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Standout Track: “Banish,” the sole track on Dead Violets’ debut three-inch CD, is a brooding 19-minute work combining lo-fi record scratches and pops, eerie ambient explosions, and the words and moans of singer Bethany Moore. Her heavily processed voice makes her incantations sound like they were wept into a empty tin can.
Musical Motivation: D.C. experimental-music scene vet Jeff Surak has been collaborating with Thomas Ekelund since 2001. For Moore, who joined them in September, the trio is an opportunity to blend noise with female poets, womanhood, and activism. “I was always drawn to Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath and feel influenced greatly by them both,” she says. “There’s a certain struggle felt in being a woman, in being a spiritual person, in understanding human relationships and emotions, and in being an activist for social causes that boils up from deep within and must be expressed.”
Atlantic records: Ekelund lives in Göteborg, Sweden, but the 4,000 miles separating him from his colleagues don’t interfere with their songwriting. “Making music with Thomas is a lot easier than you’d think,” says Surak, who didn’t meet Thomas in person until last year. Their synth- and computer-driven sounds shuffled back and forth via e-mail. “I’ll send something to Thomas, he’ll send it back, and when we’re happy with the sound it becomes the final product.” Moore’s contributions were a little more low-tech. “The vocals were recorded in her car,” Surak says.
Dead Violets performs Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Red & the Black.