Lucrecia Dalt – Commotus – CD
HEMK0023 / HEM19
- Do I Dare Disturb Your Dreams
- Waste Of Shame
- Jason Grier - Batholith by Lucrecia Dalt Remix
- XHGC - Esplendor by Lucrecia Dalt Remix
- Los Amparito - Waste of Shame by Lucrecia Dalt Remix
- Woebot - Esplendor by Lucrecia Dalt Remix
- papercutz - Escopolamina by Lucrecia Dalt Remix
- Gudrun Gut - Saltacio n by Lucrecia Dalt Remix
- Ekkehard Ehlers - Conversa by Lucrecia Dalt Remix
CD - €10.00
24bit FLAC - €7.00
16bit - €6.00
At the beginning of history, Ariel Pink once said "all the best shit's made when you're alone." But how far did he imagine this edict could be taken beyond the psychedelic and into the realm of the purely personal? Today, we seem to have two branches in the school of experimental pop. One branch privileges object-hood, richness of surface, and mass-hallucinatory quotation. The other (much less celebrated) branch seeks to recapture authenticity in the form of a highly personal hallucination of music history.
With her sophomore full-length, Lucrecia Dalt follows the latter branch as far as it seems to go. She leaps into a surrealist landscape with stunning abandon, eschewing the comparatively safe tropes and song structures of her previous work. And she charts a surprisingly inventive and rewarding territory in the process. Much as it is with her newfound contemporaries at HEM Berlin, for Dalt, solitude and assemblage (of sound, genre, musicology, technique) is an exploratory zone steered toward the inner universe. To follow the music, one must be prepared to make this trip as real as sound itself.
Themes of agitation and disturbance, cumulative, impending and scalable, propel Commotus, and create a framework for understanding its emotional spectra. The music lives in the contradiction between having time to reflect on the inevitable, and the irrevocability of its outcome.
Dalt, who is a civil engineer with a specialty in geotechnics, knows that motion on a geologic time scale can be the most poignant analogy to the interminable struggle between self-awareness and sea change.
The album opens with a Saltación. An English speaker's mind might mistake a bit of wordplay here, as if this opening statement were a "salutation." It seems like a proper greeting enough, with a ceremonious gong resounding behind a chorus of liquid angels and transistor-organ castanets. In fact, Saltación is a geological process that occurs within sand dust, a repeated movement that ultimately accumulates to enormous scale. It is with this timeless notion of the enormity of change that Dalt greets us.
Escopolamina is a drug that erases memory temporarily. It is commonly used in Dalt's birth country, Colombia, to steal things on the streets. Escopolamina causes the victim to lose total will for minutes so as to give their belongings up voluntarily. The song's sneaky tango metre creeps over a metronomic click-track, as if to mock the experience of lost time. But the lyrics quickly inform us that our perspective is not the predator's view, but the victim's: "You'll adore seeing me under your feet."
In Turmoil, she reveals her new approach to music as well as any other track. Speaking like a master to a servant, she intones "long, lasting, filthy, seeking…" at once mantra-like and languid. Here she shows that she is as unafraid to approach ambivalent concepts as she is dramatic tension, with a newfound, sullen maturity. She says, "I've been doing deals with the devil, you should have been aware of all this fire."
Forestalling the servant's response until Esplendor, four tracks later, she proclaims "Well you see, no, you don't see, your unforgivable sins don't allow you to see my splendor "mi splendor", but somehow in my fostered idiocy, I am born, you know me, well, you knew me well! You knew me well until today."
In Batholith, it all comes to a head: "Let me brake your ecstasy my love, you forgot that I don't, obey to your linear truth, you forgot, that I have the felsic spring powers, surprise surprise, I'll disrupt your narrative and alter your flattened landscape, sorry about that." The love story of a batholith spring that reshapes our predictable ground. Or the Deleuzean thought of geological time: something can spring from the depths and change our narratives, our perception of reality and we are somehow obliged to continue with this new appearing, deal with it, or suffer it…
Dalt has established herself as a solo performer, building songs live and in recordings using pedals, laptop, and loops. She's even been seen with a touch-screen strapped to the wings of her electric bass. So it's all the more surprising that, throughout Commotus, she works with an enormous, and enormously subtle, sound palette, almost completely triggered from solo bass. (Two notable exceptions being guest appearances from Luke Sutherland and Julia Holter.)
Some of these sounds are as concrete as a timpani shot, or the snap of an analog rhythm box. But the majority of sounds exist in a nether-world between evocation and pure abstraction. This is rife terrain for self-expression, and dramatic tension, with a result made all the more poignant because she's playing alone. In Commotus, you can hear every sound event becoming the curled-up dimensions of a richly personal experience.