Premiere: Black Light Smoke – ‘North Korea’: New York darkwaver dusts down a pulsing groove for his forthcoming early years album

Jordan Lieb, aka Black Light Smoke. Photographed by Kevin Kendall

BASED in Rochester on the shores of Lake Ontario, darkwave synth explorer Jordan Lieb, who records as Black Light Smoke, has used the past year of enforced inactivity to look back over his shoulder at what’s come before; and he’s announced a new album compiling his earliest excursion into the synth shadows, The Early Years, which will be out via Cut Mistake Music on March 26th.

He’s following the bass vocal grace of “Burn”, released a few weeks back, with a new single, “North Korea”, which begs for a 3am dark dancefloor, backlit, perspiring, abandoned. You can hear that below.

Jordan says of the track: “‘North Korea’ started in the studio as a noisy drum loop and jangly electric guitars – the angry pulse that still underlies and informs the track. It felt so irreverent, the name just made sense. North Korea is a place where everything is wrong and forbidden. The song feels like a scream at an impossible enemy.

“The bass and synths are definitely Cabaret Voltaire inspired. So it’s not only angry. There is celebration and dance as well.”

The Early Years, from which “North Korea” is taken, is a collection of songs written around 2010 which Jordan’s resurrected and presented as an unflinching look at his influences and process.

Herein, you’ll hear the darkwave bangers that resonate and beckon you into the dark corners, with a little goth finery; more than a little Depeche Mode, circa Black Celebration; the scent of amyl nitrate.

The production was rough, ready essential, capturing the moment: trashy guitar amps, obscure pedals and the warm hiss and of a four-track.Having gathered dust for ten years, more, the songs on this album tell a story of the artist’s past, as well as a coming full circle. 

Black Light Smoke’s The Early Years will be released by Cut Mistake Music on March 26th digitally and on limited vinyl; you can pre-order your copy now over at Bandcamp.

Follow Black Light Smoke on Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud.

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