Pale Blue's You Stopped Dying has been bouncing around the inside of my head for the past month and a bit.
I first heard the EP's title track whilst travelling, in San Francisco, experiencing an early spring in the midst of an emotional autumn. I guess that's a fall for San Francisco.
Pale Blue are duo Elizabeth Wight and Mike Simonetti. Having released their debut album in 2015 last month saw them release You Stopped Dying. Drawing inspiration from shoegaze artists like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, Pale Blue have created something new - a style now being dubbed technogaze.
The sound of Pale Blue is based heavily on Wight's strong vocal performances. On the title track minimal electronic production work - pads, high hats and some acid - provide the foundations for an ethereal performance from Wight. Looped vocals create additional layers of melody and Wight's main vocal hook, the repeated refrain “You Stopped Dying”, feels like a religious experience. It's both beautiful and heartbreaking at once - the sound of rebirth.
Daughter of Babylon is deeper, a full on acid house workout with liberal 808s and once again Wight's transcendent vocals. It's disorientating and disturbing, let somehow pleasantly otherworldly, like being caught in the grasp of something beautiful yet aliens.
Side B of this release is made up of two versions of the track Love - both the original and a dub. It's a slice of minimal techno, the kind unafraid to bask in analogue sounding hiss and emotional fear. Wight's vocal punctures your head and heart as she monotones the vocal: “Love... where did it come from?”
Love sounds like one half of a conversation. Wight's laughter acting as a denial of her past feelings and the dilution and eventual death of the strongest emotion we are capable of as humans. “It's all gone” she deadpans, “yeah, I don’t believe in it any more. Nothing is forever.”
Techno doesn’t often feel like this. It’s a genre known for being clinical. And here it is, analogue and alien, and yet unmistakeable in its humanity.