Bells and Robes New Album ‘House of Mirrors’ is Outstanding. So is Their Live Show.
I became a fan of Bells and Robes back in 2014 at a show in Tampa when, in fact, it was only Bells. Or Robes. Drummer Dean Spaniol was in Europe at the time, and keyboard wiz Luke Sipka did a great job by himself opening for DYNOHUNTER.
The next time I heard them was in a silent disco situation at Reunion: Campground Series at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in 2015, and they tore that up. At Suwannee Hulaween 2016, I noted that they offered some “great new dance tracks.” Before Purple Hatter’s Ball 2017, I wrote:
Bells and Robes are Luke Sipka and Dean Spaniol, two men who always keep the party rockin’ with their excellent mix of a variety of electronica styles. Both handle sampling, Sipka plays keyboards, and Spaniol plays drums.
And then there was a preview of On the Road to Hula 2018, where again I scribbled:
Bells & Robes are Luke Sipka and Dean Spaniol. These two have performed as B&R for more than three years now, and they have played countless dates and numerous festivals both big and intimate, including Hulaween, AURA Music & Arts Festival, Purple Hatter’s Ball, Summer Splashdown, Orange Blossom Jamboree and the Imagine Festival.
The (former Gainesville, now Atlanta) duo describe themselves as “electronic future beats” artists. Their music ranges from wonderfully hypnotic trance to full-on jams. They create their own “electro-soundscapes” for use as they play. Sipka plays live keyboards and synths while Spaniol plays drums and triggers samples. Their music makes you feel great. They release their most recent EP, How Could We Have Known, last spring.
HOUSE OF MIRRORS
The livetronica duo have just released a tremendous new album called House of Mirrors, and with each successive listen I hear more and more. AND it sounds superb on vinyl. The eight tracks cover an amazingly wide span of sounds, tempos, and textures. The album was mixed and mastered by Klaus Hill with artwork courtesy of Marco Cesare. Bells and Robes are managed by Organic Vision Presents and Charlie Bilsker.
Our hero Edvardo closes out a reflective journey which culminates in him fighting his greatest enemy. After accomplishing his greatest, mission, what comes next?
House Of Mirrors follows a narrative set in a futuristic western world. Starting off at the end of a great battle, it follows the descent of the protagonist Edvardo as he battles his inner demons and ultimately finds satisfaction in a new way of living.
House of Mirrors opens with “Battle of Dust,” Spaniol providing the pulse and Sipka the deep synth bass as his keyboards dance on top. Suddenly, the tempo does a double-shift, Spaniol on the polyrhythmic beat, as synths soar above.
“Roses” begins with a dance groove, drums and synth bass again in perfect lockstep. The keyboards mimic guitar chords. Later in the track, lovely piano sounds and synths are dropped over the groove.
Piano and vocals introduce “Lost for Love,” yielding to a choppy beat to match the sentiment of the song. The mood then shifts to a near lament with ethereal vocals before returning to the initial feel.
Electronic drums hit you first in “Above the Sky,” then beautiful electric piano, with a clapping beat and the ever-present bass. The synths flutter before the beat gets that EDM feel. There is such a happy vibe to this one.
Now we get heavy. “House of Mirrors” features Jus Marx, who also wrote the lyrics. His hip hop delivery is offset by beautiful harmony vocals in the chorus.
That segues directly into “House of Mirrors Pt. II,” with lyrics written and performed by the gorgeous voice of Kaisune, and again they are great harmony vocals in the chorus. Synths sparkle along with the vocals. The percussion backing the track in addition to the drums gives the song even greater depth.
“Ecstasis” pulses with bass and percussion and an outer-space feel, a setup for some deep vocalese and more fabulous synth work, then more beautiful vocals and gorgeous piano work.
The “Reflection” that began with “Ecstasis” comes full circle with the last track. The relentless beat once again highlights all of the talents of this duo on this wonderful dance track. Spaniol really shows out here with more fine polyrhythms. And Sipka’s piano work intertwined with synths is gorgeous.
Bells and Robes recently did a four-night run through Florida with Russ Liquid, climaxing with a Sunday night show at Dunedin Brewery May 12. You know how they say NEVER MISS A SUNDAY SHOW?
You can take that to the bank. Sipka and Spaniol absolutely tore the roof off the sucker, by far the best and most powerful set I’ve heard from the duo. They came out swinging and never took their collective foot off the gas. Spaniol confessed: “I was just jamming!” To which we say: “Don’t ever stop!” This was great livetronica, acid jazz, and deep live house, leaning more to the live side, as Sipka danced all over his bank of keyboards and synths.
Our advice: never miss a Bells and Robes show. And treat yourself to House of Mirrors. You can thank me later.