FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Chosen One: Lucrecia Dalt

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Interview with Lucrecia Dalt.

“Inspiration is so confusing and it gets stranger with time.

—Lucrecia Dalt

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

syzygy_craigcarry

Last October marked the eagerly awaited new full-length release from the prolific Colombia-born, Berlin-based artist, Lucrecia Dalt. Entitled ‘Syzygy’, Dalt’s third album was released on the innovative independent label, Human Ear Music. The latest shape-shifting creation further showcases Dalt’s gifted talents and supreme artistry to create a deeply captivating cohesive body of work that seamlessly ebbs and flows into one’s consciousness. ‘Syzygy’, much in the same way as its mesmerising predecessor, ‘Commotus’, can be observed as a state of mind, above all else, where the album’s nine sonic creations undergoes a gradual metamorphosis that effortlessly forms a continuous cinematic movement. The aesthetic delight unleashed by the young artist’s masterful production skills and scintillating sonic palette (layers of synths, processed vocals, guitars) represents one of the hallmarks of Dalt’s three-dimensional worlds of sound.

A definition appears 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 4 A.M. due to the noise bleed of the nearby metro station — Dalt composed spontaneously, creating a beguiling song-cycle. 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 ‘Syzygy’. 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 glorious 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.

Having supported Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Julia Holter across Europe last Autumn, Dalt summoned enraptured audiences with her unique blend of hand-crafted soundscapes. A lovely parallel exists between these luminaries — Holter guested on 2012’s ‘Commotus’, playing harmonium on the track ‘Silencio’ — who craft similarly avant-garde pop creations that inhabit a magical realm-belonging to a space and time we have yet arrived upon. As ever, the timeless sound unleashed by Dalt pushes the sonic envelope with each timbre of sound, musical idea and graceful arpeggio.

The discordant notes of ‘Volaverunt’ seeps seductively into your veins as Dalt’s whisper-like voice asks, “Are we committed to the optical illusions of this isolated standpoint?” The healing tones of ‘Volaverunt’ re-enforces the central theme to ‘Syzygy’ of conjunctions and oppositions. The prologue — stated in words that adorns the beautiful album cover — depicts the following hypothesis: “are you in a hurry? see, the closer the conjunctions and oppositions, the more powerful the syzygy.” The album’s rich tapestry of sound discharges a cathartic energy that permeates throughout the interwoven layers and endless artistic detail. I feel the “mirages of glorious futures” drifts majestically beneath Dalt’s deeply affecting songs and with each glorious note and vocal register “a moment of time blind.” The listener becomes beautifully lost in the artist’s floating world.

A plethora of sources found its way into ‘Syzygy’. During the intense recording, the films of Antonioni and Bergman became “bandmates”  in a way for the composer — suggesting things to happen, in the process. A wonderfully spontaneous process ensued that culminated naturally into the masterwork of ‘Syzygy’. Films such as ‘Deserto Rosso’, ‘Daydream’ and ‘The Hour Of The Wolf’ guided ‘Syzygy’ along it’s path. The utterly transcendent dream-pop opus, ‘Vitti’ is a dedication to ‘Deserto Rosso’ actress Monica Vitti. The distress and loneliness suffered by Vitti’s character is transposed into the music of ‘Syzygy’. Elsewhere, Peter J. Carroll’s ‘Chaoist Models of the Mind’ ( and Italo Calvino’s ‘Six Memos For The Next Millennium’ are dotted across ‘Vitti’ and ‘Levedad’, respectively.

‘Murmur’ — one of the album’s centerpieces — contains ambient flourishes of cascading electric guitar tones (played by Luke Sutherland) combined with Dalt’s electronic wizardry. The lyrics of ‘Mirage’ are sheer poetry that further awakens one’s senses and heightens all that surrounds you: “I approach and you vanish away away away, I grasp you and you’ve left.” As the song fades out, a fleeting moment of unfathomable beauty has approached and vanished before your very ears. Such moments of radiance are always a stone’s throw away as the ceaseless ripples of ‘Syzygy’s stream of dazzling sound forever illuminates and inspires.

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Interview with Lucrecia Dalt.

Congratulations, Lucrecia, on the new record, ‘Syzygy’. It’s even more amazing than your previous ‘Commotus’ LP. I love how the album is filled with a sense of tension and uncertainty. It feels as if the music translates to a state of mind, and as a result, feels very human. I would love to hear more about the title of the album itself and the themes that comprises ‘Syzygy’?

