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Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8 Music Album Reviews

Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8 Music Album Reviews
Collaborating with noise musician Lasse Marhaug, the Welsh producer doubles down on both the spirituality and the mechanical ferocity of her work. It feels both like a left turn and a culmination.

Kelly Lee Owens has apparently elected to skip making her third through seventh albums and proceed directly to number eight. The post-physical era of the music industry inspires gambits like this, from retail mixtapes to 20-minute albums, and Owens’ might be the most outlandish since A. G. Cook dropped two “debut” albums, one after the other. But it works for LP.8, an imagined dispatch from the future of the Welsh artist’s career that feels both like a left turn and a culmination. It’s easy to imagine a sequence of albums in which Owens—unguarded and facing the camera on her self-titled debut, haunted and hair-hidden on 2020’s Inner Song—slowly abstracts into the silver blur on the cover of this one.

Owens’ work can be cold and steely, yet it throbs with an undercurrent of spirituality. LP.8 doubles down on both of these aspects and finds ways they can work in tandem. The low end is exaggerated until every kick drum or sub-bass tone blurs and shakes the entire track, and at times the album approaches such a high-volume, high-pressure extreme that it sounds like she was trying to make the new-age Yeezus or Daytona. (Her co-producer was Lasse Marhaug, whose work on Jenny Hval’s The Practice of Love attempted a similar mind-body unison.) The most awe-inspiring track is “Anadlu,” where Owens conducts a breathing exercise over the meanest kick drum of the year. “Breathe,” she commands in Welsh, filling the margins with inhales and exhales as if to set an example, as the kick pounds away with mechanical ferocity. It’s like the reverse of the life-sucking machine from The Princess Bride, a system of great weights and pulleys working, in this case, to heal the listener.

Inner Song was Owens’ most complete integration of her sound’s techno and pop poles. Of the nine tracks here, only “One” has anything like a hook, and even that song dissolves into repetitions of cryptic phrases halfway through. Instead, Owens prefers to use her voice as a rhythmic element, as on opener “Release,” or as a running commentary of sighs and whispers that sound like plumes of smoke drifting between Brutalist beams and pillars. Talkier tracks like “Quickening” and “Sonic 8” are halfway between guided meditations and the brainy techno-missives of AGF or Marie Davidson. “Divide and conquer,” she repeats on the latter, stretching the last syllable with playful vocal fry, as if wondering what it’d be like to flex a little power for a change.

The fearsome symmetry and formidable concision Owens attempts here is a high-risk, high-reward strategy, and while the first half of the album comes on strong, the second half is a little more prone to interrupting itself. “One” is sequenced second to last as the album’s pop climax, but with its clipped repetitions of short melodic phrases, it’s nowhere near as developed as similar cuts like “Re-Wild” on Inner Song. The energy craters at the album’s midpoint, where the tough synths and atmospheric vocal layering of “Olga” are followed by “Nana Piano,” a nearly six-minute improvisation on an out-of-tune piano where every flaw and creak is emphasized. It feels like an unnecessary diversion, something you might expect to find on a low-stakes Bandcamp release rather than a bold, futuristic statement such as this. But Owens course-corrects with “Quickening,” which sounds for all the world like a video-game boss-battle cutscene. A bell rings through a vast space; a disembodied whisper haunts the landscape; we hear what sounds like the wet uncoiling of some great beast; and for a second, we can see Owens emerge in her frightening final form.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8 Music Album Reviews Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8 Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 Rating: 5

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