So my 2nd album is out, if you remember Loyal then this is his less lo-fi less moody cousin. Body Complex has a pulse to it, I needed to also make sense of my DJ sets which have always been Detroit Techno heavy so I set off to create that with a few honest thoughts, passions and a collection loops i’ve been working on over a 6 or so month span. I talk way more in depth about the album in its bio, a lot care has gone into not only the music but the piece of art I made for the cover. Hope you enjoy!
For Jakub Alexander, the languages of music and visual art are permanently intertwined. And he’s always been this way—from his birthplace in communist Poland, to growing up outside of Detroit, to his current home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “When music like Gas, early Dial Records, and Mille Plateaux releases in the 2000s popped up in my headphones,” Alexander begins, “it was completely visual for me. Something clicked from collecting pages out of old Architectural Digest magazines and being completely overwhelmed with inspiration for my own visions of interior architecture.” The concept carries on still, now as an integral part of Body Complex, his second album as Heathered Pearls. Body Complex represents a new form of Alexander’s visually inspired sound creation, but just as it points to changes in direction for the ambient-inclined producer, it also revisits the past experiences that make his music possible.
Perhaps the most important era referenced in Body Complex is Alexander’s mid-teens, when he was a 15-year-old DJ going to raves with the older kids. Sure, the parties themselves were influential, but it’s the afterhours that resonate the strongest on Body Complex. “I remember those mornings better than the holidays during those years, the drives home from Detroit at 7AM were always stimulating. Everyone was so content, we’d usually listen to something deep and easy on the ears. This was a perfect time to let your mind wander.” It was also an opportunity for him to discover the likes of Terrence Dixon and Lawrence, artists who would eventually offer encouragement to Heathered Pearls as he moved into a new beat-centric sound. “I respect [Terrence Dixon and Lawrence] because they can ride the same thin lines of what I love: electronic music that is heavily repetitive, melodic, and deep. They both can find this elegance in techno beyond the dark warehouse.”
Body Complex doesn’t necessarily aspire to recreate the music of Alexander’s youth. But while taking inspiration from !K7’s classic audio-visual mix series, X-Mix, and early-aughts techno compilations, Heathered Pearls has moved himself closer to the dancefloor. “Loyal was these indirect, huge, heavy, slow ocean waves off in the distance at night,” he says of his beatless debut album, “and Body Complex is a stunningly bleak, uncharted landscape of man-made cement and artificial foliage.” Take a track like the desaturated “Sunken Living Area”, where flickering synths and chrome-plated drum patterns sketch out Alexander’s conceptual backdrop. You can almost envision the sounds as columns and plateaus protruding from a dusk-lit valley. “Personal Kiosk”, an exuberant ambient-techno highlight with The Sight Below (who also mixed and mastered Body Complex), might best represent everything Heathered Pearls brings to his second album: whorls of deep texture, abstract melodic drifts, elegiac beauty, and illusory dance music.
Of course, the artwork is another integral aspect of Body Complex, especially as it was conceived around an object designed by Alexander. “The shape came from wanting to create an imperfect sculpture that, from a distance, looks like a display piece,” he shares, “but when you get closer and you have more time with it, you see its flaws.” And that sort of ever-changing perspective reflects how the album itself can be heard differently in various contexts. Put on the Shigeto-featuring “Abandoned Mall Utopia” at home, and it’s a softly pulsing current of astral dust; put it on in a DJ set, and the music becomes a heady balm for the dancefloor. “You’re given this body and mind to build on, and everyone has their imperfections they don’t love,” Heathered Pearls explains in regards to the double meaning of his album title. Indeed, Body Complex is an elaborate expression of personal memories and visual metaphors as nuanced electronic music, and just like any fully realized body of work, it’s best understood from more than one vantage point.
How did I miss this?? Jesus, I know I posted the single a while back but the album as a whole might be his best. Honestly, this is the Americana album Erlend Oye never wrote, the what you love about his past work seasoned with what makes Real Estate shine bright when they’re on.
