Night’s Bright Colors’ first cries of life came about in typically schizophrenic fashion—a pair of EPs in 2002, one recorded in a studio with a full band, and another collection of quieter songs recorded at home on 4-track. The project was founded, led and sometimes staffed as the only member by Jason Smith, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Asheville, NC who grew up enjoying the usual suspects but quickly created his own unique vibe: sensitive and sharp, quieter than most, capable of deeply melodic incisions and excisions to our etherized collective unconscious.

From 2003-2012, the band’s main creative focus delved deep into convalescence, and was spent writing and refining songs for an extensive concept series of four albums that depicted the passing of a single night in a hospital. The series, called “Progression of Night,” starts with Love In The Asylum—the title taken from a poem of the same name by longtime melancholic and insomniac Dylan Thomas—and is followed by First Set Fire To The StarsLate Night By Lamplight, and concludes with Late Bloomer.

The quartet features traditional song structures alongside more somnambulant and experimental elements and a varied palette of instrumentation courtesy of the countless musical guests that have contributed throughout the series. Originally modeled on the classical symphony form, with themes and textures reprised and referenced throughout the four albums, the series is a vast exploration into the nature of redemption, the lyrics using wordplay and shifting perspectives to depict a fictitious protagonist’s struggles with memories, loss, dreams/hallucinations, and the trauma of experience, both real and imagined.

Called an “epic-length recording of dreamy music” (Indie-Music.com), the quartet was a regular feature on various southern radio stations (particularly WNCW, WPVM, WUAG), and the albums received an enthusiastic critical reception. Love In The Asylum was reissued by RCat Records in 2010, and Patient Notes, a collection of B-sides from the series that ultimately didn’t fit for one reason or another, was released as a coda that same year.

Smith continued the quasi-experimental approach with Absinthe Twilight, a one-off ambient-folk record that incorporated new textures such as tape manipulation and loops, found sounds and field recordings into minimalist acoustic arrangements.

Early Light and Fin And Pier, the two most recent albums, return to a more traditional pop direction, albeit with Smith’s typical eccentricities and brain-burrowing melodies featured in every track.

Never one to let his experimental side lay dormant, Smith’s involvement in writing music for feature films led to Isolation Studies, an ambient, instrumental side project. To date, Isolation Studies has released 4 instrumental tone poems, each a typically obsessive concept-study focusing on texture, tone, and atmosphere.

 -Polly Schattel, New Southern Films

Jason also performs the occasional magic trick.

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