Mutual Benefit: “Advanced Falconry”

You’ve probably at least heard of Boston-based singer/songwriter Jordan Lee’s album Love’s Crushing Diamond under the bandonym Mutual Benefit. Originally released on cassette, and then Bandcamp, the album picked up enough steam to get “Best New Music” on Pitchfork and a wider release on Other Music Recording Co. And a listen to the album makes it abundantly clear why it’s earned so much praise. Lee’s delicate melodies and lush chamber-pop arrangements are refreshing and expertly crafted. Inspired by a “soul-searching journey” from Austin to Brooklyn, Lee’s songs are intimate and haunting, abstract but relatable. Perhaps the strongest track is “Advanced Falconry,” which sounds like one hell of a cool college class to take. It’s actually a tender and heartfelt song whose lo-fi wash of strings, banjo, and handclaps pulls you in and makes you wish you can live forever inside the song’s warm texture. The video, however, takes a different angle. Produced by Brooklyn video collective BANGS, the video shows a family preparing to take a photo outside on an autumn day in super slow motion. Lee comments:

“What I loved about this concept was that it stretches out this 15-second moment, documenting all the nuances in what was happening between these people. When everyone is pretending to be happy, you actually make the worst faces, and the slo-mo captures that. It becomes this really good metaphor to depict the space between realness and artificiality.”

You can get Love’s Crushing Diamond through Other Music Recording Co. on CD or digital download right now, or pre-order the album on vinyl for release early next year.

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