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Chosen One: Lucrecia Dalt

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Interview with Lucrecia Dalt.

This Autumn Barcelona-based (recently relocated to Berlin) artist Lucrecia Dalt will release “Syzygy”, the much-anticipated follow-up to the mesmerizing “Commotus”, released in 2012 on Human Ear Music.

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry


Berlin-based label Human Ear Music has recently announced the release of Colombia-born artist, Lucrecia Dalt’s forthcoming new record, entitled ‘Syzygy’, to be released on 15 October. For those already familiar with the Barcelona-based artist (who has recently moved to Berlin), a true work of art awaits. Last year’s sophomore release, ‘Commotus’ was one of 2012’s finest records, representing one of the most innovative and compelling artists making music today, very much in line with the roster of talent championed by groundbreaking independent label, Human Ear Music.

‘Commotus’ is one of those very special records that reveals more and more, on every visit. Dalt’s meticulous attention to detail and sheer devotion to her art radiates from the sonic creations. “Commotus” is a latin word which means ‘agitated’, ‘moved’. As a whole, the record captures this mood so perfectly that serves one of the reasons why the album is such a tour de force. In the words of Dalt: “As far as the music goes, my motivation comes from the necessity to create specific sensations, moods and from there sometimes pictures or a specific situation.” Indeed, the album cover artwork – depicting a cloud of dust looming onto the earth’s surface – evokes an eerie atmosphere of impending doom. Similarly, I feel Dalt’s shape-shifting creations conjures up the mood contained in Jeff Nichols’s drama ‘Take Shelter’, where the central character (played by Michael Shannon) is plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions. Furthermore, a parallel exists between the ethereal dimension that permeates the world of ‘Commotus’ and in turn, becomes a study of the human condition – unfolding unto itself – something intense and deeply profound. The plethora of visionary ideas and sonic radiance unleashed by ‘Commotus’, forms an everlasting imprint that never ceases to amaze and inspire.

The song-cycles contained on ‘Commotus’ are built around the bass guitar, with Dalt’s preoccupation at the time, being the ability to perform the record live. An instrument Dalt is comfortable with, the hypnotic bass sound – dispelling a vast array of possibilities through processing – forms the foundation to ‘Commotus”s sonic journey. A huge discovery for Dalt was the moogerfooger midi murf, a pedal Dalt formed a deep fascination with, that would form the genesis of ‘Commotus’. Layers of bass would be processed through the moogerfooger that would create a multi-layered haven of enchanting sound, generating endless possibilities. My first introduction to Dalt’s music was the meditative track ‘Silencio’, one of the record’s stunning highlights, where Julia Holter adds harmonium. Across the album’s divine twelve tracks, a unique artistic vision and breathtaking imagination envelops the space. Similar in style to such labels as RVNG Intl (Holter, Herndon) and luminaries such as Eno, Moondog and films of Bergman and Antonioni, Dalt forever pushes the sonic envelope, and creates a unique tapestry of beguiling soundscapes.

Following the release of ‘Commotus’, a 24-bit edition was made available, which reveals Dalt’s sound palette in fine detail, while adding six new remixes by Gudrun Gut, Ekkehard Ehlers, :papercutz, PePePe, and Jason Grier. A lucid rework of the ambient album closer ‘Batholith is performed by Grier, but the standout is :papercutz’ re-interpretation of the glorious ‘Escopolamina’, where the liquid dance music of Caribou’s ‘Swim’ record comes into full focus. Interestingly, Dalt has remixed Caribou’s ‘Sun’ – among many other compelling remix treatments – that demands a close listen.

The experimental pop of debut album, ‘Congost’, released in 2010, was a fine showcase of Dalt’s masterful songcraft and pop sensibilities. ‘Commotus’ sees an evolution of the artist’s musical world, and follow-up ‘Syzygy’ will undoubtedly reveal a further metamorphosis of sound.

“While I am making a new record, work becomes a compulsion. My routine changes completely, dreams and thoughts become louder and more intense, conversations more enjoyable and graspable, ordinary walks become remarkable, I’m able to materialize what besets consiousness, self-estrangement rises, as does my affectation.”

—Lucrecia Dalt

A recent album trailer for ‘Syzygy’ has been released, offering first glimpses of the latest chapter of Dalt’s experimentation with sound. A definition appeared next to the title of ‘Syzygy’: “A state of total oscillation that effervesces from the sand and levitates like a mirage.” Like the album cover of ‘Commotus’, perhaps ‘Syzygy’ is the aftermath, the world that remains after such destruction and decay. Recorded in less than sixty restless days and nights in Barcelona – having to begin at 4AM due to the noise bleed of the nearby metro station – Dalt composed spontaneously, creating a continuous cinematic movement.
The magnetic field of the metro station interfered with the sound of the bass, making the sound unbearable, resulting in minimal use of bass on ‘Syzgy’. Inspired both by the theorists Walter Benjamin and Italo Calvino, and by the oeuvre of filmmakers such as Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, nine tracks were born that would become Dalt’s scintillating new work. The album was recorded by Dalt in Barcelona between November 2012 and March 2013, and mastered by Alain at One Million Mangos in Berlin.

