Sometimes, songs are true stories translated to the abstract medium of sound. To listen to the Warped Glimmer, the inaugural full length album by Colorado dream-pop duo Vivian, is to witness its members, Alana Rolfe and Tim Massa, falling in love.
Massa’s life underwent a complete metamorphosis: first, a breakup; then, a new living situation, and finally, leaving a job. From that transformative space, Massa sketched out the electronic background of the sonic landscape that would become Vivian. Rolfe heard the songs on Soundcloud and offered to add her lyrics and vocals to the mix. The two were used to working together--in the virtuosic gypsy rock band Stella Luce, and in their music industry day jobs--but for once, they volleyed ideas back and forth virtually, adding their own layers to each song. This project was a grand departure from Stella Luce. Their former band’s fiery rock romanticism, earthy and primitive and often staccatoed with exotic stringed instruments, was replaced with ethereal electronic chill: dreamy washes of synths, full body bass vibrations, and echoing electric guitar. Whereas Stella Luce was proudly egalitarian and rooted in the vibing between members at their frenetic live shows, this new project focused on illuminating the vibrant star power of Rolfe’s vocals. With that new focus, more freedom to edit and carve out their exact vision. Just as Warped Glimmer’s sparkle began to materialize, the two musicians fell in love. Vivian was born. Rolfe, slated to move to Wyoming and quit music, left her former relationship to stay making music with Massa. They moved in together and began their most prolific creative project to date shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In quarantine, their new love and creative collaboration only heated up. “The songs are just tumbling out of us,” says Rolfe.
Occasionally, a sonic element will creep through the Warped Glimmer to reveal the minds behind Stella Luce--like a stringed instrument playing in a minor chord, or Eastern European-tinged feverishness (think the titular song on the Warped Glimmer). Still, others like “Tick Tock Talk” or “Break” sound like they could be the sensual, bass-heavy comingling of FKA Twigs, Portishead and even Dirty Projectors. With lyrics that are edgy and sensitive, begging and pleading: “Don’t break me now,” it’s easy to imagine the Warped Glimmer as the creative lovechild of two people falling in love. Massa even jokes that they make “music to fuck to.” Still, the duo doesn’t want to be pigeonholed. Their goal in creating a dream pop album of this atmospheric ascension is to let each listener experience, and dream, as they see fit.
The Warped Glimmer is out 5/19/2020 on all platforms:
The debut single, Tick Tock Talk, is available for download and streaming Links to everywhere here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/vivian3/tick-tock-talk