Delia Gonzalez

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Delia The DFA and Astralwerks Records are proud to announce the release of Days of Mars, the first full-length album of New York artists Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom, on October 4th, 2005. These four extended voyages are a full-on visionary listening experience, more about innerspace than outer. The Days of Mars (in reference to the book by author and lover of Hilda Doolittle, Winifred Bryher) is the realization of a sound first hinted at on their hypnotic "El Monte" single from 2004 and a multi-disciplinary vision that is barely contained by genre or labels. Already renowned in the art world (or rather, worlds), Delia and Gavin show in international galleries their continuous outstreaming of stunning video, performance, theatrical, musical, and visual art, to name but a few. Their prodigious work stems from the collaboration between the two kindred spirits, but the story goes back a bit. It was the end of the 20th century in New York City. Delia Gonzalez, originally from Miami, moved to the city in the mid 90's, working in various dance groups, including Fancypants, a guerilla theatre troupe prone to burst out in absurd dance on busy street corners. Gavin Russom, a recent transplant from Providence, Rhode Island, was doing magic shows as The Mystic Satin. In the days when NYC performance art embodied aspects of cabaret, live music, and dance, they ran in similar circles, but were still strangers. That is, until one fateful night at a fashionable though unexciting loft party. Bored stiff among the painfully hip and dance-averse, Delia and Gavin met on the empty dancefloor. Delia remembers: "When I saw Gavin and he saw me, we knew we were destined to work together. I just knew he was my best friend and that he was going to be a big part of my life." Gavin reflects that feeling: "We just decided we were gonna have fun together, recognizing in each other an eagerness to make something happen. So we just danced all night together, when nobody else danced." Within a month, Delia was assisting the Mystic Satin and soon after, they were creating performance pieces together, and branched out into prop-making and set design, modern dance, movies, and videos, not to mention a heavy metal band, Fight Evil with Evil. Gavin says that at the time, "even just going out, we would make outfits together. Everything we did was really collaborative. We've had this ongoing conversation and all the art we make just comes directly out of that. The objects that we make have to do with our interaction." As the two made more films together, they began to create their own soundtracks. In the year 2000, Gavin, always a bit of a tinkerer, began to build his own synthesizer to avert a crisis he was having with music: "At some point didn't know how to make music anymore. I couldn't relate to the instruments. I just thought visually that analog synthesizers were something that appealed to me, with all the knobs and cords, connecting things together, being able to create and change sounds from scratch." The artistic aesthetic was not far behind its function, and soon enough, the electronic components Gavin devised became a part of their gallery exhibits, showing alongside collages, art objects, props, costumes, drawings, and videos. They soon began creating live music under their own names. Listening to the expansive modular, analog synthesizer music that the duo creates on The Days of Mars evokes the early electronic music of the seventies, as created by pioneers like Terry Riley, Klaus Sch¸ltze, Vangelis, with a crucial difference: Delia and Gavin's intuition and interaction are the defining feature of the sound. Just don't be too quick to label them as yin-yang, masculine-feminine dualities at play. "While we are playing these roles of male-female," Delia explains, "it's more humanistic than gender-based." Gavin extrapolates further: "Our separate identities get blurry really fast. In the music especially, it channels some sort of 'life energy' that makes distinctions irrelevant. In our experiences and research, this energy is really a fundamental and natural part of being a person ó probably being anything ó and being here in this world." The world glimpsed on The Days of Mars is an incredibly vivid one. Touching upon their love of everything from Alice Coltrane to acid-house, Santeria ritual music to the kosmiche side of krautrock, opener "Rise" draws on these touchstones while remaining true to Delia and Gavin's mesmerizing sound; repetitious sinewaves ripple and undulate to achieve a heightened state of awareness. "Black Spring" pulses and builds like a climax to a long-lost horror flick (think zombies or a post-apocalyptic world). And the two are at work on a short film for the epic, expansive third track, "Relevee," though it's easy to imagine your own movie when listening to its swirls and arpeggiations. "Since everything we do is theatrical, our music becomes like a soundtrack," Delia explains, and it should be noted that the pair are fans of a wide spectrum of cinema. From Italian horror to Czech new wave, psychedelic Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky to Hollywood musical maestro Busby Berkeley, these films influence their sound as much as any musician. Visually inclined, Gavin also sees "a definite landscape aspect to the music. When I'm playing, there's this sensation of traveling over previously un-glimpsed topography." Plateaus and vistas emerge in the contours of the music, but it's not just strange terrain, as Delia reveals: "At the time of Days, there were a lot of things that I wanted to express but couldn't put into words." Such an emotional core centers the fluctuating peaks as well as the more languid and ambient tracks like "13 Moons." Floating through such fertile soundscapes, one easily enters into a dreamlike state. "We really wanted to create something that was an experience to listen to, a spiritual experience that took you somewhere," Gavin says and Delia adds: "We see it as a world that you can enter and explore. When we play, the music puts us in a place where we're really receptive and open to inspiration, and we'd like that sensation to arise in our listeners." Delia and Gavin both verify that the vibrations of this synthesized music give rise to new visual information, fueling new ideas for their art. But don't think that their music career is somehow separated from their visual work. "We see everything as one," Delia makes clear. "Everything we're doing now, in these performances, this ongoing project, it directly goes back to when we first met." To which Gavin finishes: "We feel that the music, the performance, the art, it's all one thing, creating this new world." Let The Days of Mars both book and soundtrack your trip to such a destination.