Please donate to help save PopMatters. We are moving to WordPress in January out of necessity and need your help.

Low Swans Debut Melodic and Richly Layered Electronic Track "No One Was Supposed to Know" (premiere)

Photo: Colin Kicklighter

Chicago electropop duo Low Swans offer a timely song that examines the way in which we relay and disclose information online.

On new single "No One Was Supposed to Know" the Chicago-based electronic indie band Low Swans, made up of duo Jon Scarpelli and Scott Simon, create a sonically intricate and polished electronic track that takes its cues from electronic acts that characterised the '80s like Depeche Mode, OMD, and Dead Can Dance.

Opening with multi-layered percussion, it's noticeably sparser and darker than anything they've done before, with melodies constantly set in competition with each other as Scarpelli's soaring, pop vocals bob and weave through the mix. With all the various elements of the song balanced and in perfect sync they slower gather themselves before crashing into a rolling Violator-era, Depeche Mode-eque beat buoyed by wild, jittery synths.

For all of its multi-layered, fusion of sound, the initial backbone of the song was conceived in a surprisingly basic way.

"'No One Was Supposed to Know' started a few years ago when Google changed their front page to a drum machine to celebrate the ubiquity and longevity of the Roland TR-808 drum machine," explains Jon Scarpelli. "They created an emulation that also allowed the user to export their drum beat. On a lark, I created the basic loop that underlies the whole song through this small app on the front page of Google - an app that was also a kind of a lark for them too."

Lyrically, Scarpelli wanted to explore the contradiction between the manner in which the song came about and the nature of the medium used to create it. "There was something to creating a beat using a tool that millions of people were using simultaneously yet feeling the anonymity of being alone in a room. Most of our interactions through social media are made alone in a physical sense, yet WITH the whole world in a figurative sense. This song is about the seductive nature of having a line of communication to the world but having the physical space around be separated."

With growing fears over addiction, its effect on mental health, and the exacerbation of anxieties over users body image the effect that social media has on its users is coming under greater and greater scrutiny. To that end "No One Was Supposed to Know", feels like a timely song as Low Swans examine the way in which we relay and disclose information online. It's neither optimistic nor pessimistic instead inviting the listener to draw their own conclusions. As Scarpelli summarises:

"The chaos is compelling in a way that develops and changes with every meme and viral video. The lines are being blurred, and it feels like there is no way out... that is if we even wanted to get out."

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





© 1999-2020 PopMatters Media, Inc. All rights reserved. PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.

Collapse Expand Features

Collapse Expand Reviews

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.