At long last, local retro-pop outfit Delicious Pastries releases its sophomore record, Aleatoric Delay | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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At long last, local retro-pop outfit Delicious Pastries releases its sophomore record, Aleatoric Delay

“Once you have this giant sonic mountain and you just start chipping away, the song begins to reveal itself.”

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“Aleatoric music” is a term given to compositions that incorporate found or “accidental” sounds and the element of chance, according to Jesse Ley. The drummer of Delicious Pastries goes on to explain that his band chose to call its sophomore release Aleatoric Delay because the words have “poetic elegance” to them, but also because it’s grounded in truth. “We started recording this album three or four years ago,” he says. “There’s a delay in the sense that this thing should’ve been out so long ago. And even with the material that is on the record, so much of it is by chance. There are other songs that could’ve been on there that aren’t. There’s stuff that’s on there that was ready to hit the cutting-room floor.”

Guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Chamberlain adds that some happy accidents can happen while recording. “You open a file that you started four years ago and say, ‘What is this effect on it?’ And it might be a delay effect or unintentional reverb or some type of mis-edit. But you take that and turn it into something interesting.”

While the title might give the impression that Delicious Pastries play some strain of avant-garde music, the band’s sound is actually rooted in lush harmonies and hooks patented by the Beach Boys or The Beatles, and filtered through a psychedelic glaze. Rather than trying to imitate any of its musical forebears, the group clearly plays what comes to the members naturally. 

Four years is a long time to produce an album, but working in home studios of bandmates and friends offers a leisurely pace and benefits. “We’ll layer idea after idea after idea, which people will tell you is the worst way to record an album,” Ley says. “But once you have this giant sonic mountain and you just start chipping away, the song begins to reveal itself, and [you realize], ‘Oh yeah,’ you’re making tasteful ideas and changes.” 

Three full-blown songs became short interludes when the members decided they weren’t enchanted with particular songs, but still loved a particular bass line or harmony on its own. In the studio, people switched instruments as the spirit moved them. Two former bassists play on Aleatoric Music while current bassist Vincent Poprocky plays guitar. There are moments when Chamberlain plays drums and Ley moves to keyboards. In the end, it creates a cohesive sound that flows from one track to the next. “You end up getting interesting results and ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise,” Ley says. “It ends up being a convoluted process in a lot of ways, but I feel like the results are, at the very least, interesting.”

Onstage, everyone sticks with his main instrument in a lineup completed by keyboardist Dan Styslinger and guitarists Burr Settles and Stephen Gallo. For the release show, the band promises some further visual accentuations, but don’t expect a Jefferson Airplane homage. “We try to steer clear of the derivative qualities,” Ley says. They don’t approach it thinking, “Weird ’60s bands did these weird things, so we’ll do them too with a modern twist! We’ll just think of fun things to do.”


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