The Glitch Mob pieces together the beat-driven ‘Love Death Immortality’ at the Fillmore


Don’t mess with, from left, Josh Mayer, Justin Boreta and Ed Ma, known collectively as The Glitch Mob. (Neil Krug)

It took two years for The Glitch Mob to record and mix its new album, “Love Death Immortality,” and just two weeks to take it all apart.

“We had to deconstruct our entire record,” says Glitch Mob member Justin Boreta.

Boreta and his two bandmates isolated every bleep and bloop, bass drop and keyboard riff from the album and then mapped them onto custom “instruments” for live performances (such as Saturday’s show at the Fillmore). For instance, a touchpad screen that’s tilted toward the audience might let Ed Ma (aka edIT) tap out a distorted guitar riff while bandmate Josh Mayer (aka Ooah) turns a knob to intensify a whirling helicopter noise. (When recording the album, Ma played an actual guitar.)

“We want to perform with the energy and drama of a live band even though we have no live instruments,” Boreta says.

While The Glitch Mob’s first album, 2010’s “Drink the Sea,” was meditative and introverted, “Love Death Immortality” aims to get crowds moving, Boreta says. That means lots of big bass drops, anthemic keyboard lines and danceable beats.

“We focused on those tempos that can move big crowds of people, and also see how we can use those electronic dance music tempos to tell a story,” Boreta says.

That story is abstract, as The Glitch Mob uses lyrics sparingly, but the soundscape suggests a bleak yet sexy dystopia along the lines of the 1982 film “Blade Runner.” In one song, “I Need My Memory Back,” gritty vocals by Aja Volkman (of Nico Vega) further enhance the effect.

“We started out singing that part ourselves, with a vocoder,” Mayer says, “but ended up taking it out because Aja really encapsulated the vibe of the song better than our vocoder vocals did.”

Volkman couldn’t make this tour, but the band does have another ersatz band member on the road with it called “the blade.” The Glitch Mob is cagey on the details.

“It’s basically a physical representation of the music,” Boreta says. “It’s a thing that lives and breathes.”

Mayer clarifies: “You know how Deadmau5 has a cube and Daft Punk has a pyramid? Well, Glitch Mob has a blade.”

DIY to the Extreme

The Glitch Mob’s members record, engineer and mix their own songs; release them on their own label (Glass Air Records); and, until recently, acted as their own roadies. That’s why, member Josh Mayer says, it took two years to create the album “Love Death Immortality.” “It’s just the three of us, and we are all detail-oriented, so it takes a while,” Mayer says.

Fillmore, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring; Sat., 8 p.m., $20; 301-960-9999. (Silver Spring)

Sadie Dingfelder is a features writer for the Washington Post Express.
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