Part 9 of the 2019 Deutschtown Music Festival In Review
Sound Elevator is “an evolving project of the art of sound and light.” Based out of Pittsburgh, the trio creates spacey, lo-fi shoegaze that alternates between crunchy and dreamy. Bored In Pittsburgh featured their song “Rain Chain” a few weeks ago.
After having my eardrums completely annihilated by Gator Shakes in the basement of St. Mary’s Lyceum, I decided to take another music break and wait in line for a beer at Allegheny City Brewing on Foreland St, which ended up killing the better part of the next hour. Luckily, I was able to chug my beer and speedwalk a few blocks to catch Sound Elevator’s 9pm set in the Max’s Allegheny Tavern rathskeller, where I had seen The Petals perform the previous night to kick off my festival adventure. By returning, the Three Weeks Ago version of me conveniently closed a narrative loop without even meaning to do so.
Sound Elevator performs without a live drummer, enlisting a synthesizer as their chosen source of percussion. Axeman D.R. and axewoman Lindsay coat the machine’s skeletal beats (programmed by D.R.) with rich, swirling layers of guitar effects, with a bass (played by Scott) thrown in there to anchor everything. D.R. and Lindsay share vocal duties; their lyrics, in true shoegaze fashion, are sometimes buried under waves of sound, leaving the faint, ghostly trace of a melody to linger beneath the fuzz. The hypnotic musical effect was enhanced by a multicolored light that whirled and flashed overhead. I was excited when the band played “Rain Chain,” of course, but the true highlight for me was the crystalline, laser-like guitar interlude that burst forth from Lindsay’s instrument during “Rated R” (at least I think that’s what it’s called), a track from 2017’s The Edge of Present Understanding.
You can find Sound Elevator’s extensive back catalogue on Bandcamp; it covers everything from the surprisingly danceable beats of 2014’s Orange to the nearly impenetrable noise walls of 2016’s Hypnagogia. My favorite song that the band has released is 2017’s single “December Embers,” which combines subtle vocal melodies with harsh guitar drones in a way that would make Flying Saucer Attack or Astrobrite proud.