Tag: Jorge Elbrecht

New Audio: Joseph Shabason’s Trippy Re-work of Absolutely Free’s “How to Paint Clouds”

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop outfit Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound and approach. 

Their full-length debut, 2014’s Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and widespread critical applause from the likes of PitchforkThe FADERStereogumBrooklynVegan,Exclaim!Under the RadarPopMattersAllMusic and countless others. 

Over the past decade, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy. Adding to a growing profile they’ve toured alongside the likes of AlvvaysYouth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, and they’ve shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch was released last year through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album is fueled by the trio’s desire to “. . . to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.”

Culling from a myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, and real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future. 

I managed to write about three of the album’s singles:

  • Interface,” a dreamily maximalist song featuring glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired with plaintive vocals that reminded me of  Amoral-era Violens — in particular, “Trance Like Turn.”
  • Remaining Light” is a sprawling track with two distinct parts — a cinematic and atmospheric instrumental introduction featuring twinkling keys, glistening synths and clinking marimba. At around the 2:20 mark, the song slowly morphs into a slow-burning and brooding bit of pop featuring King’s plaintive, reverb drenched vocals ethereally floating over the mix. The end result is a song that — to my ears, at least — sounded like a slick synthesis of The Fixx’s “Sign of Fire” and Amoral-era Violens. 
  • Epilogue,” a slow-burning and reflective track that slowly builds into a maximalist crescendo towards its conclusion centered around a lush, New Wave-like arrangement featuring glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats, a relentless motorik groove paired with King’s achingly plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. But underneath the breezy and expansive arrangement, “Epilogue” managed to possess a wistful, melancholy air.

Because of their exploratory approach, the members of Absolutely Free have revisited Aftertouch album track “How to Paint Clouds” with How to Repaint Clouds, an eight-track remix effort using on MIDI (Multi-Instrument Digital Interface) files — a digital language that contains harmonic and rhythmic blueprints, but no actual recordings.

“The song’s lyrics reflect upon the transcience of taste and how an artist’s feelings toward their work change over time,” the band says. “When a musician revisits their old songs, new interpretations are informed by changing contexts and evolving preferences. We wanted to stray from traditional modes of remixes based upon manipulating a song’s individual audio tracks, to provide the arftists with an unusual freedom from the original material, to create new sounds and reassemble the motifs of the song.”

The eight remixes interpret the track’s original structures untethered from its instrumentation, across a diverse aesthetic range from dark techno to psych rock. The first remix by Toronto-based musician Joseph Shabason turns the song into an otherworldly, woozy and ambient, New Age-like meditation centered around distorted saxophone bleats paired with twinkling synths.

How to Repaint Clouds is slated for a May 5, 2022 release through Boiled Records and will arrive with a tactile rendering: 20 one-of-a-kind AI-generated cloud painting turntable slipmats.

Since their formation back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths, baas) — have developed an established sound that sees the pair meshing elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave through two releases, 2018’s EP 1 and 2019’s ’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut. 

Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, threw the the lives and plans of the JOVM mainstays into disarray: their planned tour to support their full-length debut had to be scrapped entirely. After spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. And understandably, spending over a year in quarantine-imposed isolation forced the pair to step back and think about their lives in new ways — and to examine the intricacies of going through life as we know it. 

During the pandemic, the duo released a couple of singles during the pandemic: The Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins meets Slowdive like Again,” a single that marked massive, life-altering transitions for the duo: their aforementioned return back West paired with a reworked sound and approach. 

As the JOVM mainstays explained in press notes, “This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”

“Again” will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Take Your Time. Slated for a Friday release, the lion share of Take Your Time was recorded by the band in Western Massachusetts, amidst the isolation of pandemic related quarantine — with the band’s Nestel-Patt taking up engineering duties during the initial recording sessions. The album features guest spots from longtime collaborator Jon Smith (drums), along with Furrows‘ and Olden Yolk’s Peter Wagner (guitar). Jake Aaron contributed some additional production and Chris Coady mixed the album, pushing the material into something otherworldly. 

Take Your Time‘s material was conceived and written during both personal and global transitions and turmoil — but while celebrating a joyful acceptance of the paths that have lead each of us to where we are right now. About the album’s themes, No Swoon’s Abbott contends, “We are so hard on ourselves for decisions we made years ago. I have plenty of regrets, but I also see it as a process, and it’s ok that I didn’t realize the hopes and dreams of 20-year old me. What did she know anyways?” 

