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Nite Jewel finds the jewel of the prairie

Performing tonight in Gardner Lounge will be low-fi, alt-dance musician Nite Jewel. Nite Jewel is the alias of the 29-year-old, LA-based musician, Ramona Gonzalez. An Occidental College graduate with a degree in philosophy, she sings and writes songs using a somewhat pop-y syncopation that seems to draw from 80s freestyle and electronic disco. Born in Oakland and raised in New York, she has continued to make music throughout her journey to LA, playing in a variety of rock bands with her husband, Cole M. Greif-Neill.

Nite Jewel’s music has aptly been described as liquid cool, integrating sounds of the electronic organ.

An especially great track, “One Second of Love,” starts with a beat that sounds like it was pulled right out of the 80s. In this track, she harmonizes well and integrates her classic ambient style with more pronounced drum and bass lines than in most of her other songs. Her vocals have a classic, somewhat jazzy sound, complimented by her drifting style of ambient melodies.

Starting the night will be 555, legal name Chris Farstad, whose music displays a very psychedelic feel, utilizing sounds ranging from what sounds like a didgeridoo to wind chimes and birds.

“We live our lives in transition. The constant flux of time, energy and progress,” stated 555’s Bandcamp page. “Exploring the tension between new age escapism and kinetic momentum, wielding psychic armor of pure laughter to disarm power and usher in new stories, the results are an album of dynamic exploration manifested as a synthesized fantasy of ambient environments, colliding percussion and time-based electronic composition.”

This attempts to define the creative motivation behind 555’s album. With a myriad of bubbles, repetitive and transient noise, their recent album “Solar Express” incorporates a powerful mix of psychedelic sounds. This music is not a first pick for those feeling “dance fever,” but would be choice while stargazing on Mac Field.

“Sound, once created, exists as a data cycle forever, fossilized. The execution of audio sequences creates the track. It’s kind of like it’s re-engineered, dinosaur-DNA-style,” said Farstad in an interview with Gimme Noise. “555 is more about ideas of intuition, spiritual attainment, the edge of chaos, a kind of new age punk rock or something.”

Both these artists have a complimentary fluidity and ambient, sometimes hypnotic, electronic sound. On listening to Nite Jewel and 555’s music, some students had mixed opinions.

These two artists together will be an excellent listen for those looking for a relaxed night with talented musicians. While it may not be the most upbeat music to grace Gardner’s speakers, the sound is created with skill and passion, and it will be interesting to see what Nite Jewel and 555 bring to Grinnell on a Friday night.

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