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Posts Tagged ‘Commotus

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

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

lucreciadalt_poster

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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Written by admin

August 26, 2013 at 10:33 am