In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two more singles:

Besides,” Take Your Time‘s first official single that sonically nods a bit at JOVM mainstays Beach House, but was inspired by a wild, enigmatic dream the band’s Tasha Abbott once had in which, while exploring a mysterious cavern, she stumbled upon a secret and apparently blissful cult with ambiguous intentions.

“I have some really weird dreams,” Abbott said in press notes. “They are often these wide-ranging sci-fi stories. This song is part 2 of the same dream that inspired a song on our first record ‘Don’t wake up, wake up‘. That dream had ended with meandering into a cave that turned out to be the home to a cult where everyone looked the same and seemed very ‘happy.’ Though, obviously they were not very happy because it was a cult. I eventually got out.”

Wait to See,” a simultaneously brushing and dreamily introspective song centered around a maelstrom of synths, driving percussion and blown out bass paired with Abbott’s ethereal vocals that Abbott explains is about growing up and getting older.

“We’re talking to our younger selves who had very specific dreams and ideas of how our lives would pan out. But as we all know, the hopes and dreams we had at 15 are usually not our realities when we grow up.. We could look back and be upset that we didn’t become who we had hoped to be, or we could relish the new ideas and new dreams, and be ok with where we are. This song is about how looking back now, you can see the path that led to where we are now and how we wish we could tell our younger selves to be kind to who we will grow up to be.”

“Spare the Time,” Take Your Time‘s final single is a slow-burning and wistful track centered around buzzing guitars, fluttering synths paired with Abbott’s plaintive vocals begging and invoking a creative muse to inhabit her — if only for a brief period of time. “Spare the Time” will feel familiar to those, who have suffered through writer’s block, and have a deadline to complete something.

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays No Swoon Share Introspective New Single

Formed back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths, baas) — have developed an established sound that sees the pair meshing elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave through two releases, 2018’s EP 1 and 2019’s ’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut. 

Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, threw the the lives and plans of the JOVM mainstays into disarray” their planned tour to support their full-length debut had to be scrapped entirely. After spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. And understandably, spending over a year in quarantine-imposed isolation forced the pair to step back and think about their lives in new ways — and to examine the intricacies of going through life as we know it.

The duo managed fro released a couple of singles during the pandemic, including the Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins meets Slowdive like Again,” a single that marked massive, life-altering transitions for the duo: their aforementioned return back West paired with a reworked sound and approach.

As the JOVM mainstays explained in press notes, “This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”

Interestingly, “Again” will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Take Your Time. Slated for an April 8, 2022 release, the lion share of Take Your Time was recorded by the band in Western Massachusetts, amidst the isolation of pandemic related quarantine — with the band’s Nestel-Patt taking up engineering duties during the initial recording sessions. The album features guest spots from longtime collaborator Jon Smith (drums), along with Furrows‘ and Olden Yolk’s Peter Wagner (guitar). Jake Aaron contributed some additional production and Chris Coady mixed the album, pushing the material into something otherworldly. 

Take Your Time‘s material was conceived and written during both personal and global transitions and turmoil — but while celebrating a joyful acceptance of the paths that have lead each of us to where we are right now. About the album’s themes, No Swoon’s Abbott contends, “We are so hard on ourselves for decisions we made years ago. I have plenty of regrets, but I also see it as a process, and it’s ok that I didn’t realize the hopes and dreams of 20-year old me. What did she know anyways?” 

Last month, I wrote about Take Your Time‘s first official single “Besides.” Centered around Abbott’s plaintive and breathy falsetto, a propulsive rhythm section and intertwined buzzing power chords and twinkling, reverb-drenched synths, “Besides” sonically nods at Beach House, but as the band’s Tasha Abbott explains, the song was inspired by a wild, enigmatic dream she once had in which, while exploring a mysterious cavern, she stumbled upon a secret apparently blissful cult with ambiguous intentions.

“I have some really weird dreams,” Abbott said in press notes. “They are often these wide-ranging sci-fi stories. This song is part 2 of the same dream that inspired a song on our first record ‘Don’t wake up, wake up‘. That dream had ended with meandering into a cave that turned out to be the home to a cult where everyone looked the same and seemed very ‘happy.’ Though, obviously they were not very happy because it was a cult. I eventually got out.”

