Is this record worth a spin? Should I buy it? Will it add to or detract
from my credibility? Should I care?
I wish someone could break it down for me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Julia Holter- Ekstasis

A very mature sophomore release from this LA native. Ms. Holter doesn't try to make retro 80's dance music, she's not doing the doo-wop thing or attempting to recreate 60's garage rock, she's just making some good, understated fucking music. And she's turned to the very estimable RVNG Intl. label, out of NYC, to release it. The songs are ethereal, restrained, and electronically inclined, yet still rooted in pop music conventions. Holter has trained in classical music composition as well so cello, piano, and synthetic string sections are intermittently featured throughout. Lately, Holter has been working with Linda Perhacs, an unheralded but influential 70's folk artist, and it translates on Ekstasis. The opening song "Marienbad" wouldn't be out of place on Perhac's Parallelograms record, multi-layered vocals, both slightly psychedelic and tranquil, that ping pong in sing song fashion over a harpsichord melody. "Four Gardens' is the culmination of Holter's vocal ploy, a cascading swell of voices, over Cage-like saxophone squalls, serving as an instrument unto itself, alternating moods that emulate qualities from Indian Punjab to Arabic singing.  The tone of the album is somber but the synth lines add a warmth that creates an interesting juxtaposition in her music, call it hauntingly uplifting? Rush Limbaugh would be proud knowing that not only are women having lots of sex, they're also making lots of good music. This is one of the more rewarding releases I've heard in a while.

Buy this record if you're contemplating an omelette but are sure that you prefer toast to an english muffin.


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