BlackBook Premiere: Listen to Pale Dian’s Synth-Driven ‘Pas De Deux’

  1. Photography: Raphael Umscheid

Having formed just last year, Austin trio, Pale Dian‘s supreme take on shoegaze has their sound rooted in the influences of Cocteau Twins, Lush and My Bloody Valentine. Their first single, “In A Day,” (released earlier this year) stacked layers on layers of swirling, fuzzed out guitars, architecting the perfect wall of sound. With their new track, “Pas De Deux,” the band strips down the pedals, brings forth their synth and creates an echoing atmosphere for lead singer Ruth Ellen Smith to vamp her vocals that are one part Liz Frazier and one part Asobi Seksu’s Yuki Chikudate.

“This song was my experiment with dub,” Ruth said. “The recording was all an idea that I had from a demo that just needed to be fine tuned with studio love. With the help of our amazing producer Alex Bhore (This Will Destroy You), we hashed it out. The recording has guitar only at the end, so we learned to play the song live later. [The live version] comes across much darker, which I’m pleased with.  I often write [songs] that are dissonant but somehow work out in a way that make your ears have to think. This is that song.”

Listen, below, to the BlackBook exclusive premiere of “Pas De Deux:”


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Pale Dian’s, debut album Narrow Birth comes out June 3rd on Manifesto Records. (Pre-order, here).

The Besnard Lakes Are Back

Good news for anyone who likes their shoegaze run through a Beach Boys filter, or vice versa: singular band The Besnard Lakes, who hail from Montreal—and when did every hot indie band stop being from Montreal?—are putting out their fourth full-length album this year.

The improbably titled Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO is an eight-track barn-burner, with no song shorter than five and a half minutes and a monumental wall of guitar around every turn. But as heavy as things get, the dreamy vocals and harmonies keep everything hummingly afloat.

Take, for example, “People Of The Sticks,” which leads off with some Lynchian industrial tension but quickly becomes a slo-mo jam with a swung beat you can feel in your guts as much as your hips. Okay, I’m ready for a big beach bonfire now.

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Ulrich Schnauss Goes Down Smooth

Obviously the headline shoegaze news at the moment is that My Bloody Valentine have returned to claim the mantle of abrasively beautiful music—but when you’re ready to unwind a bit from that frenzy, turn to Ulrich Schnauss. For some time the German producer has been releasing downtempo “nü-gaze” albums that meld early 90s dream-pop and contemporary electronica. Now he’s getting even more seductive with his sound.

For starters, there’s his recent 78-minute semi-ambient mix for XLR8R, titled Drift to the Centre: Deep Atmospheric DnB from the Golden Age, which harks back to his drum-and-bass roots.  According to the description:

[I]t’s a celebration of the pre-techstep era, a time when drum & bass world—or at least a sizable portion of it—celebrated deep, soulful grooves and rolling jazz rhythms. It may not sound like Schnauss’ modern-day output, but its chilled vibes and relaxing effect are certainly similar.

And how—download this off iTunes or from the XLR8R site before you feel the next panic attack coming on. Drift, however, is merely to whet our appetites for Schnauss’s next opus, A Long Way To Fall, out in the U.S. on February 12. There’s a lovely sample to be heard in “I Take Comfort In Your Ignorance.”

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Important Free Download: Hush Delirium

Shoegaze, drone, dream-pop: whatever you want to call that druggy crush of totalized guitars, it’s a set of sounds that have been thoughtfully catalogued in The Taster LP, a compilation of contemporary gazer songs from new groups as well as veterans of first-wave bands including Ride, Swervedriver, Curve, and The Stone Roses. For a limited time, it’s a free Bandcamp download.

SPC ECO, featuring Curve multi-instrumentalist Dean Garcia, kick things off with “Big Fat World,” off an EP of that same name and full-length You Tell Me of last year, scoring a direct pop hit Rose Berlin’s vocals and a thrumming low end. What follows is a comprehensive sampler—or taster, I should say—of every possible shoegaze subgenre, from ambient soundscape to hard psychedelia.

What’s more, the Hush Delrium project is not merely aural. Each song inspired a piece by artist Simon Welford, whose interest in abstraction would seem to make him an ideal person to tackle the oceanic swirls of shoegaze in a tactile way. His artwork will be exhibited where the bands perform to offer another piece of the sensory puzzle. So go and be overstimulated

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