Single #2! “IM U” by Beacon is out today, listen and watch the video by our very own Charles Bergquist.
Beacon 2016 North America Winter Tour
02.04 Chicago, IL SCHUBAS
02.05 Detroit, MI Majestic Cafe
02.06 Toronto, ON The Drake Hotel
02.10 Allston, MA Great Scott
02.11 New York, NY The Bowery Ballroom
02.12 Philadelphia, PA Boot & Saddle
02.13 Washington, DC Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe
02.16 Atlanta, GA Aisle 5
02.17 New Orleans, LA Hi-Ho Lounge
02.18 Houston, TX Rudyard’s British Pub
02.19 Austin, TX Parish Austin
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 Club Bahia
02.26 San Francisco, CA Noise Pop
02.27 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
02.28 Seattle, WA Nectar Lounge
03.01 Boise, ID Reef Boise
03.02 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
03.03 Denver, CO Lost Lake
03.04 Wichita, KS Barleycorn’s
03.05 St. Louis, MO 2720 Cherokee
Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett are unstoppable. The New York artists, collectively known as Beacon, have been on a productive hot streak since 2012, and their efforts continue to pay off. “When we weren’t writing,” Mullarney starts, “we hit the road and didn’t really look back. We toured the US five times since The Ways We Separate came out, building this project the old-fashioned way.” And Beacon’s natural, time-tested process has brought us Escapements, their sophomore album for Ghostly. “We went into this feeling liberated,” continues the singer/producer, and Gossett seems to echo his thought: “This record is in part our attempt to formulate what Beacon is going to look and sound like going forward.”
Escapements is about time, to put it simply, and all of the baggage it brings. The title is taken from clock mechanics; escapements are timekeeping regulators designed to transfer energy at a constant pace. “I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies,” Mullarney explains. “Friction and changes in amplitude over time mean every escapement, no matter how well crafted, will lose its accuracy and effectively slow down time via its own decay.” This theme is delicately explored through Beacon’s music and lyrics, engaging ideas of pain and loss with a surreal palette. Whereas the duo’s debut was more streamlined and defined, Escapements thrives on an amorphous, free-flowing nature.
More than just a central concept, time manifests itself in these 11 songs quite literally, too. Take opener “IM U”, a slow-swelling cut of electronic pop that has knocked around in Beacon’s arsenal since the beginning. As Gossett puts it, “In its final form, ‘IM U’ is a track that has the history of the project embedded into it, an old idea filtered through years of growing interests and experience as songwriters.” His idea is reflected by the remarkable cover photo, a single shot taken by Caleb Charland in darkness for eight hours. “The arc of the star trails show the rotation of the earth,” Gossett points out. “I can’t imagine a better representation of time, process, and discovery. It’s how we wanted Escapements to sound.”
After the initial demos were written, Escapements was refined and recorded over the course of nine months at Beacon’s Brooklyn home studio and Gary’s Electric, where it was mixed by Al Carlson. Tycho drummer Rory O’Connor was brought in to perform, unleashing new energy onto the Beacon sound and helping expand it to unheard places. Which is another notable theme on the album. “I hope this record proves our restlessness and shows that we really aren’t content to have only one approach to creating music,” says Mullarney. “Every part of our process is linked to discovery.” And that meant trying out studio tricks and recording techniques on the fly, getting lost in the process until they came out the other side. Like on “Cure”, Escapements’ frenetic, breakbeat-inspired penultimate track. Mullarney explains: “There’s a moment where I was simply playing chords on the studio Wurlitzer and singing while the mic recorded the room. The idea was to escape the produced electronic music, just for a moment, and capture the energy in the room.”
Suffice it to say that Escapements tackles the difficulties of a sophomore album by ignoring their existence altogether—this is a record truly free of constraint and expectations. But because it’s still a Beacon album, the duo’s identity continues to shine through. Mullarney’s voice sounds full and confident, even as it floats weightlessly over limber dancefloor constructions in songs like “Backbone” and “Better or Worse”. It’s a precise balance, and yet feels wholly organic. “When you don’t give yourself a specific place to land you never really miss,” Gossett adds. “We just tried to trust ourselves and not put limitations on what this record was supposed to be. In that sense, it’s exactly the record we were meant to make.”
Following a three year hiatus after the release of his debut EP Mull, producer and musician Adam Finkel, who goes by pseudonym of ALEK FIN, returns with his latest effort Án Mynda; a five track EP of which he has shared an intimate live rendition of the title track, Án Mynda, exclusively with ISO50:
This video was filmed in my old studio space where Jeff, Mike and I built and crafted the live show behind closed doors for years. Grateful to have that space preserved on film and finally give everyone a look into what we’ve been working on.
Directed, filmed and edited by Travis & Taylor Keaster
Mixed by Jason Sharp
Excited to announce Awake Remixes! The album will be out digitally January 15th and on vinyl May 20th. It’s the first vinyl release since 2014. Preorder the blue colored vinyl now in the ISO50 shop shop.iso50.com/products/awake-remixes
Tycho Awake Remixes
A1. Awake (Com Truise Remix)
A2. Montana (Christopher Willits Remix)
A3. L (Dusty Brown Remix)
A4. Dye (Nitemoves Remix)
TYCHO. DJ SET. TOUR DATES.
02.10 Denver, CO @ Club Vinyl *
02.11 San Diego, CA @ Bang Bang *
02.12 Tucson, AZ @ Gem & Jam Festival
02.13 Los Angeles, CA @ Exchange LA * #
02.16 Miami, FL @ Bardot *
02.17 Washington, DC @ Flash *
02.18 Brooklyn, NY @ Output *
02.19 Chicago, IL @ The Mid *
02.20 Detroit, MI @ Populux *
03.04 San Francisco, CA @ 1015 Folsom w/ Nitemoves, Dusty Brown
03.05 San Francisco, CA @1015 Folsom w/ Few Nolder, Christopher Willits
Lists this year are all over the place, a lot of main stream rap, a ton of half baked selections, really good techno and a happy surprise to see a lot less of the soft boy beat stuff that clogged up the festivals, which makes me overwhelmingly happy. Here’s a few musicians that most of you know but made my year very enjoyable because of a DJ set, live set or a very well done short documentary about them, enjoy!
Beautifully dusty and complex, this mix from Broken Deck has all sorts gems on it from Patten’s rework of Caribou to Voxer which is another single from Broken Deck’s EP. We premiered his single Outmodeled earlier this month if you missed it.
1. The Cyclist – Makeshift
2. Jam City – Gee
3. Caribou – Sun (Patten remix)
4. Rezzett – Yayla
5. Huerco S – Press On
6. Lee Gamble – Mimas Skank
7. Broken Deck – Voxer
This one is short but as rewarding as it gets, a bounty of special tracks mixed by Astro Nautico’sTime Wharp. There’s a wide range of cuts that show off how unique a Time Wharp set is, his natural way of flowing in and out different moods and genres is one of a kind.
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.