A throbbing falsetto seeping through glimmering harp strings, mellow synth and reverb bass can be expected to resonate through Emo’s this Friday night, as Active Child will be making a stop in Austin during his first ever tour.
After the singer-songwriter’s first EP in 2010, Curtis Lane, Pat Grossi of Active Child released his first full-length album, You Are All I See, on Aug. 23. The 10-track LP surges through a more evolved sound than his EP, which was more upbeat and less reliant on the angelic choral vocals we experience in You Are All I See.
Curtis Lane was a project created in the musician’s bedroom when he moved back to his hometown of Los Angeles around December 2008, after graduating college. The EP was Grossi’s opportunity to demonstrate his technical skills by mixing sounds and sampling on his laptop. The end product was hauntingly mitigating and sometimes danceable, reminiscent of New Order with hints of M83.
Grossi has since diverged from his laptop, now creating watercolor audibility with a high tenor and slinky phrasing inspired by his participation in the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale as a child in New Jersey. The experience “really sculpted [his] ears in a way that has highly influenced [his] vocal melodies and compositions,” Grossi said in an interview with Buzz Bands LA. Early exposure to a more classical form of music also influenced Grossi’s use of the layered vocals we hear in almost every song of the new album.
The artist’s harp playing is yet another element that adds to the ambrosial effect of the experimental cross-section between electro-pop, folk and a touch of dub. The fluidity of You Are All I See transcends through subdued ballads, drawing on ’80s synth and echoing R&B beats. The new sound is comparable to Bon Iver’s recently released self-titled album.
The heart-wrenching lyrics display the songwriter’s vulnerability: “You Are All I See is an attempt to build a bridge between the listener and I, in that, I wrote these songs for you as much as I did for me. And right now when you are listening to my voice, by yourself, it really is just you and I,” Grossi wrote on his MySpace page. The album’s first single, “Playing House,” is a collaboration with vocalist Tom Krell of the R&B lo-fi band How To Dress Well.
After opening for artists such as School of Seven Bells, James Blake, White Lies and White Rabbits, Active Child is well prepared to take on his headlining tour. Com Truise, the up-and-coming electro musician Seth Haley, will be the opening act.