Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band – aka Yves Jarvis and Romy Lightman – are a pair of idiosyncratic and restlessly creative artists. In the past decade, Jarvis’s ever-expanding discography on ANTI- Records and Flemish Eye have earned international acclaim, while Lightman’s twin-sister-led band Tasseomancy has transfixed listeners since the late 2000s. Their debut album Banned – coming out on June 25 – marks the duo’s first collaboration, slingshotting both musicians out of their comfort zones into spellbinding territories of lysergic folk and impressionistic rock.
On the quasi-title-track, “Elastic Band”, Jarvis and Lightman sound completely at ease as their voices harmonize in a rustling thicket of instrumentation.
Banned was recorded in the tranquil environment of the Tree Museum, an outdoor art gallery in rural Ontario hosting residencies for contemporary sculptors over the past 20 years. The pair credit its 200 acres of natural spaces intermingling with human-made creations as the fuel for their unfettered process. Recorded over two weeks in a free-flowing stream of improvisation, the album finds Lightman on synthesizer with Jarvis on drums and guitar, as their voices weave together into an electrified pastoral tapestry.
Beyond leaving the city behind to live alone in the woods, the album title Banned also highlights an element of risk. Like the late ’60s counterculture musical Hair, the duo rejects notions of repression with unspoken celebrations of naturalism, openness, and sexual liberation. These 15 songs offer an ephemeral intimacy and invitation to express free love that can only occur when artists welcome listeners into their private world.
“There are archetypes associated with love and togetherness,” says Lightman. “Then there’s a deeper way of being that sometimes isn’t documented. Our Ecstatic Band genuinely expresses that. It’s not only about a genre resonating and what came about musically – it’s about our love in collaboration with wind, trillium, plague days, moss, and Precambrian rock.”
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.