It comes a surprise that Fusilier is only getting his feet wet as a solo artist. After a stint as bassist in Boston’s rock group RIBS, Blake Fusilier is now in Brooklyn making pop music with deep, intense beats and soulful vocals that’s stunningly fearless. As interested in exploring power dynamics as in giving people something to dance to, he devoted the first single from his debut EP to handing the mic over to marginalized people like himself. He’d long felt discouraged by his status as both a gay man and a black man, and “The Moment” was written in a vital act of self-embrace. It’s about Fusilier’s process of finding himself as an artist and as a person—or, he says, “at least finding a point where we can all just let go and dance for 3 1/2 minutes without being too embarrassed.”
Electronic savant Perera Elsewhere is an ideal match for Fusilier, given her own brand of fearlessness. In her own work, Sasha Perera works to combine acoustics and electronics, inaugurating what she’s termed “doom-folk.” Her remix of Fusilier’s pop song, released via The Bomber Jacket, pulls the rhythm of the backing vocals to the fore and gives them life on the same plane as dense percussion and a constant dance of twirling synthesizers. Fusilier’s voice becomes a percussion object, while still retaining its familiarity as a voice—she shifts its pitch and brings it into harmony with itself.
Perera notes that it was the timbre of these vocals especially that made her want to remix the song:
Nice to work with vocals that are so different than my own. I ended up making music that sounds so much happier than the music I usually make! Had lots of fun making it. It was fun to get out of my zone and create another world for Blake’s vocals.
Still, it would seem Perera heard some hint of doom at work in Fusilier’s anthem of positivity. Though it may sound happier than her usual, her remix retains a darker hue than the original. The transition midway through the track is jarring, Fusilier’s voice slowing to a cold metallic drawl until the bass drops and the pulse resumes.
Fusilier’s debut EP is forthcoming this spring on Brassland.