Nite Jewel is the alias of L.A.-based multimedia artist Ramona Gonzalez, who has been making music with various indie outfits before going solo. (I say solo, but you’ll note that most photos or footage of Nite Jewel reveal the band to be a two-piece). This album of (I assume) homemade electro-pop is on high-rotation at my house, and every time it finishes I just can’t seem to find anything to follow it. So it’s on repeat. (Be thankful you don’t live with me, I’d drive you nuts). And as I hear the opening track “Bottom Rung” take-off, I know I’ve made the right decision. The vocals are treated as such that I can’t make out a single line on the album, and that’s one of the things I love about it. I love that her voice becomes an instrument, and you just love melodies rather than lines. In turn, you give it any sort of narrative, or context. So the songs mean what you want them to mean. (As is the case with all music, I guess. The response being a subjective thing, in the end. But what I mean to say is: Nite Jewel [like other avant instrumental music] somehow manages to be more intimate as a result of its non-verbal twist). This album is couched in that lo-fi, home-recorded vibe, and the intentional fuzziness lends it a subterranean quality that seems to revel in the atmospheric murk. But it doesn’t push you away, it draws you in. There are great ‘songs’ here, like: “Artificial Intelligence” and “What Did He Say”, but I love it as an album – as a group work. It’s dreamy, it’s sludgy, it’s ambient. It’s warm, it’s playful, it’s inviting. But at the same time it’s kinda dark and gloomy too. (Imagine Pocahaunted if they went pop). Like other current neo-dance bands (particularly those on New York’s Italians Do It Better label) like: Glass Candy, Mirage and Chromatics – the music of Nite Jewel seems cosy and well paced. (It sounds truly retro and modern at the same time). It’s danceable, but you don’t have to go busting any moves. Rather, take your time, there’s no need to feel self-conscious, dance slow, just sway, or spin, dance stupid if you want to, this atmosphere is friendly. Some(most)times you don’t dance at all…just sit, have a drink and a chat.
~ DECOY SPOON