Local Wire

Body of Light: Goth Pop Machine Music

As 2012 draws to a close, we'll be looking forward to the 2013 and spotlighting 13 Phoenix bands that will be making a mark on the Southwest throughout the new year. This entry concerns Body of Light, the mutating synth pop outfit fronted by Alexander Jarson, one of the members of the shadowy Ascetic House collective.

"Putting on a record is very much a ritual for me," Alexander Jarson, the man behind the synth-pop/goth rock/romantic industrial unit Body of Light explains. "You sit down, put the needle on the record...it's like worship, really."

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-13 Bands You Need to Hear in 2013 -[Archive] That Was 2012

If the act of listening is his liturgy, Body of Light is Jarson's communion.

On single "The Leaves Just Disappeared," he evokes the spirit of early Depeche Mode with hazy, candle-lit New Wave. Elsewhere, he taps into the vein of mythic motorik electronica, like on "Devil's Trumpet/Moonflower," which barrels down some desert autobahn like the abandoned offspring of Cluster's Zuckerzeit and Tubeway Army's Replicas.

Live, it's hard to tell exactly what's going on, as clouds of smoke obscure just about everything. Jarson twirls, dances, and thrashes, alternating between a beatific shaman and a mythic hardcore frontman, raising the mic to his mouth to either coo or shout.

Jarson's screams echo over the machine beat, sharing a spiritual bond with both the psychedelic '60s boogie rock and the no-wave sonic terrorism that he finds himself lowering onto the turntable. Dig it.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.