LEYA, Where.Are.We, Magicicada, Sarah Swillum
LEYA (NYC) is harpist Marilu Donovan (Eartheater, Julie Byrne) and violinist/vocalist Adam Markiewicz (PC Worship, The Dreebs).
The group aims to deconstruct the traditional connotations of the harp and violin by luxuriating in the deviant juxtaposition of ugliness vs. intense beauty. By altering the sound of their instruments through unorthodox tunings, extended techniques, amplification, and effects, Donovan and Markiewicz are able to mine the depths of their darker, more unsettling capacities. Falsetto and whispered vocals complete a texture that can be equally haunting and unsettling.
The duo achieves this deeper contrast via an intention towards pop songs with simple, transparent forms. The slow, drawn-out compositional pace brings them closer to “ambient” territory, enhancing the evocative qualities of the instruments while floating carefully between eerie dissonance and the angelic higher stratospheres of transcendent beauty. It is both ancient and singular in tone, but remains open to the influences and ideas of the modern day underground in its structural simplicity.