Life on Planets: "So Much Modern Dance Music Lacks Poetry"

Like fellow boogie meisters PillowTalk and Nick Monaco in the Crew Love collective, Life on Planets is bringing a fresh if retro approach to dance music, self-described as "dawning a long-awaited return to authentic songwriting" in the genre.

"So much of vocal songwriting in modern dance music lacks poetry," the pair tells New Times. "We are inspired by things like books, prose, and paradox."

"We believe in faith that the world is a mysteriously beautiful place," they add, waxing poetic. Comprised of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Phill and DJ-producer Patrick (last names purposefully withheld from the media to lend an air of mystery), the Baltimore-based duo is hardly interested in cookie-cutter DJ tools. A far cry from today's "deep house by numbers," their sound fuses disparate elements of rare groove, jazz-funk, and art rock, with a nod or two to Prince and the Minneapolis touch.

On their improvisational jamming approach in the studio, they explain: "It might begin with guitar, or a bassline, even percussion. We try to change it up regularly. There's always a surplus of beats and lyrics coming from either side." "Having spent so much time together, our ideas and experiences have begun to merge," they add. "It's sometimes hard to tell where a conceptual meandering began or ended. We try to do music that has meaning for us at the time."

The pair recently announced the June release of Curious Palace, their debut long player on Wolf + Lamb's label. But in idiosyncratically poetic fashion, they aren't giving away too many concrete details about the album.

"We wanted to capture the essence of the lives we have found ourselves living — the time here in this generation, reading the cards we were dealt," they offer, by way of describing their artistic intentions on Curious Palace. "Something inspired by the Beat generation of the 1960s perhaps, [but] maybe this time a little more sober." In other words, you'll have to let the music speak for itself when Life on Planets does it live at Bardot tonight. Along with a preview of material from the new album, they promise plenty of unreleased and even brand-new goodies.

"For almost every show, we write a couple new songs right before," they say. "We never perform the same set twice, as there's no setlist. There'll be new versions and improv. Sometimes Phill becomes possessed up there. He took his shirt off in New York and they had to shut down the bar."

Life on Planets. With Ms. Mada and Will Buck. Presented by Link Miami Rebels. 10 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-7750; Tickets cost $10 via Ages 21 and up.
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Sean Levisman