LIZ & LAUREN EP
Voted DJ Mag's Underground Hero in 2022, DJ & producer Lauren Flax has been a fixture in Brooklyn's electronic scene for two decades. On her latest project Liz & Lauren EP, she teams up with Liz Wight of shoegaze techno duo Pale Blue, whose sultry vocals explore questions of love and isolation to the tune of Detroit house and acidic techno.Flax and Wight became fast friends in 2021 after being introduced by Pale Blue member & 2MR co-founder Mike Simonetti, who’d enlisted Flax to remix Pale Blue’s 'Breathe.' Naturally, when Flax needed a vocalist for some tracks she was working on shortly after, she knew just who to call. 'I was in my last year of grad school doing an internship in community mental health helping kids cope with the trauma of the pandemic,' Wight says of the time. She channeled this experience as she wrote and recorded the lyrics to Liz & Lauren EP from her home in Los Angeles.As a result, the lyrics on Liz & Lauren EP are open-ended musings on connection, isolation, and convention. Lead single 'Fix Everything' can be read both as an indictment of the trappings of marriage ('will this ring / fix everything') or, on Flax’s view, a rousing call to action, applicable to issues ranging from the degradation of the environment to the attack on LGBTQ+ rights in America. As the EP progresses, Wight’s airy vocals consider the pitfalls of love, from the destructive power of infatuation ('we break hearts / we ruin lives') to the pain of outgrowing a relationship ('I don’t want to hurt you / Even if I'm not in love'). The thematic evolution maps onto the two-year period over which these songs were crafted: 'at first the lyrics I wrote were born from a place of isolation and fear,' Wight muses, 'in comparison to the last song [Return To Love], written…in a vastly different headspace.' Sonically, Liz & Lauren EP feels like a natural progression from Flax’s first release on 2MR, 2021’s Out Of Reality, which saw her exploring a more minimalist production style for the first time in her work. Of her influences, Flax says she was channeling 'sad, horny ‘90s teenage raver,' a callback to her own youth in the electronic music mecca of Detroit. She namechecks Olive’s trance-pop megahit 'You’re Not Alone', the influence of which is evident in the EP’s shimmering synths and Wight’s lush tones. 'I Don’t Want To Hurt You' and 'Fix Everything' pulse with bright, dynamic production, while slow burner 'Return To Love' takes a sparser approach, anchored by a muted drumbeat and a simple, earworm synth refrain. 'I’d Risk It All To Be With You' is a masterful balance of both; it even gets the club treatment on the EP’s closing remix, courtesy of Flax’s friends Mark Archer and Simon Neale (Shadow Child) of MASC. Liz & Lauren EP is an impassioned collection that showcases both Flax and Wight’s artistry in equal measure. For both artists, it’s a testament to stepping outside the norm (DJing for Flax, performing in Pale Blue for Wight) and collaborating with others, the fruits of which are sure to be felt on the dancefloor for years to come.