Got a quick post for today, before I head out to see the Samskara Immersive Art Exhibition this evening, featuring renown digital artist Android Jones.
Last night, I caught indie shoegaze/dream-pop artist Tamaryn at the Echoplex. She was fantastic, and I’ll have more to say about her in the near future, along with some decent live recordings. But for now, I’ve got another artist to talk about. It’s the show’s opening act, Jorge Elbrecht, and he was shockingly incredible … in an artsy theatrical WTF???!!! kind of way.
Elbrecht’s been a mainstay on the indie circuit for the past decade, with acts such as Violens and Lansing-Dreiden, as well as working alongside the meltdown artist himself Ariel Pink. Curiously, he’s also Tamaryn’s main collaborator, producing her recent gossamer-goth opus “Dreaming the Dark,” as well as the 2015 synth-gaze pop album “Cranekiss.” Admittedly, I wasn’t privy to this background info prior to his performance. And despite obvious connections, with hindset well in focus, I doubt it would’ve swayed my unwavering interest in his 30 min. set … although it might have added a bit of context, which is always comforting.
So to sum it up, prior to last night, as well as this current post, it’s safe to say I knew nothing of Elbrecht’s work, except through an unknown and subliminal (on my part) association with other acts – a.k.a. Tamaryn. I’ve also heard he produced a No Joy album … Canadian indie shoegazers, for the unfamiliar.
But I digress … Elbrecht was born in Costa Rica, but shapes his musicianship along the stateside coasts, in other words, Los Angeles and New York. Besides his musical creations and collaborations, he also works as a visual artist. Again, I’m unfamiliar with this aspect of his work. But if I was to guess, I think I got a first-hand taste of it last night.
What struck me about his show is the performance art aspect of it. Front and center was a masked woman dressed in white. She kinda looked like the Ringu girl with the face plate of Michael Meyers or Buckethead … take your pick. I’m not sure if she’s part of his band or not. But she danced and contorted while “singing” … at least, I think she was singing. I’m not entirely sure, because of the creepy deadpan mask. But the vocals alternated between male and female, creating a surreal effect. Was she singing both parts, with effects being applied to her voice? Or was she just mimicking the words? I have no idea.
Turns out, Elbrecht was off to the side of the stage, performing all the male vocals. So it would stand to reason that she was doing the female bits. Elbrecht was covered in a blanket, seated in what looked like a wheelchair, with a man dressed as an orderly standing behind him. It kinda had this mental patient vibe going on. The orderly-looking man occasionally played some percussion, and I think ran the sequencers. But mainly, he looked like he was there to keep watch on Elbrecht. Throw in some strobe lights and blinding LEDs, and it proved to be a weird and surreal experience, definitely cued up and served in haunting mesmeric fashion.
Unfortunately, I didn’t film any of it, nor take any pics. As said, I didn’t know who he was. And when I decided that I really liked what I was seeing and hearing, I was already too engaged and entranced by the whole darn thing. And musically, it was a cross between wall of sound art rock, shoegaze, and heavily delayed and distorted synth-pop … all well within my comfort zone. Plus, it was crazy loud, which added to the overall, overpowering mystique.
I’ve included embeds of a couple tracks I remember Elbrecht performing. One is a collaboration with Tamaryn called “Here Lies,” which is also the title of his previous 2018 album. I’m not sure if Tamaryn sang the vocals on stage, when he performed this one. She very easily could’ve from somewhere off-stage, or to the side of it, like Elbrecht. The masked woman in white also could’ve been Tamaryn herself, but that’s probably wishful thinking. She does have the art performance theatrics thing going for her, so it’s not that much of a stretch. I guess we’ll never know.
“Here Lies (feat. Tamaryn)” from the 2018 album “Here Lies.”
The other track I remember liking is “Guillotine,” which is probably the more accessible of the two. This one features vocals by Geneva Jacuzzi, who I also know nothing about. But a quick glance at her website tells me she fits right into this art-sound crowd. Plus, she’s got a fun name. Also, this track reminds me of something Tamaryn might do in her latest goth-synth-pop incarnation, even if its not her singing.
“Guillotine (feat. Geneva Jacuzzi)” from the 2018 album “Here Lies.”
As far as the rest of his set, I haven’t had the opportunity to comb through Elbrechts’ catalogue to see what I remember. A quick scan shows a fair bit of diversity in style, which wasn’t really the focus of this show. Most of what he performed leaned on the overwhelming blitzkrieg of synth-styled reverb and sculptured volumetric noise.
I’m going to stop there, since like I said, I’ve got to head off to Samskara. But now that I’ve been introduced to Jorge Elbrecht, I’m going to be digging a little deeper into the depths of his music. And on that note, I’m gonna leave you with one more track, titled “Words Never Fail to Fail.” It’s also another collaboration with Tamaryn, and I don’t remember him performing it. It leans more on the mellow melodic slowdance side of synth. Enjoy!
“Words Never Fail to Fail (feat. Tamaryn)” from the 2018 album “Here Lies.”