LD: I run into this word once when I was reading about pataphysics, and the meaning lead me to think about possible ways to create music that could be separated in two to have two new pieces of music. But that experiment was limiting my creativity, but it opened like a parallel world of thought surrounding the process of making the record.

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I can imagine how you create music, especially as you layer so much instrumentation (voice, electronics, and organic elements) and the distinctive production sound you make your own. You must see music in a unique way when you approach making it?

LD: It’s strange because I used to listen more to melodies in my head that lead me to record, lately all this music is just the end result of hours and hours of working, or combining stuff, mimics of music I enjoy, mash-ups of demos. Inspiration is so confusing and it gets stranger with time.

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That’s very true. I must ask you about the wonderful process that served inspiration for ‘Syzygy’. Films such as ‘Deserto Rosso’ and Bergman films provided a canvas for your sound. What was it with these particular films that resonated for you, Lucrecia?

LD: I was spending a lot of time alone while I made the record, it became for the first time this super private process that no-one lived but me. Movies and books gave guidance and suggestions when I was lost in some processes, but it happened just randomly, I didn’t choose specifically those movies or those texts to work along with the record, it was just the information that was there, the information that appeared at that moment of my life. ‘Deserto Rosso’, ‘Hour Of The Wolf’, ‘Daydream’, ‘Fata Morgana’…‘Sans Soleil’, etc.
But, with ‘Deserto Rosso’ (not being my favorite movie in the world), I resonated deeply with it because of the way the soundtrack was made and because of the state the main character was in…but all the other movies contributed in one way or another.

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That sounds wonderful. I feel the mood and cinematic feel/narrative to those films is projected onto the canvas of ‘Syzygy’ so effortlessly. Again, it feels such a natural process, like the air one breathes. My favourite from Part A is ‘Vitti’. I guess this is a dedication to the actress Monica Vitti? It’s such an amazing ethereal pop creation.

LD: Thanks! ‘Vitti’ is because I imagined it was her character in ‘Deserto Rosso’, the one who made these lyrics.

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The defining moment (it may change with time of course) of the record for me is the closing section of ‘Murmur’ and ‘Mirage’ — the moment the guitar notes of ‘Murmur’ enter is very special. The lyrics of ‘Mirage’ are sheer poetry. Was this a song that formed the pathway for the rest of the album? It feels like a journey’s end or a wonderful climax.

LD: Not really, all songs were emerging more or less at the same time, I almost never work on one track at a time, but they do feed each other in the whole process.

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I would love for you to discuss please the live performance, Lucrecia? It must have been special to support Julia Holter on her recent European tour. How do your songs translate to the live setting?

LD: I play solo, with bass guitar, a little keyboard and processes for vocals and bass. I try to stay close to the mood of the recordings, but in a way I feel performing. I leave some space for improvisation in some songs, like ‘Mirage’, for instance, is longer towards the end, and I also made a set list that included 5 songs from ‘Syzygy’ and 3 songs from ‘Commotus’ with almost no gaps in between songs so it has more the feeling of a mixtape in a way.

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That’s very interesting. Both albums are related in many ways, and feel quite connected. Have you thoughts on what your next record may sound? I’m amazed by how prolific you are: ‘Commotus’ 2012 and ‘Sygyzy’ 2013…

LD: I have some thoughts, yeah, but you see, until I’m halfway through with the production. I have no idea what’s happening really, at first ‘Syzygy’ was supposed to be an album with cheesier ballads, or more moments like ‘Edgewise’ or the second part of ‘Vitti’ that feels more like the soundtrack of a 60’s erotica film, but this went on another direction. I do think that the next recordings will be less dense, because I already feel with these two records that I pushed myself back against a corner where I am spinning endlessly, I might have to find a way to escape this in order to continue…

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You’re now living in Berlin, Lucrecia. How is this city for living as an artist? It also must be special to be part of Human Ear Music, a label whose roster comprises of such gifted talents: you being one of the leading lights, for sure…

LD: It’s great, simple, this city has space to have the life that you want to have, if it’s quiet, it could be amazingly quiet, and vice versa. It’s just difficult not to be missing the mediterranean food, but I can compensate that with a great deal of nice people and good conversations.

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Last thing, Lucrecia, you kindly shared your memories and moments of 2013. Are there any particular aspirations or hopes you have for 2014?

LD: Yes, I also wish to go to Italy and hopefully to Brazil and Canada. And a bit more hours of sleep.

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‘Syzygy’ is available now on Human Ear Music.

http://www.lucreciadalt.com
http://www.humanearmusic.de

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Written by admin

February 13, 2014 at 10:35 am

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