Soon to Be Innocent Fun: Shannon F. (Light Asylum) DJ, ERAAS


On its acclaimed self-titled debut, Light Asylum takes the synth-pop sound of '80s groups like Depeche Mode and develops it into something new. It's not an easy feat, considering how often that sound has been copied and mimicked, especially over the past decade during brief fads like the electroclash trend.
The difference is Shannon Funchess. A fierce vocalist, she shouts and bellows with stentorian intensity, making Light Asylum seem thrillingly dangerous
Originally raised in Seattle, Funchess moved to Brooklyn in 2001 and spent the next decade contributing vocals to a variety of bands, including TV on the Radio, !!!, Telepathe and Teengirl Fantasy. Light Asylum began in 2007 as a solo project, with Funchess collaborating with other musicians.
Light Asylum solidified when Funchess met multi-instrumentalist and producer Bruno Coviello, while the two toured in support of another Brooklyn artist, Bunny Rabbit. "We realized we had similar interests and influences in our taste in music," she says before rattling off a list of industrial and darkwave bands they like, including Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire, Ministry and Clan of Xymox - as well as house music producers like Frankie Knuckles and Green Velvet. "I found someone I could actually write with," she says.

Light Asylum's debut was released in April. The lead track, "Hour Fortress," is dedicated to Billie Holiday and other black musicians in the early 20th century who were resigned to being "artists in a racist country." Its most explicitly political track is "IPC," which stands for industrial prison complex; more subtly, there's "At Will," which is a call to "kill our ego" and stop asserting our alpha dominance over others.

From 1999-2011, Robert Toher led the atmospheric post-rock band Apse, but by 2010, he was growing frustrated with that group’s direction and organization. He started working on a separate project, ERAAS, with Apse guitarist Austin Stawiarz – Toher is drawn to the word “eras,” he says (it had also been the title of a limited-edition Apse album). Toher and Stawiarz holed up in an old house in Northampton, Massachusetts, and gradually refined their new sound: dark, repetitive, richly-textured grooves, incorporating dissonant found sounds and unnerving reverberations. Before long, ERAAS became the duo’s main musical outlet.

After relocating to Brooklyn, they completed their self-titled debut album in 2011, although it’s taken more than a year to see the light of day. It’s a splendidly unnerving recording, moving from eerie chamber music (“Black House”) to spidery rock songs (“Ghost”) to a pair of spectral dance-rock tracks, “At Heart” and “Briar Path,” that come off like a blurrier, weirder version of the kind of skeletal funk ESG was playing in the early ’80s. Toher’s echoing high tenor appears here and there on ERAAS, although it’s often hard to tell exactly what he’s singing – “voice as instrument is important to me,” he says. The only attempt to transcribe his lyrics that’s appeared thus far is so riddled with gaps and guesses that it looks like translated fragments of lost literature, which seems appropriate.

Ritual Howls

Paul Bancell, Ben Saginaw, and Chris Samuels are RITUAL HOWLS. They are meat machines making noise and sights. Noise with an ebb tide of melody. They collect samples of collisions, scrapings on concrete, pounding metal & oak. Chris Samuels, formerly of DI_SECT, time stretches the samples and sequences them along with the beats. Ben Saginaw, painter of nineteenth century criminals, collector of wandering lines, gives the low end it's grip. Paul Bancell. Words and music. Feral. Leaves claw marks on your soul.



Tickets Available at the Door

Upcoming Events
Glasslands Gallery

  • Sorry, there are currently no upcoming events.