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On her new record Star Core, multi-instrumentalist Marielle V Jakobsons uses her voice for the first time, while expanding on ideas she explored in her previous solo records and as one-half of the group Date Palms. Star Core revolves around minimalist synthesizer layers with melodic violin, flute, and vocals over elongated bass grooves. The songs on the album are Jakobsons’ version of devotional hymns, and they create a cosmic yet personal environment to slow down with and to get lost in.
The songs on Star Core are based around slowly-evolving analog synthesizer samples. Jakobsons added bass lines and melodies that emerge as phasing patterns and delicate sonic gestures influenced by her career as a sound designer. She crafts synthesizer melodies by modulating analog filters in harmonic scales that aren’t made up of traditional keyboard notes. In the middle of recording the album, Jakobsons took out all of the frets on her short- scale Japanese surfer bass to play in tune with the synthesizers, instead of being boxed in by fretted scales. “I guess that came from the violin,” Jakobsons, a classically trained musician, notes. “Frets always seemed a bit odd and limiting to me.”
The title track, “Star Core,” builds to a Bollywood-style orchestral explosion that mirrors the formation of a star. “Rising Light” acts as a compositional postlude to the title track, taking place when light from the star’s explosion first begins to appear in the sky. Singing lyrics for the first time in her career, Jakobsons crafts dreamy hymns that encourage listeners to find a core power and call upon their higher selves to create their future. Her voice connects the personal to the cosmic on the opening track “White Sparks”: “Seep in the sun/ lay one more day/ rise to the moon/ weave a new way”. Star Core was recorded at Jakobsons’ home studio and at Mills College in Oakland, California and mixed at Chuck Johnson’s Cirrus Oxide studio.
As an intermedia artist, Jakobsons recently completed the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California, where she continued to develop her “Macro-Cymatic Instrument”. The visual music instrument creates analog translations of sound into water and light, and was used to create the ethereal, liquid sky on the cover of Star Core. “My art is all about heightening our experience of place around and within us, and creating immersive environments with sound and light,” says Jakobsons, who plans to tour with the visuals created on her instrument later this year. The influence of natural environment also translates to her homestead in Oakland, California, where she keeps a garden and uses what she harvests as ingredients for homemade botanicals. In addition to her Djerassi residency, she has been awarded the Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency, Brush Creek Foundation Arts Residency, American Composer’s Forum Grant, Elizabeth Mills Crawford Award in Composition, NEXMAP Sounding Out California Composer’s Award, and has exhibited photographs, installations, and videos at the LAB, Indiana University East, Warehouse 1-10, Madelife, and with the Allegany Arts Council.