J&L Defer – “Hard Fiction Road”

With their main project as Disco Doom, the core duo of Anita Rufer and Gabriele De Mario have always allowed for experimentation within more traditional noisy rock structures, never paying much respect to genre confinements. A few years ago, they began J&L Defer as an outlet to indulge in their more shapeless and abstract musical whims. After a number of performances earlier this year, including ones at Treefort Music Festival and Stereogum’s unofficial SXSW show with Exploding In Sound, the duo went back to their native Switzerland to put the finishing touches on the project’s debut, which came together in between Disco Doom album cycles and tours. No Map, their first full-length, follows no particular direction, much like the title suggests; it’s a swath of ambient dreamscapes and sharp impressions.

“Hard Fiction Road,” the album’s lead single, needles its way into existence, setting up a meditative and slender frame that’s built around small sonic payoffs, repetitions of phrase and sound that echo in permutations throughout. “I wanna know what it’s like to be okay,” De Mario sings, his voice hushed and muted, as if he’s ready to be swallowed up by it all. He’s joined by Rufer on the back half, slightly out of step, and the music in turn becomes more confident and assured: the drum fills in, guitars cascade off into nothingness. This is heady, masterfully constructed music that takes its time to sink in, that reflects the wonder, uneasiness, and occasional tranquility of life. Listen below.

01 “Transition”
02 “Hard Fiction Road”
03 “Vibrant”
04 “Horror”
05 “Beach Dark”
06 “Johnny, Dream”
07 “Nowhere”
08 “River”
09 “Hell”
10 “Ian’s Room”

No Map is out 9/2 via Exploding In Sound. Pre-order it here.