Body of Light
Volontà di Amore
Discovering Body of Light was pleasant, if for no other reason that I’ve become unaccustomed to stumbling across music I like and have no prior knowledge of. There was a time when finding new dark music was a more organic affair, and although I’m disinclined to regard those days as halcyon (buying records without being able to preview them was always a crapshoot, no matter what anyone tells you), it’s nice to recapture the feeling of discovering a new band almost accidentally and have the feeling that they are most definitely part of Our Thing. Such is the case with Volontà di Amore.
Body of Light make what I would broadly term as darkwave, although electro-goth or maybe synthpop if viewed through the appropriately dim prism would fit just as well. Information on the duo (made up of brothers Alexander and Andrew Jarson) is scant, but from what I gather the two have been involved in various other projects in and out of Arizona’s Ascetic House art collective. Their earlier releases (or at least the samples I can find of them online) feel quite raw, with a live to tape vibe that suits the cassette culture they participate in. Still, for their release on Chondritic Sound the brothers have cleaned things up somewhat, dialing in on the melodic and rhythmic elements of their sound on Volontà di Amore, tidying up the production and coming across as far more polished and ambitious in the process.
Perhaps in reference to that shift, opener “Will of Love” begins with the sound of a distorted tape recording before quickly morphing into an upbeat dance number somewhere in the 160 bpm range, crossing an upbeat rock rhythm with sweeping pads and twinned vocals for a peppy dancefloor starter that gets in and out in four minutes while managing to feel much shorter. The rest of “Volontà di Amore” is slower, although actually a bit more developed in my opinion; the black-eyelinered Pet Shop Boys pastiche of “Light is Gone” and the high spot dramatics of “Watch Your Back” don’t need a dancefloor to be appreciated. The reverb and tinkling synth on the latter number might actually be the purest example of what Body of Light are doing here, the blueprint appearing in a slightly modified fashion on the ornate “Fall” and “Hole in the Wall”.
Despite its overall consistency it’s hard to draw a bead on Body of Light via Volontà di Amore. It’s tempting to paint their latest tape as part of an ongoing evolution, but the sample size is too small to work with and the inclusion of menacing and slightly out of place (but still good!) “Burn as One” would seem to suggest that fluidity is built into the identity of the Jarson brothers’ musical outlet. At six songs and just under 25 minutes it’s pretty much exactly what you want out of an EP from an unfamiliar project, an easily digestible taster of what might be to come. Body of Light are a really nice surprise, and I’m pleased as all get out to have stumbled across their work. Recommended.