Purple Pilgrims is the experimental dream pop project of Clementine and Valentine Nixon, a pair of sisters who explore the concepts of synthesized nature and ancient futurism in their music.
The Nixons combine their crystalline vocals -- which evoke the ethereal beauty and wisdom of legends like Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins -- with gleaming synths and hazy guitars that sound both futuristic and eternal. On their earliest releases, Purple Pilgrims cloaked their songs in layers of lo-fi distortion. Gradually, they stripped the noise away on 2017's Eternal Delight and 2019's Perfumed Earth, both of which allowed their distinctive mix of folk inspirations and synthetic sounds to become as transporting as possible.
Clementine and Valentine Nixon were raised in Hong Kong and New Zealand's South Island by a family whose musical roots run deep: their great-grandfather, Davie Stewart, was recorded by Alan Lomax. In 2011, the Nixon sisters returned to China after the Christchurch earthquake and began making music. Once the duo moved back to New Zealand, they began playing shows in galleries and other Christchurch venues; their self-titled debut single of ethereal, fuzzed-out folk arrived that year on PseudoArcana. Purple Pilgrims then toured with artists including Ariel Pink and Gary War, with whom they shared a split album released by Upset the Rhythm in 2013.
After signing to Not Not Fun, the sisters returned to New Zealand to make their first full-length. Recorded in a shed on the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2016's Eternal Delight marked a more streamlined, cleanly recorded version of Purple Pilgrims' otherworldly sound. The following year, the duo issued the single "Drink the Juice," which featured percussion by LA Vampires and Sun Araw's Nick Malkin and mixing courtesy of Jorge Elbrecht. For their second album, Purple Pilgrims returned to the space where they recorded Eternal Delight and also collaborated with Gary War, saxophonist Jeff Henderson and guitarist Roy Montgomery. The results were the crystal-clear meditations of Perfumed Earth, which arrived on the veteran New Zealand indie label Flying Nun in August 2019. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi