I hadn’t heard anything about Jessy Lanza before Hyperdub shared the video for her song “Kathy Lee” one summer morning and announced they will be releasing her self-produced debut album in the autumn. Bright synths, calm ticking of the beat, slight snap of the fingers, and a delicate female vocal combined with deep bass lines – I was sold immediately. My first associations were Anneka, who performed at Estonian music festival Kõue Heli last year, and my this year’s big favourite – Vul Vulpes. And that charming video of a man carelessly dancing through streets in his worn down shoes! I decided to wait for the album, and it was definitely worth the wait!
Jessy Lanza is a 28-year-old music teacher in her hometown of Hamilton, Canada. She inherited various analogue synths and drum machines from her father – some of them rare and complicated, from the 1970-1980s (Polymoog, Juno-106 etc). To gain a better understanding of them, she started taking lessons from her good friend Jeremy as a return favour for having provided backing vocals for his band (Jeremy Greenspan is a member of the legendary Junior Boys and also co-produced Lanza’s album). Greenspan said in an interview that most of the material on Pull My Hair Back is actually Jessy experimenting with the Polymoog and trying to elicit weird and insane sounds from it. Based on that, one would expect a cacophony of painful sounds, but it’s the other way round – the sound is harmonized and melodic.
What is unexpected but positive, is that the album is released on Hyperdub, which usually represents colder and darker tones. Estonian fans soon have the opportunity to assess the sound of Jessy Lanza’s bass lines from big speakers first hand because her tour brings her to Helsinki on November 27. I already have a ticket!