Nite Jewel ⟡ Free Free Dom Dom

Galeria Zé dos Bois

© Giulia Giu

It is often said that adversity is a friend of creativity. Applying this to Nite Jewel and her latest album, “No Sun” (2021), is both justified and reductive. To start with the latter part, since her emergence at the end of the first decade of this century, Ramona Gonzalez has shown that taking risks is part of creation. Riding the wave of Twin Peakian synth revivalism that existed a decade and a half ago, “What Did He Say” (Italians Do It Better) and “Good Evening” (Gloriette) were released in 2008 and laid the foundations for the meticulous way Ramona used to fit her voice into synthetic environments, creating songs that despite being born out of a nostalgic surge, did not claim that directory from the listener. This aversion to copying – to put it another way – planned a career full of risks and unexpected moves, such as collaborations with Omar-S, Dâm-Funk, or Julia Holter. The latter comes very much to mind in “No Sun”, not by direct influence but by her influences.

In this latest record, Nite Jewel exercises a singular evolutionary exercise in her career. Affected by personal life – the end of a twelve-year marriage – and inspired by a PhD in Musicology at UCLA – which she started in 2018 – she grabbed a Moog sequencer and a keyboard to create eight songs about loss, mismatch and despair. He stripped down his songs, reduced them to their essentials, and created performance pieces reminiscent of the work of Laurie Anderson or Ann Steel. If in the past he sought pop through dance music (electro/house/disco), nowadays he attacks it through contemporary and clear jazz notions. She has found room for the sound to breathe, with an excellent control of tempos, pauses, and silence. A Nite Jewel unafraid to take us to the intimate. His and ours.

They stopped in Lisbon as many do, curiously coming from Berlin. Free Free Dom Dom are a French duo (Laetitia and Philippe) who met in 2009 and immediately started making music. It wasn’t until 2016, in Berlin, inspired by the way of life they were leading, that they realized how far they could take the project. After several singles, in the past year they released the EP “C’est Pas La Vie En Rose”, five songs refastened in the melancholic and creative input that a pandemic and a home studio (in Sintra, to boot) can promote. Comfortable pop in the junction of French electronica, the calmness of Nite Jewel and, curiously, the rebelliousness of Nite Jewel. AS

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