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Deepsea Lights get experimental on their debut EP

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Deepsea Lights are a duo out of Sydney that dabble in folk, industrial beats, experimental sounds, spoken word and beat boxing – an eclectic range of styles for one band, but somehow they manage to rein it all in on 0(Zero).

Deepsea Lights article

Sydney experimental duo Deepsea Lights play with a myriad of conflicting sounds and genres on their debut EP creating a deeply intimate affair.

Deepsea Lights is a combined effort between Joe Matthews (vox, guitar, beatboxing) and Gemma Lucy Smart (vox, ukulele). 0(Zero) is their first EP.  It’s an incredibly diverse first effort from a relatively fresh band. Throughout the 5-tracks there are some super interesting sounds and experimental ideas that set the tracks clearly apart from one another. In a way it feels like a lot like a concept album, but one that remains cohesive through unrelenting ideals.

Mantra kicks off the EP as a spoken word piece by Matthews. The first 45 seconds are commanded by his voice accompanied by a crawling piano melody – something that is strangely disarming. As the song moves along beats are introduced and the tracks takes on a more defined hip-hop feel. It wraps up with Smart’s voice sliding over padded synths and a piano and the whole thing seems deeply intimate, a feeling that lasts throughout the entire EP.

Only paints a picture of someone sitting in a tropical beach hut in a storm. In the purest way, it’s an extremely pretty song. It crackles with tape-like warmth and the whole thing feels comfortingly nostalgic with it’s raindrop sound effects and softly-strummed ukulele. That’s before Smart’s angelic vocals are drowned by glitchy electronica and bass-heavy beats and the whole thing gets catapulted into outer-space. It’s a oddly discordant effect as Smart’s vocals scatter around your head and soft synths make you feel like you’re floating in the stratosphere. Before you get a chance to wrap your head around it all you’re sucked back to that hut, with the rain and ukulele. The production on 0(Zero) leaps between laptop-lofi and cinematic grandeur, and strangely this is injects a whole lot of charm. Ideas seem to be flowing between Matthews and Smart like a tidal wave, and they’re all crammed into one EP.

Of Answers and Riddles is a standout.  It features string arrangements from Lauren Kress (Violin) and Oliver Downes (Cello), blending the two with warm nu-folk and belting electronica that kicks you in the guts and leaves you feeling dazed. It starts off as a beautiful lyrical folk song, turning out soft melodies and peaceful vocals that are beautifully complimented by the sorrowful cello/violin combination. But before you can really sink into it all everything takes a sharp turn as buzzsaw synths and jolting beats grate beneath pretty harmonies between Matthews, Smart and Kress.

Deepsea Lights seem to not want the listener to never feel quite at ease. The folky elements of their tracks are intentionally thrown askew by abrasive electronica and it takes a while to get used it all.  Throw your preconceptions of genre and musical arrangements out the door and just listen to Deepsea Lights as they do a damn good job of wrapping juxtaposing ideas into a neat package on 0(Zero). 

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April 23, 2015

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