St. Catherine is the fifth full-length under his solo moniker, is a finely-honed collection of baroque pop songs that take the blissful, cascading melodic fretwork that Mondanile has made his signature with both Ducktails and his other band, Real Estate, and applies it to songs of considerable new emotional heft and dynamic range.
Mondanile partially wrote and recorded St. Catherine in bedrooms and studios predominantly in east LA and Glendale, but venturing as far as Berlin and New York. When Mondanile finally settled back in LA at the start of 2015, it was Rob Schnapf, co-producer of Elliott Smith’s classic albums XO and Either/Or, that he turned to in order to help put the finishing touches to St. Catherine.
The Julia Holter-featuring “Church” and “Heaven’s Room,” see Mondanile flex his muscles as a composer and arranger, introducing complex, interlocking vocal harmonies, gorgeously sweeping string parts (provided by Chris Votek and Andrew Tholl) and a host of off-kilter electronic elements into his sonic palate – channelling the likes of Broadcast, and Stereolab but with a younger, wide-eyed sensibility.
St. Catherine will be available on July 24th on CD, standard edition LP, and limited edition coloured vinyl LP
Ducktails Tour Dates
07-24 Los Angeles, CA – The Getty Center ^
07-31 Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle ^
08-01 Cleveland, OH – Euclid Tavern ^
08-02 Bloomington, IN – The Bishop ^
08-03 Chicago, IL – Schuba’s ^
08-04 Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch ^
08-05 Toronto, Ontario – Garrison ^
08-06 Montreal, Quebec – Casa del Popolo ^
08-07 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom ^
08-09 Boston, MA – Great Scott ^
08-26 Davis, CA – Sophia’s Thai Kitchen *
08-28 Seattle, WA – Barboza *
08-29 Vancouver, BC – Fortune Sound Club *
08-30 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios *
09-01 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel *
09-02 Santa Cruz, CA – The Crepe Place *
09-04 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo *
09-06 San Diego, CA – The Casbah *
^ with Itasca
* with Regal Degal
Since the Ptaki post Friday got some great reaction on the direct message front I wanted to unearth some more cuts from the duo’s home label. First off, the Lounge genre and hotels slowly killed Balearic music for me, it lost its Caribbean charm and not its reviving along with New Age and it couldn’t be set up on a better course for the future.
This one slipped under the radar but i’m glad I could find a full stream for those that haven’t heard it. We first wrote about Ptaki in April 2013 since then they’ve been a highlight on a ISO50 playlist and now I couldn’t find a more enjoyable LP to ride into the weekend. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Mr Zambon’s (of The Very Polish Cut-Outs fame) new label Transatlantyk has made quite an impact across a handful of releases. This is their debut artist album, and who better to represent the free-wheeling spirit of their ethos than fellow Polish pals, Ptaki. The high-flying Warsaw based duo (Their name translates to ‘Birds’ in Polish) have found themselves the object of hysteria after a mere trio of very well received releases on parent label (TVPC) and more recently for LA’s Young Adults. Their music has a depth and enduring quality that has clearly set them apart from contemporaries, and Przelot has given them a broader canvas to, pardon the pun, spread their wings. Familiar textures, acoustic guitars, rhodes and treated bass are assembled in a fresh and uplifting way as the duo seem unencumbered by any sense of homage or reverence to past masters. Cod Reggae (done well!), sleazy chuggers, and dreamy mid-tempo workouts sit easily alongside the Yacht Rock leanings and straight up blissed-out beach bar fare. All shot through with an undeniably Balearic sense of well being throughout.
Sometimes listeners get lucky and are given these faint rewards from artists when they have downtime on the road. What i’m getting is Huerco S. recorded a piece while he was in Montparnasse Paris and uploaded it to his Soundcloud, even though i’m a huge fan of his old work this nugget of sound could be one of my favorites by him.