With all the hype recently surrounding the album translation of exclusive live concert Before The Dawn and a rare series of insightful interviews for a known introvert, it feels timely and somewhat tributary that an act would release a record now, that sounds identically like the celebrated Kate Bush (the last album to warrant this resemblance was Emilie Simon’s The Big Machine from 2009).
The act are Tasseomancy and the record is Do Easy. A Toronto-based outfit centering around twin sisters Sari and Romy Lightman, formerly backing singers for the synthpop group Austra. The whismical theatrical nature and the sophisticated pronunciation of Romy Lightman’s tone on Do Easy‘s lead single “Missoula” is a deadringer for Kate Bush.
Like the English musician, she also possesses a trained voice that could anchor an otherworldly classical concert. The accompanying music video only further establishes this comparison with an arty drama school production, with its slow motion ghostly editing and black background reminiscent of “Running Up That Hill” and “Wuthering Heights”.
The mystical Bush mood and Art pop atmosphere continues on the rest of Do Easy but the question remains: is there more to Tasseomancy then these similarities? Well, firstly there’s a nod to compatriot Neil Young for example in the opening track (“Dead Can Dance & Neil Young“) which includes a fake voice clip of a youthful Young (actually voiced by Simone Schmindt – another Toronto musician) and thankfully, Tasseomancy do also engage in their own direction and ideas on occasion.
Do Easy is a beautiful, stylish and quirky late-2016 release inspired by an essay by William S.Burroughs called ‘The Discipline of D.E‘. This was later turned into a short film by Gus Van Sant in 1982 and educates students on how to live a more simplistic, hassle-free and efficient life through beneficial Feng-Shui organisation and almost OCD like attention to detail.
Readers were taught that moving furniture could avoid accidents and future stress. Tasseomancy reflect this ease of lifestyle and environment in the album’s title track “Do Easy” which moves swiftly along with it’s straightforward drum machine before waves wash over the listener with relaxing invigoration.
Tasseomancy’s usage of pan pipes, steel drums, lush flute and smooth alto saxophone throughout the record also conjure up a taoistic lifestyle of simplicity and spiritual energy. Furthermore the band’s chosen name which is a defined as a method of fortune telling also associates with that culture and the song “29 Palms” has be labelled by the band as “an ode to all the women in waiting for their psychic plumage to arrive“.
The Lightman sisters are aware that their ancestors practised psychic arts and are openly embracing this. The staged album cover also suggests further interest in historical schools of thinking with it’s ancient Greece backdrop and costumes and this erudite personality makes Tasseomancy even more praiseworthy and irresistibly interesting.
In Burroughs’ D.E philosophy he mentions about doing things quickly. He says “When speed is crucial to the operation you must find your speed the fastest you can perform the operation without error“. This is taken by Tasseomancy into a production context on “29 Palms”, “Gentle Man” and “Emergency”, which begin entertainingly and faultless but are so short in length and promptly end that it’s hard to fully emerge one self into them. Which is disappointing considering their potential, especially when they demonstrate their ability to absorb the listener on piano album closer “Eli“.
With its shortcomings aside, it’s an album that has a magical and escapist aura and alternative lessons about living an easier and peaceful life without clutter. This is needed in a time of Post-American-Election depression. It’s as if their tasseomancy tea leaves accurately predicted this. Tasseomancy’s Do Easy is out now via Bella Union, purchase it on iTunes here.