Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Nite Jewel is the alias of Los Angeles musician and multimedia artist Ramona Gonzalez, whose lo-fi, synth-based compositions draw inspiration from dance music -- primarily 1980s freestyle and electronic disco and early-'90s R&B -- filtered through the arty haziness of shoegaze and an experimental D.I.Y. approach to recording. Born in Oakland and raised in Berkeley by politically progressive and musically inclined parents, Gonzalez briefly attended school in New York City before jumping coasts back to Los Angeles, where she studied philosophy at Occidental College. She remained involved in music throughout, playing in a series of rock bands with her husband, Cole M. Grief-Neill (later a member of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti), creating ambient synth pieces for sound-based installation art, and eventually initiating her self-contained musical project under the Nite Jewel moniker. With ties to both New York's electronic neo-disco imprint Italians Do It Better (she released her first 12" through the label and has toured with flagship act Glass Candy) and L.A.'s visionary art and music organization Human Ear (a collective that includes many of her friends and collaborators), her music reflects and integrates the often disparate aesthetics of both of these camps. However, despite production help and occasional co-writing assistance from Grief-Neill and live reinforcement from Emily Jane, Gonzalez's working methods are essentially autonomous: like her icon and associate Ariel Pink, she records exclusively on a portable eight-track cassette recorder, building up her songs with layers of analog synths and drum machines before adding her melodically ethereal vocals. After a self-released six-song CD-R titled My CD, which caught the ear of New York's tastemaking Other Records, and the What Did He Say 12" in 2008, Nite Jewel issued the full-length Good Evening through Human Ear Music.
In 2009, Nite Jewel's profile grew among the indie rock community with the release of the Want You Back 12" on Italians Do It Better, a self-released CD of demos called You F O, and two 7" singles. In 2010, she collaborated with Dâm-Funk on a single for Stones Throw and released a late summer EP, Am I Real?, on Gloriette. 2011 saw Gonzalez busy with scant releases and more collaborations. Various 7"s and the It Goes Through Your Head EP on Mexican Summer added to the discography, along with collaborations with sound artists Julia Holter and Jason Grier. Following this slew of tracks on various labels, Nite Jewel inked a deal with Secretly Canadian and began work on her least murky set of recordings to date. The highly polished full-length One Second of Love arrived in March of 2012.