Music

Diatom Deli paints soundscapes

Fascination with sonic intrigue drives Delisa Neblett

By Ariana Kramer
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 10/10/18

Diatoms are microscopic, one-celled organisms with a cell wall of silicon. They live in oceans, freshwater and soils. Diatoms may not seem to have much to do with music, but these tiny creatures are …

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Music

Diatom Deli paints soundscapes

Fascination with sonic intrigue drives Delisa Neblett

Posted

Diatoms are microscopic, one-celled organisms with a cell wall of silicon. They live in oceans, freshwater and soils. Diatoms may not seem to have much to do with music, but these tiny creatures are the inspiration for Diatom Deli, the stage name of Nashville-based Delisa Neblett. A classical guitarist and vocalist, Neblett uses layered harmonies, synthesizers and samplers to create what she calls "soundscapes."

Diatom Deli is coming to Taos to perform live at Parse Seco today (Oct. 11). The show starts at 7 p.m. and is free, though donations are appreciated.

"I have this fascination and intrigue with soundscapes, this landscape of sound that's pretty minimal," Neblett told me.

At 16, Neblett started performing at open mics. She is now 31 years old. Neblett said she tries to convey vulnerability in her performance.

"It's a theme I can't really escape," Neblett said. "As long as I've been playing, I have this need to feel vulnerable with my music. Although it is a pretty personal experience, it translates into the connection of human consciousness."

Diatom Deli has produced two albums. The second, titled "TQM," has just been released. Neblett explained to me that the title stands for "Te Quiero Mucho."

"It literally translates to 'I want you, I need you,' but the feeling is very endearing, like writing a letter and writing ILY (for I love you). The title track is a song I wrote for my mom," said Neblett. She said she speaks conversational Spanish and is half Puerto Rican in ancestry.

Neblett said her most recent album is "more experimental and spacey," than her first album. She said she started recording it to take a break from a third album she is working on that has yet to be released.

"I said, 'I don't want to feel stuck anymore, so what if I make a more loose, more fun, experimental album to help me figure out what I want to do with this more personal one?' "

Neblett recorded and engineered the album herself, and her husband mixed and mastered it. "I had a lot of fun making it," she said.

In addition to producing soundscapes during her life show, Neblett's husband, Marcus, who is a projectionist, creates a colorful visual show using state-of-the-art 3D projection mapping.

Interestingly, Marcus studied construction at the Earthship Academy, and he is the reason behind Neblett's Taos show. For this tour, Diatom Deli will also travel to California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Missouri.

Neblett writes all of her own material. She said the way she writes lyrics has more to do with intuition and melodic structure than rational sense. She often writes the words to her songs after she has composed the music, so the lyrics are used to amplify the sounds, and not the other way around.

Reflecting on her use of her voice, Neblett said she sees her voice as a nonverbal instrument. "I really have a lot of fun with my voice and playing with it," she said.

Parse Seco is located at 487 State Road 150 in downtown Arroyo Seco. For more information, call (312) 593-3948.

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