Tempe synth pop duo Body of Light explores ambient sonic landscapes with its debut album Let Me Go.

Blurry on the Edges

Written by Jason P. Woodbury Category: Arts Issue: October 2016
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Let Me Go, the debut full-length album from Tempe synth pop duo Body of Light, opens with ambient washes of keyboard and arpeggiated synthesizer runs, and then after a dramatic pause – almost like a deep breath – the beat kicks in: classic, thumping New Wave rhythms in the vein of Depeche Mode or New Order.

Formed in the fertile Tempe avant-garde scene roughly five years ago, Body of Light cut its teeth performing at underground parties and warehouse shows. Alex Jarson, co-founder of the Ascetic House collective, which issues tapes and zines adorned with occult imagery and filled with psychedelic philosophy, started Body of Light as a solo act, but quickly incorporated his younger brother Andrew. “I’ve always tried to bring him into what I’m doing,” Jarson says. “It’s selfish, really… he’s got a big vision that’s not stuck in the mindset that things have to sound one way or the other.”

Fittingly, the aesthetic of Body of Light is blurry on the edges – there are ambient, darkwave and noise elements scattered throughout – but Let Me Go shifts the Jarsons’ sound into more defined, song-oriented territory than previous cassette releases and EPs. Songs like “Tremble,” “Cold Gesture” and “How Do I Know?” pulse with driving, dance floor-ready energy. But Jarson’s quick to note that the move toward a more pop sound doesn’t mean the group necessarily plans to stay there. “We always want to be moving forward with our music,” Jarson says. “You know, just because we write a song that sounds one way, doesn’t mean we’ll ever do it again in the future.”

– Jason P. Woodbury