Monday, May 16, 2011

Phantasmagoria - Amalgamations, Ancient Languages and Hearts of Gold - 5/21-Belmont

"We didn't want to have a cold sound, at all...," says Christopher Jarvis.

Set aside that a Phantasmagoria live set features two synthesizers, a keyboard and a laptop, set aside their penchants for ambient techno. "There was a conscious decision to make it more of an organic, or warm sound..."

This duo aims to stand out amidst the class of dynamic greenhorn bedroom composers all feverishly cutting their teeth out there in the expansive spread of the internet's gymnasium by placing explicit emphasis on blending the oil-and-water of warm acoustics to chilly electronics...

Jarvis, (keyboards/percussion/laptop/vocals), with Lianna Vanicelli, (vocals/percussion/keyboard) are steadily stirring the pot of atmospheric/electronic dream-pop with the necessary focus and fanciful inventiveness of sure fire young turk-ish song crafters - ... hence the buzz...

Yes, they got onto the cover of Metro Times rather quickly, or early.

But it's up to anyone else to decide whether that's a valid, or actually a rather tired, ...bugaboo to exhibit -

If you haven't heard them yet - or if you've already been digging on their recent digi-LP Spirit, you can check 'em out on May 21 @ the Belmont, for their FiveThreeDialTone release extravaganza - including a new 7" vinyl single and a cassette's worth of b-sides (instrumentals, alternate versions, remixed versions and live versions).

"All the bands we've met have been warm and welcoming," Jarvis said. "It's been going good."

Jarvis met Vanicelli in 2008 when she wound up joining his "longest" active band, The Flower That Ate New York. Being quite taken with her dazzling vocal talent, Jarvis invited her to start collaborating on a fledgling sorta-side-project... which would eventually become Phantasmagoria.

Those early songs were more "poppy" -compared to the much more intricately-wrought, almost-chamber-pop-conjuring trips they're manifesting at live shows throughout Detroit.

"That's (Jarvis)," says Vanicelli, who develops melodies and vocal arrangements for initial demoed compositions presented by her bandmate. "He's always adding so many things. Or, taking things out then adding other new things. Once my vocals are in there, he molds them so it definitely changes a lot from its start."

The demure Jarvis blinks and shrugs, "I guess I'm just ...meticulous."

The FiveThreeDialTone single features one track from Spirit and a new song, "Take It To The Moon..." an effervescent stargazer intricately mixed with whizzled and wispy synths blazing and fading like a series of shattery comet tails whilst, characteristically being enhanced/bewitched by Vanicelli's sentimental/sublime vocals.

Now then, while their influences range from seminal techno (the Belleville Trio) to sleek dream-pop (School of Seven Bells) to swooning ambient insomia soundtracks (Boards of Canada) to dynamic dance-pop (Oh Land)... they also dig into the tawny twanged soil of Americana - see: a Neil Young cover song ("Heart of Gold").

Both are "really inspired by nature," and often mine inspiration from "tons of road trips during the summer, camping, hiking."

You get "Heart of Gold" and eight other "odds and ends" on their edition of FiveThreeDialTone's Prelude to a Miss series... (Look for their remixing of a Caribou track as well).

Jarvis, meanwhile, will be releasing more songs from his current solo project, Ancient Language. "I was toying with the idea of music being this old and ancient way of communicating," Jarvis said.

The duo are currently working on their next album, with the songs already mostly ready and about a quarter of it already recorded. Vibe-wise, expect, what Jarvis calls, "our summer album."

Phantasmagoria - with Lightning Love - Coyote Clean Up - Nightlife-- 5/21 @ Belmont (Hamtramck).

More info from 53dt

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