Much like Antonioni’s stunning visuals, ambiguous narratives and focus on modern alienation, the music of Lucrecia Dalt carves out a similarly unique universe that few others could summon to create.


‘Commotus’ (and the 24-bit edition) is out now on Human Ear Music. ‘Syzygy’ will be released by Human Ear Music on 15 October.


Interview with Lucrecia Dalt.

Firstly, congratulations on your latest record ‘Commotus’. One of those very special albums that has a terrific hold and resonance on me, the listener. Please tell me a bit about the recording of the album itself. The bass guitar is central to all the sonic creations and it works so wonderfully.

Thank you! Well, it all started cause I wanted to be able to perform this record, that was my preoccupation at that time, i still believe in the solo performance, so I was trying to find a way to do it with just one instrument. It happened to be the bass I guess kind of randomly, i was feeling comfortable with this instrument, it has a presence, and possibilities to expand its register through processing.


The sound is immaculate. It reminds me in places of Portishead. My favourite song at the moment is the album closer ‘Batholith’. A gorgeous ambient song cycle. Can you talk me through this particular piece please?

Sonically, ‘Batholith’ is built with a few layers of the bass processed with the moogerfooger midi murf which is a process that I used the most on the record, so all these eerie, ethereal sounds come from it. In terms of the lyrics, I still believe this is the piece that resumes the whole concept of the record I wanted to use the geologic form of the batholith to talk about unexpected change in our narrative.


And this ties seamlessly into the title of the record, ‘Commotus’; meaning ‘agitated’, ‘moved’. As a whole, the record captures this mood so perfectly. This is one of the reasons why the album is such a tour-de-force. Tell me some more about the title and the space and time ‘Commotus’ was born out of?

Commotus was born while I was living in Barcelona in 2011, this is the year where the crisis in spain started to have real impact on the everyday life, the mood on the streets was changing, the conversations you could hear at the bars, the new preoccupations, this of course influenced the decisions of the record not to decide to talk about the crisis specifically, or try to give an answer to it, or sympathize with those affected by it, the circumstances just led me to start questioning about the possible consequences of the change imposed by others, a slow change, that gives us space to react, reconfigure our present in a way, or just let us be affected by it.


Musically, an ethereal dimension inhabits the space. As you mentioned, the mooger fooger midi murf instrument is a process you utilize throughout ‘Commotus’. This particular sound shares the cosmic spirit of luminaries such as Laurie Spiegel. Discuss this process please and when did you discover this instrument?

I was obsessed with this record by Woo, called ‘It’s Cozy Inside’ which is full of sounds processed with resonating filters so then I discovered that moog was releasing all these processes part of their synthesizers as single pieces to process instruments. So I started to try them all at a store once, but this one stood out. It’s a very special piece. I say that this is the longest relationship i’ve ever had with an “instrument”, I still find surprises everyday with it but it’s just a pedal, you know?


That’s amazing! You obviously have found limitless inspiration from this pedal. I wonder what direction will the follow-up to ‘Commotus’ take? Do you have certain ideas in your head how your music will evolve? It has already evolved so much through the course of your first two albums.

Well, I know because my new album is ready!!


Wow! Wonderful.

And yeah it’s very different. I barely used the bass on it, but kinds of accidentally because when I made it I moved to a new place which was located really close to the metro station, so the magnetic field of the metro affected the sound of the bass and it was unbearable. I could only record like at 4:30 am when the metro wasn’t working. So I love these kind of accidents. I’m not sure if the new record would have shaped the way it did if I wan’t under that circumstance.


That sounds beautiful. Recording music at the ‘in-between’ time between late-night and early morning disruptions. The sound of silence must have been huge inspiration, during those quiet hours of night.

Yeah, in a way but also the city. That room was in one loud corner in Barcelona. I’m glad I’m not there anymore because the summer would have been too crazy.


I recently was listening to a mixtape of yours that features film excerpts of ‘Night On Earth’ and ‘Faces’. Those directors must be big sources of inspiration.

Yeah, absolutely, as I was saying in that text that comes with the mixtape, I don’t know if you read it, I chose certain movies to play along while i was making the new album, so they were like my “bandmates” in a way, suggesting things to happen, not really sampling them.


What records are you listening to most lately?

Fondation ‎– Le Vaisseau Blanc
Alessandro Alessandroni ‎– Romance And Drama
Lena Platonos – Gkalop
The Flux Quartet by Morton Feldman
I recently discovered this record by Philip Glass called ‘North Star’, so gorgeous. There are some on that mixtape.


‘Commotus’ (and the 24-bit edition) is out now on Human Ear Music. ‘Syzygy’ will be released by Human Ear Music on 15 October.


Written by admin

August 26, 2013 at 10:33 am

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