchester-based electro pop act’s latest single “I See Faces” finds the act pairing strummed, electric guitar and Lane-Mcivor’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with a lush and effortlessly slick production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, propulsive yet stuttering beats and a soaring hook. And while their latest single manages to simultaneously be both radio and club friendly, their sound — to my ears at least — reminds me of Ways We Separate and Escapements-era Beacon, as the British trio manages to evoke similar, lingering ghosts.

 

 

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So if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring New York-based, JOVM mainstays and electronic music duo Beacon. Comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production), the duo have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that draws from R&B, house music and electro pop as Mullarney’s aching and yearning falsetto vocals are paired with generally spacious, minimalist productions consisting of chilly, arpeggio synths and wobbling low end.

Last year’s sophomore effort Escapements thematically was about time and the baggage it both creates and brings, and unsurprisingly, the album’s title was inspired by clock mechanics; in fact, escapements are timekeeping regulators specifically designed to transfer the kinetic energy of the clock’s parts at a constant and regular pace. As Mullarney explained in press notes at the time, “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 the album revealed that the duo restlessly experimented with their songwriting and production approaches, following wherever their muses and instincts took them, including trying out new studio techniques and recording techniques. And occasionally, they tried things on the fly, which meant that the recordings captured much more of the free-flowing feel and energy of the creative process — while at points being subtly cinematic.

On the heels of a Coachella appearance with Tycho, Mullarney and Gusset released their first single of 2017, “Marion.” At the core of the song is a hammered dulcimer, a percussive, stringed instrument in which the musician strikes the strings with small, hand-held hammers — coincidentally, the hammered dulcimer is an ancestor of the modern piano that sounds a bit like cross between a harp and a piano. The chiming, hammered dulcimer sample ebbs and flows, and occasionally recedes for Mullarney’s achingly tender falsetto vocals to float over the production, which also features stuttering boom-bap beats. And while being subtly warmer than some of their previously released material, their latest single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting minimalist yet pulling material that possesses a wistful and yearning ache.

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Futuristic Visuals and Genre Mashing Sounds of BASECAMP’s “The Hunter”

Now, if you had frequented this site back in 2015, you would have come across a handful of posts featuring the Nashville, TN-based electro pop trio BASECAMP. Comprised of producers and songwriters Aaron Miller, Aaron C. Harmon and Jordan Reyes, the electro pop trio can trace their origins to when the trio started to collaborate together to write. Quickly realized that they had a strong creative chemistry, the trio founded BASECAMP and with the release of their 2013 debut EP, which featured standout tracks “Emmanuel” and “Smoke Filled Lungs,” the Nashville-based trio received attention both locally and nationally for a genre-mashing sound featuring R&B-like melodies, thumping bass lines, percussive beats, unpredictable tempo changes paired with glitchy electronics and organic instrumentation. And as a result of the attention they had begun to receive, the members of BASECAMP toured across the States with CHVRCHES and Phantogram before signing to Skrillex’s boutique label OWSLA, which released their impressive 2015 sophomore effort Greater Than EP, which featured one of my favorite singles of that year “Watch My Back.”

Since the release of Greater Than, the Nashville-based electro pop trio have been rather busy, working on and releasing two stand-alone collaborations “Comfort Zone’ with Jamie Lidell and “In My Veins” with Del The Funky Homosapien, and the In Stone EP, an effort which further cemented the trio’s reputation for a genre mashing sound and tempo changes; but arguably with a greater sense of sonic and thematic cohesion, while revealing much more introspective songwriting. After successful tours across Europe and North America — with shows at TEDx, Colors Berlin and Summit At Sea — the trio released “The Hunter” Remix package, which features remixes from the trio’s friends and frequent collaborators — Jamie Lidell, Yeo and Deebs.

In the meantime though, “The Hunter” is a refinement of their imitable sound and production as the song finds the trio pairing earnest and soulful vocals with stuttering and glitchy beats, swirling electronics — and in some way, the song reminds me of Timbaland’s revolutionary collaborations with Missy Elliot and Justin Timberlake in the 90s and 00s and of Beacon’s The Ways We Separate and Escapements, thanks in part to a swooning, uneasiness that the song’s narrator expresses in describing a relationship that seems to heighten his own self-doubts and has him wondering if he is hunter or prey — or perhaps both simultaneously. It also captures the odd sense in almost every romantic relationship in which neither party could tell what their relationship actually is or what their intentions are; but both are fearful of the perceived inevitable heartache they expect.

Directed, by BLAWKNO, from the GLO.Digital collective, the recently released video uses 3D scans of each member and fuses CG with live-action video as a play on the concept of perception vs. reality while giving the proceedings a hyper futuristic and alien sensibility.

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.
Tour Dates
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