Jordan Lee has spent the last few years moving from Ohio to Austin to Boston, and most recently Brooklyn, running the wonderful Kassette Klub label, touring with friends’ groups, and leading an amorphous project called Mutual Benefit, a one-man-band or a sprawling collective, depending on where he is and who is around that day. After self-releasing two limited cassettes and playing scores of house shows, Lee completed his debut album, Love’s Crushing Diamond, a record of lush, watery, pop songs, pieced together over the past several years and inspired by the kinetic energy, goodbyes, and blurred landscapes of life on the road. The songs are heartfelt and powerful with Lee’s fragile and beautiful voice as the centerpiece, and the recordings are an instantly engaging blend of high and low fidelity, mixing lush studio productions, featuring keys, guitar, violin and banjo, with clattering homemade percussion and found sounds. While the album is certainly Lee’s brainchild, the recordings are very much a collaborative effort featuring contributions by friends and others met along the way.
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Listen to "Worms" by Youth Lagoon above.
Last Thanksgiving, Matt Halverson, who runs the Portland-based label Lefse Records, was talking with his brother in law, Exogenesis President and Chief Scientist Sean Anklam, who described a trove of recordings the NASA-launched Voyager space probes had made in the outer solar system. Halverson, the Walter White to Anklam’s Hank Schrader, was overtaken by an idea: to commission imaginative artists to create songs and soundscapes out of the Voyager recordings. The interest among musicians—including , Spiritualized, Beach House, The Antlers, Mutual Benefit, Blues Control and others—was overwhelming. Lefse will release the resulting album, entitled Space Project, on April 19, Record Store Day. It will be available on vinyl, CD, and as a 7” box set.
The audio tracks that form the raw material for Space Project were recorded by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes that NASA launched in 1977 and still uses to study the outer solar system. The satellites carry numerous instruments fine-tuned to record in different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The “sounds” recorded by the Voyager probes aren’t sounds in the conventional sense; rather, they are electromagnetic radiation fluctuations in the magnetosphere of the planets, moons and large asteroids the Voyager probes traveled near. Each celestial body is composed of different elements, has its own size and mass, and therefore sounds unique.
Space Project Track Listing
A: Porcelain Raft, “Giove”
B: The Antlers, “Jupiter”
A: Mutual Benefit, “Terraform”
B: Anna Meredith, “Miranda”
A: Spiritualized “Mississippi Space Program,” “Always Together With You (The Bridge Song)”
B. The Holydrug Couple, “Amphitrites Lost”
Rings of Uranus:
A: Youth Lagoon, “Worms”
B: Blues Control, “Blues Danube”
A: Beach House, “Saturn Song”
B: Zomes, “Moonlet”
A: Absolutely Free, “EARTH I”
B: Jesu, “Song of Earth”
A: Benoit & Sergio, “Long Neglected Words”
B: Larry Gus, “Sphere of Io (For Georg Cantor)”
Bobby Bare Jr. "Shame On Me"