Mon. May 19, Jessy Lanza at Holocene
Written by Shay Davis on May 6, 2014
Holocene presents the fast-rising electronic pop luminary Jessy Lanza (Hyperdub). With support from Saint Pepsi, Magic Fades, Intuitive Navigation DJs (Vivian Hua of Redefine Magazine + Gina Altamura of Holocene).
Jessy Lanza’s debut album, ‘Pull My Hair Back’, co-written and co-produced with Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys is a 2013 flagship for what electronic pop could sound like, stripped of bloated, behaviorist impulses that treat listeners like lab rats. It’s graceful and erotic without the gratuitous close ups, icy and sensual, sweet without rotting your teeth, emotional but with enough blue glow to pull your heart strings. Lanza’s voice flutters through the synths, a powerful presence that pushes her song along with soft whispers and boisterous belting alike. It is insistent without the over-singing and grating choruses that plague so much contemporary pop. Her songs bristle with an Italo chill but pulse with a warm hardware heartbeat.
Lanza has a background as a singer and skilled piano scholar, and the duo share a mutual love of collecting the old hardware synths and drum machines that grace this collection of songs. Transecting R&B, house, disco and 80s studio rock, the production is the moment of a superfluous touch. Lanza’s main loves are R&B, hip-hop, and electronic music, which she discovered through here father: “I’ve always had an interest in electronic music, mainly because my dad ran an audio company in Hamilton. He would install all the soundsystems in the clubs here in the ’90s—there were a lot more dance clubs then. Both my parents were musicians, so they had a lot of gear around the house. And when my dad passed away when I was a teenager, he left me a bunch of his synths and a couple of drum machines.”
The stunning vocals are the album’s most obvious attraction Her inspiration runs deep, encompassing everything from Sade to SWV. “I like dance music. I got really into The Other People Place, that Drexciya offshoot, plus another Gerald Donald project, Japanese Telecom. They’re amazing.” Her partnership with a globally respected dance label appears to be a good match for her “I feel good about being on Hyperdub. There’s a little bit of pressure. You know? ‘This isn’t the new Burial!’ That passes through my mind, but that’s stupid. It’s a great label and they care about music—interesting music—and that’s what’s important to me.”