Ablebody All My Everybody [EP]

[Self-Released; 2013]

Styles: synthpop, 80s into 60s, indie, post-chillwave
Others: Ice Choir, Associates, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, The Depreciation Guild

In a curious quote from nobody, Ablebody’s music is described as occurring and exploring indoors, “with the blinds shut, with nothing to hide from.” But which is more to be avoided: the public gaze or the reflexive lens of the self? As a title, All My Everybody speaks to this tension, mirror-flipped in a song name like “No Room For I.” The EP itself is very much a bedroom pop piece, a fragmented private language that nonetheless draws upon familiar genres as its stepping stones. Ablebody is Christoph Hochheim, ex-Pains of Being Pure at Heart-iste, with his brother Anton on drums. Since 2011, Hochheim’s released various fragments and remixes, demonstrating his excellent and eclectic taste with covers of The Walker Brothers, Cleaners From Venus, and (delving into more delightful obscurity) Billy Mackenzie side-project Orbidoig.

So what do we hear as the door closes softly behind us? We’re in a space that’s paradoxically clear and muffled, a blanketed listening room. All My Everybody’s soaring, sheeny synth confections are not dissimilar from PoBPAH member Kurt Feldman’s Ice Choir project (like Feldman, Hochheim was also in undersung chiptune-gazers The Depreciation Guild). In contrast, though, here we also encounter interesting semi-industrial breakdowns, veers-off into dissonance, and lo-fi fuzziness around the edges, which give an original and promising bite to that sound (a trend particularly evident on the EP’s first half). The lyrics are often muffled by reverb, while synthpop hookiness is not entirely absent, but nor is it quite the name of the game, which becomes both a strength and a weakness.

There’s a tension between a beat-driven paradigm flirting shyly both with the avant-garde and with hints of melancholy, and a sense of echoing, cathedralesque procession. The former blossoms, but the latter manifests most clearly in the slower pace of the final two tracks; closer “Sister Marie” embodies the statelier moments of 60s baroque pop, a renovated “She’s Leaving Home,” but it doesn’t command the attention as it could.

Ablebody’s is a sound whose potential seems midway in the process of revealing itself even as one listens: Venetian blinds half open, dust motes still in play, floating in sunshine that itself deepens corner pools of shadow.

Links: Ablebody

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