Camp Candle’s music arrives on gossamer wings, riding impeccable waves of warm bass and pulsating, nearly industrial drums that beat out rhythms reverberating into the wired, airless Philadelphia streets, the band’s minimal set-up belying the hidden, sun-kissed intensity they possess. Like a lost 4AD basement demo-tape filtered, remixed and deconstructed through original Chicago house music, Detroit techno, and Philly soul, Camp Candle’s got a sound perfectly built on the city’s roaring ambiance of four-wheel dirt bikes, constant jack-hammering from construction, and the melange of both emergency sirens and Public Enemy oscillating from passing vehicles. It’s a trip; the band-- wildly imaginative and irreverently reverent producer, programmer, and synth player Mark Cave aka Nu Ra and visionary lyricist and vocalist Briana Hetepsa Mills-Walker, the two longtime, cosmically bonded friends and collaborators-- don’t just perform, they float across stages with a delicate magic on their minds, a magic they use as talisman, as ritual, as praxis.
And yeah, they seem to leapfrog struggle to get to bliss, but it’s earned. That clarity you hear in the sound isn’t gloss; that shimmer isn’t just vast coronas sparking off chrome; those atmospherics aren’t just airy undercurrents-- no, playing music simultaneously above and the below the chillwave, Camp Candle’s music is palpable, a blissful weight, a cocoon of Cave’s warm synths and samplers and Hetepsa’s blog-defying, breathy vocals and earth-bound Starchild poetry about desperation, substance abuse, and the elusiveness of contentment, of the ritual of a life, lived.
Camp Candle is a dreamy revolution unfolding without compromise, a band somehow free to dance, somehow both unapologetically ethereal and entirely empowered. - Alex Smith