Lovespirals is, in some sense, a reincarnation of the now defunct but long beloved Love Spirals Downwards. The two bands share in common multi-instrumentalist Ryan Lum, whose shimmering guitar work and lush electronic soundscapes helped define the ethereal genre in the mid to late 1990s. And they share a certain aesthetic — a languorous fascination with gossamer guitar textures and celestial female vocals. But it’s also — make no mistake — its own entity, having formed in 1999 shortly after the fruitful partnership between Lum and vocalist Suzanne Perry dissolved. Partnering with vocalist/songwriter Anji Bee, Lum formed Lovespirals, a new band with a name that evokes the familiar while creating space for the provocative — a one-word manifesto for a two-person union.
Inspired by their emersion in the California drum ‘n’ bass scene, Lum and Bee initially led Lovespirals down the sonic trail that LSD blazed on its final album, Flux. The group’s early tracks blended jazz-step breakbeats with relaxed saxophone workouts and Bee’s warm, enveloping vocals — elements that epitomized the California downtempo underground. After appearing on a number of popular chill-out compilations, and following the smashing success of several tracks released through MP3.com, the band set out to record a full-length album for Projekt. Radically changing courses, Lovespirals began composing new material with a stronger pop sensibility, building songs around narrative lyrics, sharp melodic hooks, and organic instrumental sounds. The resulting album, Windblown Kiss, marks another step in Lum’s evolution, and signals the arrival of Bee as a mature vocalist/songwriter. Saxophonist Doron Orenstein, of Toof!, and Sean Bowley, of Eden, provide further departure points, coloring the album with subtle hues of Jazz and World Beat, and helping to produce a post-Shoegazer masterwork.
The irony in all of this, of course, is that the band has managed to defy its fan base, its label,the very confines of genres with an album that’s gentle on the ears and soul — a gauzy confection that challenges without confrontation. Lovespirals’ performance at ProjektFest 2002 will mark a rare live appearance by the group, which plans to support Windblown Kiss with a few exclusive shows before diving back into the studio to resume its obsessions with the almighty breakbeat; or perhaps to completely redefine themselves and their fans’ expectations all over again.
Lovespirals play the headlining slot of the 3 day festival’s opening night, as well as an intimate, stripped down performance the following evening for the Merchant’s Bazaar. Get more information from the ProjektFest site.