Lucrecia Dalt - No era sólida Music Album Reviews

As though channeling supernatural energies, the Colombian experimental musician uses eerie electronics and vocal treatments to imbue unsettling world-building with a mystical sort of grace.

Creative practice is a form of mediumship. Artists pull from the ether, from the great cultural unconscious, pawing at the veiled ideas found there until they begin to reveal form and structure. Colombian musician Lucrecia Dalt’s new album No era sólida (It Wasn’t Solid) is set in this liminal space, using arrhythmic loops of electronic sound to conjure a mysterious, ruminative atmosphere. The album’s protagonist is a character named Lia who is stretching her metaphysical legs for the first time, speaking through Dalt largely in strings of nonsensical syllables as she cycles through initial reactions to different emotions and sensations. An uneasy album of twisted innocence, it centers on the discomforting process of moving between a space of pure imagination and the reality shared by conscious human beings.
This type of ponderous, character-driven concept is increasingly common in experimental-leaning electronic music (Oneohtrix Point Never’s imaginary alien Ezra, or Oracle, the disembodied voice on Amnesia Scanner’s Another Life), but Dalt’s rendering of Lia resists cliché by letting the caricature frame, rather than dominate, the sounds themselves. Dalt’s use of glossolalia, the invented quasi-language in which she gives voice to Lia, points to religious adherents speaking in tongues, but does so with great subtlety. Her vocals are largely enmeshed with eerie synthesized sounds and further abstracted by delay. The pleasures of No era sólida come not so much from following Lia’s perspective as she goes through the process of becoming as from experiencing the complicated feelings the music evokes as Dalt explores this persona: her tender curiosity, her tentative antagonism, the delicious nausea of high-pitched tones swinging back and forth.

Spacious and quiet, No era sólida’s songs sometimes lock into a kind of stilted groove, but more often they forward with two left feet. Dalt uses loops in a similar way as her collaborator Aaron Dilloway, formerly of Wolf Eyes; both apply repetition as a way to build tension rather than hypnotize, employing a minimal palette that mimics incidental sounds from everyday life and blending them with alien electronics to make the familiar seem inscrutable. The effect is thoroughly psychedelic, and can be experienced as a kind of disorienting naiveté, recasting the commonplace as the unknown. The uneven gait of the electronics, like the perpetually surprising pop of synthesizer on “Di” and the mismatched gulping and clattering sounds on “Espesa,” divorces her sounds from any obviously mechanical process. It isn’t a leap to imagine these soundworlds as representations of a mind just beginning to bring its surroundings into focus, reveling in both glory and grit.

The title track, the album’s final song, acts as a mission statement. It is the only track with words, which are spoken in Spanish, and it surveys the world from the point of view of Dalt’s muse as she emerges into full consciousness. Though the text is at times searching and uncertain (“I can only hear myself in the repeated echo because my voice initially gets confused with myself”), Dalt’s delivery is pointed and confident. It offers a peculiar climax, a moment of certainty following the ambiguity of what came before. It is as if the music, as an entity, is speaking directly to us, its observer.

Dalt is a storyteller, but unlike traditional storytellers, she leaves her character where it came from, in that undulating space between abstraction and realization. Despite its heavy conceptual burden, No era sólida never crumples under its own weight. It shows rather than tells, guiding you through its prickly, unstable moods with a mystical sort of grace.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Lucrecia Dalt - No era sólida Music Album Reviews Lucrecia Dalt - No era sólida Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 Rating:

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