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Nite Jewel rounds out 2012 SpringFest lineup

By Ariel Kay
On April 24, 2012

Student Events and WBRS finally announced the fourth act performing at SpringFest shortly after students returned from Passover and spring recess.

Low-fi singer-songwriter Ramona Gonzalez, a.k.a Nite Jewel, a Los Angeles-based artist who released her first album, Good Evening, in 2008, will be joining headliner Childish Gambino and openers fun. and Phantogram at the concert on April 29.

Nite Jewel's sound can be described as hypnotic dance and electronica. The artist writes and sings her own music and also plays the keyboard.

Although she released her first CD only four years ago, Nite Jewel has managed to put out six additional recordings since then: three EPs, two vinyl singles and a second album, One Second of Love, which featured her most popular single, "She's Always Watching You."

Nite Jewel's sound is difficult to pin down, in part because she seems to jump between genres depending on her mood. The music review site Pitchfork described her music as, "molten and surreal, conjuring Dali paintings with drum machines and keyboards melting in place of clocks." Her voice sounds as though Zooey Deschanel covered the electronica pioneers Eurythmics.

Some of her songs bring up images of too-cool music clubs, while others inspire comparisons to female folk-rock singers like a mumbling Stevie Nicks. This plethora of styles could be viewed as a positive for listeners interested in hearing a multidimensional performer. However, it could also be viewed as a lack of artistic substance.

In addition to creating music, Nite Jewel, who majored in philosophy at Occidental College, has created numerous multimedia art pieces that mix electronic sound design with film footage.

These projects mimic her musical creations in that both use outdated technology and simple recording devices to layer various elements-vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, drum machines-to create ethereal pieces of art.

Nite Jewel rounds out SpringFest's eclectic lineup, which already includes a hip-hop star, a rock band and an electronica duo. This year's concert will certainly have something for everyone. Her bass-driven music, perfect for dancing in the sun, may not have the most profound lyrics, but it will fit nicely with the sounds of the other three SpringFest performers.

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