“Wait to See,” Take Your Time‘s brooding third and latest single is centered around a maelstrom of synths, driving percussion, blown out bass with Abbott’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix, to create a mesmerizing song that’s simultaneously bruising and dreamily introspective.

“This song is about growing up,” No Swoon’s Abbott says in press notes. “
We’re talking to our younger selves who had very specific dreams and ideas of how our lives would pan out. But as we all know, the hopes and dreams we had at 15 are usually not our realities when we grow up.. We could look back and be upset that we didn’t become who we had hoped to be, or we could relish the new ideas and new dreams, and be ok with where we are. This song is about how looking back now, you can see the path that led to where we are now and how we wish we could tell our younger selves to be kind to who we will grow up to be.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays No Swoon Share a Dream-like Visual for Uptempo “Besides”

Formed back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths, baas) — have quickly established a blogosphere winning attention sound that meshes elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave with the release of 2018’s EP 1 and 2019’s ’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut.

Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the JOVM mainstay act found their lives and plans thrown into disarray: their planned tour to support their full-length debut had to be scrapped. And after spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. Understandably, spending over a year in quarantine-imposed isolation forced the pair to take a step back and think about their lives in new ways — and to examine the intricacies of going through life as we know it.

The band managed to release a couple of singles throughout the bulk of the pandemic, including “Again,” a single that marked massive, life-altering transitions for the duo: their aforementioned return back West. And along with their relocation, the band reworked their sound and approach. The Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins meets Slowdive like “Again” was deeply inspired by life during the pandemic. As the JOVM mainstays explained in press notes, “This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”

Interestingly, “Again” will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Take Your Time. Slated for an April 8, 2022 release, the lion share of Take Your Time was recorded by the band in Western Massachusetts, amidst the isolation of pandemic related quarantine — with the band’s Nestel-Patt taking up engineering duties during the initial recording sessions. The album features guest spots from longtime collaborator Jon Smith (drums), along with Furrows‘ and Olden Yolk’s Peter Wagner (guitar). Jake Aaron contributed some additional production and Chris Coady mixed the album, pushing the material into something otherworldly.

Take Your Time‘s material was conceived and written during both personal and global transitions and turmoil — but while celebrating a joyful acceptance of the paths that have lead each of us to where we are right now. About the album’s themes, No Swoon’s Abbott contends, “We are so hard on ourselves for decisions we made years ago. I have plenty of regrets, but I also see it as a process, and it’s ok that I didn’t realize the hopes and dreams of 20-year old me. What did she know anyways?” 

The album’s first official single, the uptempo “Besides” is centered around Abbott’s plaintive and breathy falsetto, a propulsive rhythm section and intertwined buzzing power chords and twinkling, reverb-drenched synths. While sonically nodding at fellow JOVM mainstays Beach House, “Besides” as the band’s Abbott explains was inspired by a wild, enigmatic dream she once had in which, while exploring a mysterious cavern, she stumbled upon a secret, apparently blissful cult with ambiguous intentions.

“I have some really weird dreams,” Abbott says in press notes. “They are often these wide-ranging sci-fi stories. This song is part 2 of the same dream that inspired a song on our first record ‘Don’t wake up, wake up‘. That dream had ended with meandering into a cave that turned out to be the home to a cult where everyone looked the same and seemed very ‘happy.’ Though, obviously they were not very happy because it was a cult. I eventually got out.”

Shot and edited by the duo, the accompanying visual for “Beside” emphasizes the song’s dream-like air: The viewer is placed in a forest, where we see the duo walking towards us in a seemingly infinite loop.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays No Swoon Release a Brooding New Visual and Single

Formed back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths) — have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound and approach that meshes elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave.

2018’s EP 1 was written in Los Angeles during a self-imposed exile from the East Coast. For Abbott, a native of Ontario, CA, the idea was to get back to her geographic and musical roots: she spent a great deal of time driving around the suburbs listening to the goth and New Wave that her mom played in the car when Abbott was a little girl  (BauhausLove and Rockets, New Order) and the indie rock and punk rock of her teenage years (Yeah Yeah YeahsThe White Stripes).

2019’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut saw the band firmly establishing their sound in an urgent and ambitious fashion. Drawing from the divisiveness of the 2016 election and its aftermath, the self-titled album featured incisive political commentary — often criticizing capitalism, unchecked power and greed, while touching upon the confusion, frustration and and uncertainty that so many of us have felt, and continue to feel.

Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the JOVM mainstay act found their lives and plans thrown into disarray: their planned tour to support their full-length debut last year was indefinitely scrapped. And after spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. Understandably, the past year spent in isolation has forced the duo to take a step back and think about their lives in new ways, as well as examine the intricacies of going through life. (This has been a period of profound reflection and reinvention — for all of us.)

The duo’s latest single “Again” marks a period of massive transitions for the band: the aforementioned move back West — and the band reworking their sound as a result. The slow-burning “Again” sees the JOVM mainstays pairing Abbott’s ethereal and plaintive vocals with a stormy backdrop of forceful and buzzing power chords, thunderous drumming by frequent collaborator Jon Smith, swirling bursts of twinkling keys and a enormous hook. Sonically, the song manages to evoke the seemingly unending doldrums of the earliest part of the pandemic, while being a sort of mix of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins and Slowdive.

“This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”

Directed, shot and edited by the members of No Swoon,  the recently released video for “Again” features the band’s Tasha Abbott by herself at night, shot in a series of super tight close-ups meant to evoke the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped by yourself with your own thoughts.

New Video: Absolutely Free Releases a Trippy and Mind-Bending Visual for “Epilogue”

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop act Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound and approach.

The Canadian psych trio’s full-length debut, 2014’s Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and widespread critical applause from the likes of PitchforkThe FADERStereogumBrooklynVegan,Exclaim!Under the RadarPopMattersAllMusic and countless others. 

Over the past decade, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy. And adding to a growing profile they’ve toured alongside the likes of AlvvaysYouth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, and they’ve shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch is slated for release tomorrow through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album is fueled by the trio’s desire to “. . . to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Culling from a myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, and real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two of Aftertouch‘s previously released singles:

  • Interface,” a dreamily maximalist song featuring glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired with plaintive vocals that reminded me of  Amoral-era Violens — in particular, “Trance Like Turn.”
  • Remaining Light” is a sprawling track with two distinct parts — a cinematic and atmospheric instrumental introduction featuring twinkling keys, glistening synths and clinking marimba. At around the 2:20 mark, the song slowly morphs into a slow-burning and brooding bit of pop featuring King’s plaintive, reverb drenched vocals ethereally floating over the mix. The end result is a song that — to my ears, at least — sounded like a slick synthesis of The Fixx’s “Sign of Fire” and Amoral-era Violens. 

Album opening track “Epilogue” is Aftertouch‘s latest single. Beginning with a whirring to life, “Epilogue” is a slow-burning and reflective track that slowly builds into a maximalist crescendo towards its conclusion centered around a lush, New Wave inspired arrangement of glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats paired with a motorik groove and King’s achingly plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. But underneath the breezy and expansive arrangement, “Epilogue” manages to possess a wistful and melancholy air.

“‘Epilogue (After Touch)’ conjures an existence, where a linear progression of time no longer seems applicable. With reference to cinematic narrative, the lyrics touch upon living in a contemporary culture that seems to be referential and symbolic of what’s already in the past,” the members of Absolutely Free explain in press notes.

Directed by Rachelle Walkers, the recently released video for “Epilogue” is brooding and trippy as it features footage of a rollercoaster rendered through a fuzzy, neon-colored negative with prismatic figures superimposed over the proceedings.

New Audio: Toronto’s Absolutely Free Releases a Sprawling, Politically Charged Single

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop act Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound and approach. The Canadian psych trio’s full-length debut, 2014’s Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and received widespread critical applause from the likes of PitchforkThe FADERStereogumBrooklynVegan,Exclaim!Under the RadarPopMattersAllMusic and countless others. 

During the past decade, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy. And adding to a growing profile the’ve toured alongside the likes of AlvvaysYouth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations and shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch is slated for a September 24, 2021 release through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album is fueled by the trio’s desire to “. . . to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Culling from myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, and real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future. 

Last month, I wrote about Aftertouch album single “Interface,” a dreamily maximalist song featuring glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired with plaintive vocals that reminded me of Amoral-era Violens — in particular, “Trance Like Turn.” The album’s latest single “Remaining Light” is a sprawling track with two distinct parts — a cinematic and atmospheric instrumental introduction featuring twinkling keys, glistening synths and clinking marimba. At around the 2:20 mark, the song slowly morphs into a slow-burning and brooding bit of pop featuring King’s plaintive, reverb drenched vocals ethereally floating over the mix.

