Track: Lisel + Booker Stardrum – ‘In The Dome’: fractured, space-age experimental pop

Lisel, left, photographed by Gregory Wikstrom; and Booker Stardrum, photographed by Brian Guido

ELIZA BEGG, the vocalist and composer who guises as Lisel musically, and electronica creator and percussionist Booker Stardrum, have been friends a long time, circulating in each other’s musical orbit.

What with the absolutely bloody everything of it out there, they’ve elected to spend recent time wisely with a six-week, remote collaboration eliciting an album, their first together: it’s to be called Mycelial Echo, and it’ll be out on April 9th on Luminelle Records.

In mid-February they dropped some first fruits of that time together, the arch, space-age and Broadcast-like torch song of “I Am Not Ready To Go”, with a video directed by Lisel herself; we commented for the record that “what begins as a noir torchsong in the Lamb mould builds through detached and otherly vocals into a miasmic swirl of backwards masked guitars, a mantric sustain, bound for a sweet retro-future. It’s beguiling.”

Single numéro deux from next month’s album, whose trippiness we take to be a wholly conscious decision with a title like Mycelial Echo, has just dropped; it’s called “In The Dome”, and you can watch the suitably ethereal choreography-with-candles that accompanies it below.

If anything, it pushes that fine and mesmerising retrotronica blueprint laid down by artists like Broadcast and Stereolab out into a more alien space; maybe one in which former Too Pure and Warp drone psychonauts Seefeel play with an embroidery of sound part old-skool trip-hop, part modern compositional, resulting in a high-art, hallucinatory tune, vocals chopped and discorporeal, and really rather lovely.

We’re told that Mycelial Echo promises more fine ethereal singing and fractured future pop: and that for its realisation, manipulated vocal samples and processed improvisations were combined with polyrhythms, organic percussion, and synths “to create a portrayal of our relationship to the natural world that is both tactile, sensorial, and seen from a distance.

“The album dives into the anxious euphoria of our time, grappling with the chaos of cyberspace and the physical destruction of the oceans, atmosphere, and trees.”

Indeed, half of the music was written as songs for an opera about trees⁠ – a collaboration with experimental theatre and visual artists that will be presented in a virtual reality installation later this year. The other half is the score for a larger work called The Vanishing Point, a piece of music and dance made with a choreographer, conceived as video art and which premiered through National Sawdust in Brooklyn on February 18th.

The video was directed by Lise and stars dancer and choreographer Gwendolyn Gussman. 

Lisel + Booker Stardrum’s Mycelial Echo will be released digitally on April 9th; you can pre-save your copy over at their Bandcamp page now.

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