The cover art for Young Ejecta’s forthcoming mini-album The Planet is gripping: a woman partly submerged in a filmy swath of water, pivoting forward with her arms outstretched. She’s staring out, her mouth agape as the waves rise behind her. Frozen still in this dynamic pose, her gaze is shocked and yet potent. It’s enough to freeze anyone in their tracks. And she’s entirely nude.
The woman with the startled and startling gaze is Leanne Macomber, who alongside Joel Ford forms half of synthpop duo Young Ejecta. Macomber also plays in Neon Indian and the cult dream pop group Fight Bite. Ford also plays in Ford & Lopatin and is a producer for Oneohtrix Point Never and Autre Ne Veut. The two formed the project back in 2012. Their first full-length as Ejecta, 2013’s Dominae on Driftless Recordings, combines Ford’s vast electronic palette and Macomber’s smooth, icy vocals for a sound that falls somewhere amid Kate Bush’s desperate bombast and the gossamer balladry of Cocteau Twins.
The videos that accompany Dominae possess the same quality of artistry and orchestration that can be heard in the music. For “Silver”, it’s a moving pastel portrait of a nude Macomber wandering through spring gardens before draping herself in a man’s suit and traipsing out into the world. The video for “Eleanor Lye” is haunting, with Macomber emerging from a deathlike sleep on a cold bed of ice or glass that’s surrounded on all sides by black. The camera pans over her nude body, returning to her facial expressions as she watches herself move her hands, limbs, and jaw in contorted, jolting motions alongside the gradual bloom of the music. Both videos are billed as NSFW, as is most of the promotional photography, most of which are studio shots featuring Macomber’s nude figure as a bright contrast to the surrounding shadows.
I meet Macomber at Chelsea Market in Manhattan. The duo had recorded their first EP in a studio above the market, but this is Leanne’s first time in the Market itself. As we wander the brightly lit halls still decked out in festive holiday lights, she tells me she just finished a wine-tasting class, which she’s been taking alongside her job bartending and waiting tables at a jazz bar in the West Village. She’s 29 now and trying to figure out what to do with her life. And she’s still not entirely up on her wine-tasting etiquette, she tells me, laughing; she didn’t spit out all of the wine.