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Welcome to Pass the Aux, where KQED Arts & Culture brings you our favorite new tracks by Bay Area artists. Check out past entries and submit a song for future coverage.
The pandemic untethered many people from their routines and inspired them to adventure outdoors. San Francisco musician Lilly Blakeslee traversed secluded nature spots where she developed a newfound relationship with music alongside her bandmate and guitarist, Sam Jones. Their folk music project, Lillipond, was organically born out of the artists’ need to escape and create.
Blakeslee grew up playing classical violin but grew disenchanted with its rigidity. So, as the quarantine continued, she and Jones improvised new and classic folk songs in their rooms and outside. “Everything at that time felt very unknown, so we turned to music and art as an escapism,” says Blakeslee. “Those first two weeks were very creatively fruitful.”
Lillipond’s debut EP Enter the Green Beyond is ripe with escapist undertones. The intro track, “When the rain comes down,” features Blakeslee’s voice harmonizing into a shy choir. A slow, slapping folk percussion builds to an up-tempo enchantment of psychedelic strings and wind-swept cymbals.
Throughout the EP, there’s a quiet yet urgent longing to find solace in nature. “I wanna go where the wind goes. I wanna go where the flowers grow,” Blakeslee croons in “Where the flowers grow,” conjuring images of the singer running through a meadow.
“Stuck Inside” is an optimistic indie dance ballad where Blakeslee repeats “I wanna go outside with you” amidst waxing, psychedelic synths. “Its playful simplicity is a tongue-in-cheek contrast to the darkness looming at the time,” she explains. “Though it is also a genuine expression of the creative burst we were feeling, and our attempt to write a more lighthearted pop song.”
The collaboration took Blakeslee and Jones to Prague in the summer of 2021, where they met a community of artists under the label Sing Sing Soundsystem who helped them master and release the Enter the Green Beyond EP.
“Sing Sing Soundsystem is a collective that highlights young artists, and we feel honored to be included amongst such talented folks,” Blakeslee says. “It all happened very spontaneously, which felt true to the way the songs were created.”