Last year, Deafheaven frontman George Clarke threw fans for a loop by swapping his piercing screams for dreamy cleans on the black-gaze progenitors' melodic fourth LP, Infinite Granite. However, that striking musical pivot sounds like a subtle tweak compared to the batshit sound of Clarke's new side project Alto Arc, which he announced today (January 20th) alongside a staggeringly weird lead single called "Bordello.
In addition to Clarke, Alto Arc features co-vocalist Isamaya Ffrench — best known in the fashion world as a make-up artist and creative director whose resume includes stars like Madonna, Rihanna and Bjork — and co-producers Danny L Harle — an eclectic electronic musician who's collaborated with popstars like Carly Rae Jepsen and Charli XCX — and Trayer Tryon of the indie-pop group Hundred Waters. It's an odd bunch, and "Bordello" doesn't sound anything like any of the members' other projects.
It's got Eastern-influenced croons and percussion, tons of jarring sound design, erratic digitized melodies and a vocal performance from Clarke that sounds like he's reciting one of Willem Dafoe's cursed monologues from The Lighthouse. The psychedelic video features Clarke strapped to a chair while a tarot card reader tells him his disturbing fate and a horde of ghoulish women terrorize him. It's fucking wild and you can take it all in above via YouTube.
"Bordello" will appear on Alto Arc's self-titled debut EP, out February 11th via Sargent House.