Ariel Rosenberg (Ariel Pink) and Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) have teamed up and are preparing to release a new EP together as part of the ‘Myths’ record series by Mexican Summer. The first Myths 001 EP featured a collaboration between Connan Mockasin and Blood Orange’s Devonte Hynes, which is very good.
More information about the collaboration and new Myths 002 EP via Mexican Summer…
In the middle of March 2016, over a week-long musical residency in the desert, two weird planets went conjunct. Both bore a bright color palette: Ariel Rosenberg (aka Ariel Pink), an underground icon known for his stylized, subversive pop, and Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood), bold bringer of a future cosmic folk realm. Under the mystic lights of Marfa, Texas, they composed and captured Myths 002.
As West Coast singer-songwriters with a shared sensibility for mood, Natalie and Ariel have been collaborating artists, mutual admirers, and friends for years. Mering appeared as guest vocalist on Pink’s 2013 album Mature Themes, Pink produced the infectious Drugdealer song “Suddenly” featuring Mering. Mering’s third album, Front Row Seat To Earth, was released on Mexican Summer in October 2016.
The atmospheres and auras of these two pop artists assemble as new hues on Myths 002, their distinct voices inexplicably, effortlessly folding into harmony. The four songs capture musicians at play — speak-talking dramatic interludes, twisting up songs strangely before releasing them assuredly in New Romantic resolves.
“Tears on Fire,” a tangled, tumbling folk-prog opus, initiates the collaboration. It starts like a slow warm wind, a mellow California moment, with the talky timbre of Ariel’s voice providing witness. But then, as if a lost refrain by The Sweet, we are blasted with a chorale interjection of Natalie’s flaming voice: “TEARS ON FIRE!” This is an elevated reality, spacious and lush with harmony, perky guitar poking us across the grooved arc of the song. After some twists we come to a clearing — a bridge that charmingly reinterprets the song, stripped to a truth of acoustic guitar and voice.
In “Morning After,” Natalie Mering’s commanding, enchanting voice becomes the storyteller. This narrative takes place in watercolor soft atmosphere, a bed that elevates the mystique of Mering’s singing. The tambourine drives us on a stride, the synth horns surround in wobbly sound, and layers of harmonic voice elope, telling a story about a vampiric bite. Mering’s voice sways with the song’s pull, and after a few drops appear, rains down in tonal sheets.
The collaboration also includes some inspired deep cut covers. “Daddy, Please Give A Little Time to Me” captures the glittery, easy listening vocal pop spirit of The Sisters’ early ’60s sound and feeds it through a blue screen of post-modern experience. Mering sings jaunty lead over a web of bubblegum keys and voice. “On Another Day,” the final cut of Myths 002, curtsies with a cover of ‘80s UK goth rockers Sad Lovers and Giants. This is a charged live performance of a riffy, dark melodic pop anthem featuring guest musicians Connan Mockasin and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT.
Curating the annual Marfa Myths festival, Mexican Summer brought these two musicians together for the second in a collaboration record series that promotes collaboration between artists within the label crew and kindred musical spirits from outside the catalog. Marfa is small town known for its remote desert locale in Texas, its arts community, and its strange heavenly lights.
Photo by Shelby Duncan