Shares Second Single & Video for
“Rocks on the Ramp”
New album, Essential Aliens
out 25th June on Joyful Noise Recordings
Helvetia is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, Jason Albertini, one third of San Jose’s Duster and bassist for Built to Spill from 2012 to 2018. His new album, Essential Aliens will be released 25th June on Joyful Noise Recordings. Pre-order the album HERE
Since the band’s inception, Jason has continued to employ a rotating cast of band members and collaborators, which now includes Steve Gere and Samantha Stidham. Steve and Jason played together in Built To Spill.
Today, Jason shares the second single, “Rocks on the Ramps” from his upcoming album, saying, “I’ve been kind of a head case this last year. Like most people probably. With the isolation and monotony of being at home all the time. A helpless dread. I tried to capture this feeling of going a bit mad, literally and figuratively. I’m dressed up as a ghost because that’s how I felt.”
Helvetia is here to move you, to take you away from the every day and for 4 minutes 27 “Rocks on the Ramp” will elevate the audience as they embrace every emotion resonating from this ensemble. A softer arrangement from Helvetia, this dreamy soundscape provides this cutting guitar tone and consuming riff, the delicate drum shuffles assist with the creative ambiance. There’s a real nostalgic essence emitting from this release and the vocal tones whilst the track allows this playful time to bring in some experimentation from the effects that add deeper complexities. The rhythmic passages cascade throughout and bring their own atmospherical attachement.
When in 2019, Duster started playing shows and recording again, Jason began writing what would become, Helvetia’s ninth album, This Devastating Map (released August 2020). Post-Trash called it “a constantly shifting project that takes experimental lo-fi into brilliantly colored psych directions with a concise glow.” Then the pandemic took hold. With normal life at a standstill and unable to hang with his bandmates, Jason focused his energy on his daughter’s home-schooling schedule, and recording. He focused on finishing one song a day and was soon honing in on a new album. The songs on Essential Aliens were recorded in Jason’s basement during this time.
Essential Aliens takes all the elements of the Helvetia sound and simplifies them. Basic progressions morph with stoner repetition, drums distort and muted bass lines prop up acoustic guitars, that were recorded blown out on a cassette four-track. Cheap electric guitars are barely kept in tune and are recorded direct, almost painfully in your face. The character of the recordings are informed with warm fuzz and intimate room sounds. The songs are short blasts of psychedelic chill, unrooted by genre, a rummage around an alien radio dial.
The visual elements come from a recurring dream in which Jason’s life is turned upside down by a series of unexplainable events that turn out to be orchestrated by a ghost. He wakes up convinced that he is a ghost as well. The protagonist in the videos spends his time plotting his way back to the living. The ghost’s disguise was inspired by a photograph of children dressed in Great Depression-era Halloween costumes.
Last month, Helvetia shared the first single, “New Mess”.
Helvetia resides in Portland, Oregon but was formed in Seattle in 2005 after Duster first went on hiatus.