Lore City, a Portland-based dream pop duo, consists of a married couple: Laura Mariposa Williams provides vocals, Eric Angelo Bessel provides production, and both provide keyboards and guitar. (Dividing chores and responsibilities is, of course, an important part of any relationship, but most people don’t make great 4AD-esque songs out of those arrangements.) Six years after their second album, the underrated Kill Your Dreams, Lore City returns with Alchemical Task, as well as a lovely single in “Into Your Blue”.
At just over six minutes long, “Into Your Blue” is longer than your average single, but when a song has an atmosphere and a sound as good as this one it’s time well-spent. The song rides a robust, rhythmic drum pattern that’s more active than your average dream pop drum machine; as it goes forward, Williams and Bessel add glowing synth chords, wordless harmonies, and shimmery guitars.
“Into Your Blue”, like many other dream pop songs, isn’t really lyrics-forward. It has evocative phrases, like the title and “into your shimmer”, but it doesn’t feel the need to explain what that actually means. But that’s alright, because it doesn’t have to: Williams’ vocals get the point across quite well. I mentioned 4AD above, and Williams’ voice reminds me of a lot of that label’s mainstays: Liz Fraser, yes, but also some of Lisa Gerrard’s ecstatic incantations. Alternating between bliss and serenity, Williams makes a strong impression, and she helps you enter this gorgeous blue shimmer of a song.
What’s it like to be a married couple creating music together?
It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to make music with my partner, from the very first time I picked up a guitar. Eric and I spend so much time together, it’s especially enriching to have a shared creative project. All relationships have priorities; ours includes Lore City because music is incredibly important to us. Early on in our relationship we bonded over bands that inspired us. Eric introduced me to artists like Swans and Abdel Halim Hafez, which have forever changed me and the way I make music.
What does your creative process look like?
We’ve brought recording into our creative process as a way of organizing all of our ideas. Depending on the song, our songwriting process varies quite a bit. Sometimes Eric constructs a soundscape, then I’ll find lyrics for it. Other times I’ll have an idea for a beat with a specific song in mind, and we build from there together. And then there are moments when I’ll compose a song in its entirety on the piano, and Eric adds layers of additional instrumentation later. We share the lead equally while writing songs; it’s amorphous at times, and we enjoy that fluidity.
What struck me the most about “Into Your Blue” was Laura’s powerful, dreamy vocals. Do you have any main vocal influences?
Thank you so much for the kind words. Lately, Thom Yorke has been inspiring me vocally, especially with his Anima LP. Joanna Newsom’s music—especially her unbridled vocal inflections, have also been sounds I’ve treasured over the years. The new Lore City album is my first exploration into vocal overdubs, and I delved pretty deep into The Cranberries back catalog to figure out how to deliver vocal harmonies. I took a lot of inspiration from Dolores O’Riordan.
How has the pandemic affected your plans going forward?
Going forward we’re focusing on recording new songs for our fourth album. With concerts off the table, we’re at peace with continuing to write and record. We’re quite grateful to be able to continue working from our home studio. It’s heartbreaking to see so many music venues closing, and we’re trying to remain positive for the future of live music.
What do you aspire towards?
Overall, I aspire to live a spiritually rich life through meditation and making art. Both Eric and I are vegan because we believe all living creatures deserve compassion. Through my music and everyday actions, I hope to somehow leave the world a little better than the way I found it.