Week in Pop: ETA, Mommy Long Legs, Natural Velvet

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Under the palms with ETA & tomemitsu; press photo courtesy of Tony Manis.

In the celebratory spirit coinciding with LA’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Showcase spanning through May 31—local stars ETA & tomemitsu present the world premiere for their collaborative video of “Old Age/Perpetual Babes” that splices inutero imaging with sights from the oceanic deep & olympic pool sports. As ETA readies the Past Hype EP for release May 28 (with word that Heaven’s the Ceiling is coming soon) & tomemitsu’s Had A Dream EP (with Alexei Shishkin) available now from Forged Artifacts now with word that The Cave EP available in early summer—the duo continue to compliment one another’s visions, approaches & styles to tailor a sound that reverberates with a whole lot of feeling & deep meditative reflections.
“Old Age/Perpetual Babes” begins with ultra-sound visuals with ETA’s sparse vocals sung amid a wind-flapping backdrop of field recorded sound. After ETA’s opening lyrics of “Before long, I will see you in the morning light, I respite into old age, time’s taken its turn on me, before long…” cue the moody arrangements & guitar tones from tomemitsu that exhibits those desires for something beyond the young/elderly, life/death continuum & paradigms that consume the beginnings & unceremonious ends to our finite concept of existence. Visuals of life in the womb are mixed with sights of synchronized swimmers, beach scenes & battleships, schools of fish exploring the seemingly infinite dimensions of the expansive sea. The lyrics take on the events & inward thoughts that feel like entire lifetimes to themselves as ETA illustrates the perpetual flux of changes that make up our present, past & future notions of the self. This is heard in the yin & yang of passages like, “I know you scared of heights, I know you wanna fly, but you gotta climb, it’s a life and it’s alright, we’re gonna die & it’s alright…” Every moment & instance of ETA & tomemitsu’s “Old Age/Perpetual Babes” is this polar conflict between the compass points of being born to the obsessive & all-too human thoughts of death where our instincts inspire & drive us to break through to some sort of celestial dimension to better understand constructs of both the limited & unlimited (all at the same time).

Both ETA & Tomemitsu provided us with the following introductory words on their collaboration & more:


This song’s best listened to when driving with all the windows down during magic hour, nostalgic but contemplating your future. Or, in bed, falling asleep. It’s kinda like the ancenstral memory we carry with us faintly that competes with the growing pains of our present self—in that way, life and lifetimes are an ironically dualistic, humorous experience. It’s like a constant struggle between deja vu and dumb mistakes, longing and fulfillment. We experience both at the same time, and cyclically. To me, even moments or little phases we go through can be considered a lifetime. There’s death and rebirth there—so the title alludes to that in its own cheeky way.
I had this dream where I was hanging with tomemitsu in the green room after one of his shows and he showed me the latest bounce of a song we had been working on. It was this swirling, minimalist slow jam that sounded like Arthur Russell. I woke up the next day and texted him. It doesn’t really sound anything like the song from that dream, but that’s how this jam came to be—and we pieced it together slowly over time.


Working with ETA my mind gravitates towards cinematic sounds to match the mood of his vocals. For me, the motivation for the music on this track was about harnessing darkness and creating something that had glimmers of hope and resurgent power. We talked about how the idea came to him in a dream, so I tried to imagine what music would sound like if he were this wanderer in a movie living within the dreams of another character. I wanted to imbue an atmosphere that felt like a memory swirling away and getting lost in the rain while searching for something he can’t seem to attain.

Tomemitsu & Alexei Shishkin’s Had a Dream is available now from Forged Artifacts.
ETA’s Past Hype EP will be available May 28.