Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nite Jewel takes us down from the electro high.

When I first heard Nite Jewel, a duo comprising Ramona Gonzalez and Emily Jane, a few months ago — the youtube video of “Artificial Intelligence” above — I wasn’t convinced. Perhaps I was in disco curmudgeon mode (yes with me it’s a fine line between Bah Samba and bah humbug), but everything I was hearing at that time was prostrating itself at the alter of cosmic; a shrine where gentile young men with beards intone the names of records they researched on discogs and 'bought now' for 150 bucks on ebay, and anyway I was in search of other sonic pastures.

However, on the sage advice of two of my fellow conspirators, Disco Dave down in Indio, a man with a keener set of ears than a two year old cocker spaniel, and the disco don himself, James Glass, I checked out their “What Did He Say single” on Mike Simonetti’s “Italians Do It Better” imprint. I hadn’t heard that track before and let’s just say that I was tremendously convinced.

I loved the lush slo mo electro clunk of it and how Ramona Gonzalez's voice hung over the music like a hovering angel. This was new cosmic, filtered through a lo-fi indie rock ethos. bathed in Los Angeles heat and imbued with the spirit of Suicide at their most wide-eyed and romantic. Beautiful is the only word that even comes near describing the feeling of this record. The stripped down freestyle of the flipside, “Let’s Go (The Two Of Us Together)” is equally impressive.

Then Disco Dave informed me that he had shelled out for her album on vinyl and that he was well elated with it. So a few days later I was sojourning at a large music emporium here in San Francisco looking for said record and being the vinyl junkie that I am shelled out for it myself. Good Evening is the name of the album and it’s a gorgeous piece of work from start to finish. All ten tracks from “Bottom Rung” to the Roxy Music cover which closes it are little universes of intimate sound replete with delicate synth textures, pretty melodies and chunky analog basslines all topped off with Gonzalez’s plaintive voice.

This is not just a good come down record, this is thee come down record for the whole electro re-run; from the halcyon dark days of electroclash and the posturing, dystopian euphoria it promised to the cold twitch and pneumatic glitch of the Ed Bangeresque variants. Nite Jewel’s Good Evening injects some warmth into proceedings, bringing us back to when Miss Kittin, Felix, Ladytron and the gang re-introduced us to Italo, freestyle, new wave and acid house, and hopefully pointing us forward to a new era of electronic music that rocks even as it dreams and that leaves behind the icey shudder in favor of the galactic glide. One can only hope. This is an important little record.


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1 comment:

JD said...

I really like this record