Imagine a reality in which predictions of the space age came true: curved architecture, unabated technological progress and people sporting pastel jumpsuits and glass helmets — all to a soundtrack of bubbly synthesizers and strangely emotive machine noises.
That dream feels real to quirky D.C. pop duo The Galaxy Electric. The pair’s recent debut album, Everything Is Light And Sound, boasts a sweeping variety of mid-20th century synthesizers and recording techniques. Bassist/producer Augustus Green masterminds the robotic orchestra, playing sophisticated melodies punctuated by the bleeps and whooshes of various gadgets. Singer/keyboardist Jacqueline Caruso ties it all together with a mechanical sentimentality, like an android contemplating love.
The two describe their origins as if they were assembled in a factory.
“Our separate parts, combined together, made a greater whole,” the duo writes in an email, communicating as a single unit. “We fit. And we felt it. And it spurred us on to create together indefinitely.”
They explain their creative process in similar programming terms.
“It’s truly difficult to say whether an aspect of the songs are one person’s idea over the other,” the band writes. “It’s as though we are deciphering each song’s code from an invisible source and reverse-engineering them.”
The recording of Everything Is Light And Sound was mostly a painstaking DIY affair, the band says, but they also describe it as magical, and occasionally too exciting for their own good. For instance, the group tracked one of the songs after sneaking into a university multipurpose space.
“We didn’t know how long it would be before we got kicked out, so the pressure was on,” the band writes.
The Galaxy Electric complemented the album release with a video for closing track “Please Come Home Soon” (watch it above). Once again, they looked to old technology to make an artistic statement, shooting with 8mm film. The video features time-lapse footage of Maryland’s Wicomico River, where Green’s parents live. The camera distorts the images impressionistically in a tribute to French painter Claude Monet.
The video was Green’s personal project. Unlike his duo’s music, however, the process was far from exact.
“The thing is there is no viewfinder that shows you what you’re filming,” Green says. “I had to just guess — and to my surprise, it worked out.”
The Galaxy Electric plays July 11 at Galaxy Hut and July 22 at U Street Music Hall.