Sometimes it’s those e-mail subject lines that get you: “Bedroom pop from Tokyo”. Oh, yeah, now we’re talking. “My Aquamarine” is a beautiful new track from musician Elen Never Sleeps, the curator of the site Gay Vegan Vinyl Cassette. It’s a song with a darkly romantic 80s/New Wave vein to it, just like its b-side brethren “Spinning Wheel”. It’s interesting to hear over the last few years, the emergence of dynamic artists who prefer to sing in sweet isolation, behind closed doors. Elen Never Sleeps is hushed and woozy, the vocals on his two tracks are soft and cooing. The synth-work and keyboard melodies are sparkly and lush. The tone is as the song suggests, an ‘aquamarine’ loneliness that makes the track feel intimate. There’s something ironic about bedroom artists like Elen Never Sleeps, who seem to reach out into the blogosphere and serious influence music tastes with a style that’s all about shyness, softness of touch, lightness of breath, and sincerity of mood. It’s emotional music that sounds stress-free and dreamy. Bedroom music tends to be airy and nostalgic, with voices whispering into listeners ears as if revealing a close confidence. Album artwork is often bleached out by sun, or shaded in light blues and purple-hues, or singularly representative of images close to the artist: A photograph taken by the artist. A picture of a former love. An old Polaroid of a place that looks like a childhood memory. It’s symbolic of the warmth of the music. It’s giving. There’s a charm in it. And it also reveals a type of estrangement. Obviously, bedroom artists have emerged largely because you no longer need a studio to make music. The computer and home equipment have given voice to the previously voiceless. The DIY ethic is a style that’s become one of the strengths of modern so-called underground music. Like Elen Never Sleeps, many bedroom artists like to work anonymously, letting their monikers speak for them. In this case, for me, the moniker Elen Never Sleeps stands for beautiful, floating, and oceanic. Listening to “My Aquamarine” will give you that feeling that everything is all right. Follow Elen Never Sleeps at bandcamp and at soundcloud. “My Aquamarine” is one of the best songs I’ve heard so far in 2012. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Elen Never Sleeps “My Aquamarine”