Experimental music & spoken word collaboration Vapor Vespers have returned with a new double-sided single. The two tracks, “Sex” and “You Changed,” each come with an accompanying video.
Vapor Vespers is the transcontinental brainchild of New York multi-instrumentalist Sal Cataldi (also known as Spaghetti Eastern Music) and Alaskan playwright, actor and slam poet Marc Muro. The pair, whose musical and personal relationship dates back to their teen years in Queens, New York, first bonded over boundary-pushing musicians like Sun Ra and Frank Zappa. The pair have also cited artists like Miles Davis as inspiration, alongside spoken-word icons like John Cooper Clarke and poet Charles Bukowski.
Their mesmerizing blend of hazy electro-funk and searing, lyrical poetry garnered critical acclaim on their 2020 debut album, One Act Sonix. On the new singles they maintain the momentum of that unique fusion, offering a sneak preview to their sophomore album, set for release in winter 2021.
On “Sex,” set over a menacing slow-jam of drums and electro funk, Muro’s echoing voice builds a string of metaphors for sex; a “time bomb under your seat and a dog sleeping at your feet,” “the tip love leaves after good service,” a “really good episode of Gilligan’s island.” The mixture of humor and great existential depth in the lyrics is hypnotic, especially over Cataldi’s instrumental, which sounds as if Predator had a penchant for Frank Zappa. The video for the song compiles black-and-white clips of sensual moments– kisses, embraces, flirtatious laughs and states of undress–which slowly come into neon color.
“You Changed,” ups the tempo from the start. The galloping beat is supplemented by competing yet harmonious lead electric guitars and a perfectly placed clavinet. The angsty, manic lyrics are a rant against a friend who has not only changed, but seems to have become too good for Muro. “You used to be nice, you used to be normal, you used to be my friend, then you suddenly changed…” Muro anxiously laments. However, the song is far from sorry for itself. Muro’s lyrics comically recognize the way that an urge for notoriety and identity can breed ridiculousness. In frustration, Muro calls out: “You wanted to be interesting, so you rented a wolf, had your elbows pierced, bought a stuffed owl, and went to the opera dressed as a music!” The accompanying music video, which uses black-and-white footage transitioning into neon as well, puts that personal hedonism on sly display.
Both tracks were mixed and mastered by Cataldi out of studios in Long Island and West Saugerties, New York. To listen to more, visit vaporvespers.bandcamp.com or Vapor Vesper’s Spotify page.