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Nite Jewel, in real life visual/installation artist Ramona Gonzalez, makes dream-blurred, disco-folk music. It's a kind of lo-fi dance soundtrack for whacked out teenage girl poets who boogie slowly, by themselves and mostly inside their own heads. On glacially-paced reveries like "Artificial Intelligence" and "Lover," her eerie, reverb-fogged soprano drifts above clean drum machine and synth, an alternative universe's diva reverie slowed to codeine speed. Gonzalez has worked with psych-pop innovator Ariel Pink, and her sound resembles his on the surface (that surface being glossy, glistening reverb that your ears slide over like wet glass). Yet while Ariel Pink applies his funhouse mirror tricks to 1960s psych and soul, Nite Jewel seeks a bedroom pop approximation of new wave disco.

Her "Suburbia" (not a Pet Shop Boys cover, by the way) floats along on icy snare shots and burbling, organic masses of synth bass, a sort of tranced-out karaoke over early-1980s dance music. "What Did He Say" has the boom-tsaaaap cymbal slither of classic disco, the plastic chill of funk-zonked synthesizer, but also a lonely home-recorded vibe.  If you take Donna Summer at her most surreal ("I Feel Love," for instance) or Earth Wind and Fire at their most phantasmagorical, slow them down by half and blur everything over with a waxy smudge, it might sound a bit like Nite Jewel.

Of course, Nite Jewel lacks the bags-of-cash production that old-style disco stars had. Her songs, composed and recorded and layered on primitive 8-track, sound like a blurry memory of the early 1980s, the beat reliable enough, but the melodies running like colors in fantastic rainbow streams.  It's an infinitely personal, infinitely eccentric take on electro-pop, an inward looking dance music for the sad girls who never get asked. 
• Jennifer Kelly

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