Continuing a run of expansive and mind-bending material, “Remaining Light” was originally written in 2016 and was informed by the disturbing trend of rising gun violence against marginalized populations at the time of its creation. The song thematically tackles the weighty issues of structural racism, poverty and injustice that are embedded into society’s often corrupt and exploitive systems — all while sounding like a slick synthesis of The Fixx’s “Sign of Fire” and Amoral-era Violens.

“‘Remaining Light’ expresses the frustration felt towards invincible and corrupt institutions that uphold structural inequities, including police brutality and manufactured poverty experienced primarily by racialized communities,” the members of Absolutely Free explain. “Written during a heat wave in the summer of 2016, the song dishearteningly remains as relevant as ever today.”

New Video: Acclaimed Toronto-based Psych Act Absolutely Free Releases a Trippy and Hallucinogenic Visual for “Interface”

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop act Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalists Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of now-defunct experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être helps provide a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound. The trio’s 2014 full-lengths debut, Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and received widespread critical applause from the likes of Pitchfork, The FADER, Stereogum, BrooklynVegan, Exclaim!, Under the Radar, PopMatters, AllMusic and countless others.

In their decade or so run together, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy. And adding to a growing profile the’ve toured alongside the likes of Alvvays, Youth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations and shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up.

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch is slated for a September 24, 2021 release through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album finds the members of the band “wanted to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Culling from myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future.

Aftertouch’s second and latest single, “Interface” is a cosmic and dreamily maximalist song. Featuring expansive song structure with glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired and plaintive vocals, the song is centered around a dexterous bit of craft, as it features an accessible, pop friendly melody and an enormous hook. Sonically, speaking the track reminds me quite a bit of Amoral-era Violens — in particular, I think of “Trance Like Turn.”

Absolutely Free’s Matt King explains: “Written as a pseudo-love song that interludes between two versions of self, Interface recalls an adolescent summer where I spent every waking hour on early web-based chat programs, instead of going outside. Typical coming-of-age feelings of loss and confusion were further conflated by prioritizing an emerging potential of a new virtual identity more ‘real’ than a physical self.”

The recently visual for “Interface” by Aussie artist Benjamin Portas features a surreally vibrant neon color palette and features two young people connecting through internet chats in a dystopian world much like our own.

New Video: Jorge Elbrecht and Geneva Jacuzzi Take Viewers on a Journey to a Dystopian Future

Throughout his career, visual artist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Jorge Elbrecht has been a prolific, restlessly creative and inventive presence: As a member of the Lansing-Dreiden collective, Elbrecht developed attention grabbing interdisciplinary work. As the creative mastermind behind Violens, Elbrecht received attention for crafting slick and anthemic 80s-inspired New Wave and synth pop. And since Violens’ demise, Elbrecht has been busy as a go-to collaborator cowriting, backing and/or producing a diverse and eclectic array of artists including Ariel Pink, Tamaryn, No Joy, Ice Choir, Kirin J. Callinan, Frankie Rose, Gang Gang Dance and No Swoon among others.

Back in 2018, Elbrecht released a wildly ambitious concept album, which contained roughly and EP’s worth of songs from four very different projects sonically and aesthetically: the shimmering and sunny pop of Presentable Corpse; 90s hi-fi ballads with REMYNYSl; the icy, full-frequency pulse of Gloss Coma; and the choral-driven, thrash metal blasts and gasps of Coral Cross. And while each project was wildly different, the entire album is held together by a subtle yet noticeable through-line. Since then Coral Cross and Gloss Coma full-lengths have been released, as well as an EP Happiness.

Elbrecht’s recent prolific period has a complicated and strange backstory, which I’ll briefly summarize: According to press notes, much of the material that’s been released since 2018 was written over a roughly decade period. At some point. Elbrecht suffered a psychotic break with reality in which he became an increasingly reclusive, barely coherent, aged husk of what he once was. During that period, the acclaimed visual artist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer still managed to prolifically write and record material with a diverse array of collaborators — but he didn’t see much of a reason at the time.

The press notes suggest that as a result of this psychotic break Elbrecht suffered, his family, friends and supporters have settled upon one unified intention — “to continue playing Elbrecht’s music, keeping his tenacity, imagination and recorded daydreams alive.” From what I understand, more material will be released as Elbrecht has a substantial catalog of material to disseminate.

