March 12, 2013

Tape: Various Artists - Clubhouse Split

Emily Reo, Yohuna, Brown Bread, and MoonLasso
come together for Crash Symbols' Clubhouse split tape.

If there was ever a dream team this would be it: Emily Reo, Yohuna, MoonLasso, and Brown Bread joined forces to make this lovely little cassette that I found out about via Twitter. Earlier this month The FMLY's Yohuna (Johanne Swanson) tweeted "now is an appropriate time to say I know I haven't released any music in a million years, but amazing/exciting things are within weeks." So, of course I was intrigued and happy to get my hands on their Clubhouse split (officially released today via Crash Symbols).

I want to start off by saying that this is a very original collaboration. Every artist brings something different to this tape, and both sides equally impressed me. It's not often that I encounter music that's so organic, carefully crafted, or self-aware. Side A opens with "Peach" by another FMLY artist, Emily Reo. "Peach" is a bedroom pop song with loud percussion that's euphoric on many levels. Reo adds layer upon layer until this erupts into a dreamy symphony that reminded me of falling in love for the first time. This song is followed by Yohuna's "Creep Date" a spacious experimental piece blanketed with melancholy vocals and smooth harmonies. Despite lyrics a bit forlorn, there are points where Swanson drifts from such quiet emptiness into full sweetness. MoonLasso's "Vibrasonics" was my first exposure to the Florida-based band. This electronic song surprised me with catchy, soulful elements and feel good lines like "you put the beat back in me / static, static energy / and I'll keep breaking it down if you keep coming around." Whereas last track on this side, Brown Bread's "Sister" was weird in the best way. The dark persistence of echoing bells paired with the chatter and laughter of young girls conjure up a spooky, nostalgic sentiment. Ridden with reverb, eerie water sounds, and airy voices, "Sister" is sort-of like stepping into a friendly haunted house.

Side B picks up where Side A left off with Brown Bread once again. This track was quite different from the one preceding it – trip hop-inspired "Moths" meshed beat rhythms with psychedelic melodies. Similarly, "Skies All Around" by MoonLasso is a good contrast to "Vibrasonics." Still soulful in spirit, MoonLasso ties in soft pop to create somewhat of an indie classic. The longest track on both sides was Emily Reo's "Metal" where washed out drums and synths overlapped hazy, almost indiscernible words that shook me up a bit. Sharp and exact, "Metal" is dynamic like the crystal image on the tape's artwork. I should also mention that two additional female artists contributed to this collaboration if you consider the design of the tape: the j-card's exterior collage was done by artist Kaley Dickinson and the packaging layout by designer Liz Pavlovic. Last but certainly not least, Yohuna gives this tape a sense of closure with distant lullaby "Westerlies." I played this on a recent visit to my parent's house and my dad described it as "beautiful" and "otherworldly." I would have to agree with him, Swanson sounds like an ethereal lucid dream.

Purchase this limited edition cassette at Crash Symbols.

Written by Diana Cirullo