Brooklyn-based electronic duo Light Asylum are known primarily for two things: charismatic front woman Shannon Funchess (also of !!!), and the dark energy she brings to their songs with her low and raspy voice. Thanks to some help from DJ and producer Bruno Coviello, Funchess’ howling growl is accompanied by electronic production highly reminiscent of The Human League and Joy Division, resulting in a raw sound that makes absolutely no apologies. But it would be a mistake to dismiss Light Asylum, who have received shout outs from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, as another aggressive electronic act with some eccentric samples (horse noises, for instance), and an even bigger mistake to regard Funchess’ distinct vocal style simply as angry shouting. For although Funchess, who has worked with TV on the Radio and !!!, may very well be angry, the complexity of her songwriting shines through in songs like “Pope Will Roll,” in which the violence in her voice seems to be replaced by something much softer, as though she is extending out her arm in compassion. “To me Light Asylum is a metaphor for the lack of genuine self-expression in the world, where people suppress their sexuality, their creativity, their entire lives,” Funchess stated in an interview with the now defunct Tokion Magazine. “This music is for them and for people to realize that they’re not alone. The music is dark, but it’s at a place where you can see there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Check out Light Asylum’s entire live KEXP in-studio session with host DJ Cheryl Waters from this past May below, and be sure to catch Funchess and Coviello live this Friday at Capitol Hill Block Party on the Neumos stage at 7:45PM.