Elbrecht’s latest single “Perish” is a brooding yet campy 80s-inspired industrial/goth pop banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios and tweeter and woofer rocking beats, alternating boy-girl vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook within an expansive song structure. And much like all of Elbrecht’s work, the song should serve as a reminder to the listener: Elbrecht has an unerring ability to craft an infectious, razor sharp hook — while evoking a large sense of existential dread. Interestingly, the song is the second time that Elbrecht has collaborated with Geneva Jacuzzi — the first being “Guillotine,” which appeared on the aforementioned Here Lies.

Directed by Zev Deans, the recently released video for “Perish” is a campy and absolutely batshit visual placing the viewer in a dystopian future with its own weird and unsettling practices and mythology. : “Upon hearing ‘Perish’ and then reading the lyrics, I felt like I was tapping into something at once ancient and futuristic,” Deans says. “There are themes of existential dread at times, while the song maintains a very campy atmosphere. The gonzo sci-fi fantasy film Zardoz came to mind, and I re-contextualized the film’s aesthetic as a backdrop to Elbrecht’s own lore and imagery. A dozen or so sci-fi films from the mid 70s seemed to deal with enclosed utopian societies in the distant future, that all have uniquely bizarre relationships with death and immortality. The aesthetic of these films seem to almost always be delightfully horrendous. John Boorman’s Zardoz is, to me, the single-most thoughtful incarnation of this trend, while boasting an absolutely batshit aesthetic that few other movies can touch.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstay No Joy Teams Up with Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz on a Feverish Visual for “Dream Rats”

Over the past three years or so of this site’s history,  I’ve written quite a bit about Montreal-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer Jasamine White-Gluz, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded JOVM mainstay act No Joy.  Initially starting out as a series of emailed guitar riffs between White-Gluz and her then-bandmate Laura Lloyd, the project has always been centered around White-Gluz’s penchant for restless experimentation. And throughout the project’s history, it has gone through a number of different sonic permutations with subsequent albums showcasing her love of delay-saturated jangle, industrial distortion and sludgy droning over disco-like beats.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past handful of months, you’d recall that White-Gluz’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced Motherhood is slated for a Friday release through Joyful Noise Recordings and Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada. The album is the Canadian-based artist’s first full-length album album in five years, and reportedly, the album finds her returning to the project’s early, DIY recording, shoegazer roots — but the material finds the JOVM mainstay continuing to expand upon her sound with the incorporation of elements of trip-hop, trance, nu-metal/deathcore and others. Some of the album’s genre-defying approach was inspired by White-Gluz’s many tours with genre-divergent artists: touring with Quicksand, No Joy picked up post-hardcore fans and ambient techno fans while touring with Baths. “As long as people are open minded about music, they can hear different things,” explains White-Gluz, “Maybe because there are a lot of layers.”

So far I’ve written about two of Motherhood’s singles —  “Birthmark,” which managed to be a seamless and trippy synthesis of Brit pop, shoegaze, trip-hop and shoegaze with a soaring hook and the Amoral-era Violens-like “Four.” “Dream Rats,” Motherhood’s third and latest single features White-Gluz’s sister Alissa White-Gluz, a member of deathcore supergroup Arch Enemy. Centered around thunderous drumming, synth choirs, twinkling strings, power chord shredding and soaring hooks, the song is a maximalist fever dream that recalls the aforementioned Violens while being a radio friendly 3.35.

“I’ve never collaborated musically with my sister before,” Jasamine White-Gluz says in press notes. “When we were kids we would sing and play music together but as we’ve both become adults and touring musicians we’ve never had a chance to work together. This is the heaviest song on this record so it felt fitting to have her on there. There is something special about her being on this album, specifically because it’s an exploration of family and motherhood.”

Directed by Beatrice Scharf-Pierzchala, the recently released video stars the White-Gluz sisters and a duck named Success, who’s something of a local celebrity in Montreal. (I just looked up the backstory behind Success and it’s adorable. And if you want to see a picture that will make your heart melt, there’s a picture of the bird on the Montreal metro.)

While the video is something of a surreal fever dream, the White-Gluz sisters bigger purpose was to spotlight the Le Nichoir Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre, a non-profit organization located in Hudson, Quebec. Their mission is to conserve wild birds as part of Canada’s natural heritage. For more information and to donate, check out the following: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/le-nichoir-wild-bird-rehabilitation-centre/