Brooklyn duo Beacon explore the dark side of sweet melody with a sound that's as seductive as it is subtly discomfiting. Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett met at Pratt Institute, where they were studying sculpture and painting respectively. In short time the two began writing songs that fused the flair of R&B with undercurrents of dance music, drawing on influences as disparate as Underworld, Jeff Buckley, and Warp's back catalog.
The first Beacon release, 2011 EP No Body, defined the duo's dual nature: Mullarney's silky voice whispered and sighed above stuttering rhythms and airy electronic production. For their debut LP in 2013, The Ways We Separate, the duo refined arrangements and opened up lyrically, detailing the complexities of human relationships. Where that record was about space — specifically, the space between people — its follow-up in 2016, Escapements, engaged time. The title is taken from clock mechanics; escapements are timekeeping regulators designed to transfer energy at a constant pace. "I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies," Mullarney explains. Amorphous and free-flowing, the songs demonstrate the band’s restlessness and desire to discover and escape in their music, to be truly free of constraint and expectations.
Following several tours, including dates with Tycho at Coachella and in Europe where Mullarney experimented as the band’s first ever vocalist, Beacon approached their next LP differently. Adopting a more linear style of songwriting compared to their previous loop and texture-driven method, they constructed demos from piano chords and guitar phrases with vocal melodies. They edited iterations almost ad infinitum, looking through each from a multitude of angles. They found inspiration from the fringe-science theories of 20th-century mystic Walter Russell, who described the rhythmic order of the universe as “gravity pairs.” The resulting record is a work of meticulous revision and refraction. Released in November 2018, Gravity Pairsfinds Beacon slicing through dense and foggy dance and electronic music apparatuses to create something familiar but unique, melodic but cathartic. A prismatic collection of minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals, and four-on-the-floor dance sequences, fanning out with spectral cohesion.