TIME to get dirty and righteously fuzz-rocky, with a Swiss angle; Helvetia is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Jason Albertini, exactly one third of San Jose’s Duster and bassist for the lovely Built to Spill from 2012 to 2018. Helvetia are releasing their tenth album and fifth for Joyful Noise, Essential Aliens on June 25th; by way of bringing that news to you, they’ve dropped a video for the hooded-up, superimposed, straight-down-the-line necessary noise of “New Mess” – come watch with us.
Jason has, natch, been the ever-present in Helvetia, which otherwise has rotated members; the current trio also sees fellow Built to Spill alumnus Steve Gere aboard, alongside Samantha Stidham.
After a four year hiatus following 2015’s albums Dromomania and A Dot Running For The Dust, Jason got the burn of creativity again for last summer’s This Devastating Map; and then: pandemicsville. With normal life at a standstill and unable to hang with his bandmates, Jason focused his energy on home-schooling and recording. He set himself the task of knocking one song a day to completion, and so June’s Essential Aliens was basement-born.
Thus also, Essential Aliens sees the Helvetia sound stripped back and raw and real: you’ll find stoner repetition, distorted drums, cheap guitars teetering on dissonance, fuzzily lush, all direct to four-track. Proper (de)basement tapes.
The sheet-spooky visual elements in the video for “New Mess” come from a recurring dream in which Jason’s life is turned upside down by a series of unexplainable events that turn out to be orchestrated by a ghost. He wakes up convinced that he is a ghost as well. The ghost guising was inspired by a photograph of children dressed in Great Depression-era Hallowe’en costume.
Essential Aliens is a collection of simple songs about keeping yourself from falling apart, like we all nearly have during this weeeerd year – to remind you that you can be strong.
Helvetia’s Essential Aliens will be released by Joyful Noise digitally, on yellow and white clear splatter vinyl, and on ‘ectoplasm clear’ vinyl on June 25th; you can place your order here.