Kate NV - WOW Music Album Reviews

Kate NV - WOW Music Album Reviews
The Russian electronic musician’s latest album turns pointillist quirks into erratic maximalism—call it pop music for people who enjoy both Karlheinz Stockhausen and Lisa Frank.

Franz Kafka wrote about animals a lot: a monstrous bug, a young panther in a menagerie, a mouse named Josephine who wants to wow you with her song, a dog who sees a powerful triumvirate of other dogs levitating and has some thoughts about it. He wrote about these creatures in prose that is defamiliarized, exhausting, wickedly funny. The Russian composer Ekaterina Shilonosova, who performs as Kate NV, shares a similar sensibility with the Austro-Hungarian writer: On her excellent fourth record, WOW, there is a suite of animals, and she is both rigorous and whimsical about them. 

On WOW, NV abandons the slightly more legible songs of 2020’s Room for the Moon, and the cohesiveness of 2018’s для FOR, opting instead for delightfully fractured inscrutability. WOW is dense and hyper-saturated with chintzy synths, field recordings, and heavily manipulated vocals. Call it maximalism; call it pop music for people who happen to enjoy both Karlheinz Stockhausen and Lisa Frank. It exists in a zone that NV has been working in for a while, one that involves fermenting and reimagining everything from Japanese city pop to the ECM New Series to corny ’80s chart-toppers. Opener “oni (they),” which features Japanese-language lyrics written by Foodman, feels like being inside a pinball machine: Each flicker of synth lights up brilliantly, bouncing erratically from point A to B. 

Each song is its own absurd room. Like previous records, WOW makes good use of Found Sound Nation’s Broken Orchestra sample pack, sourced from damaged instruments from Philadelphia’s public schools. On “confessions at the dinner table,” there are synths that sound like they’re giggling or yawning, field recordings of a door opening, the sound of clinking dishes. Violin and clarinet burst in at the midpoint. It is like a food fight, rendered in the aesthetics of Věra Chytilová’s Daisies, where two girls in flower crowns stomp around on a table drinking brandy and throwing cake at each other, fucking with everyone they meet. 

But NV’s music isn’t twee. Just because something is cute doesn’t mean it’s not rigorous, and her playfulness has a purpose: In upsetting expectations, it’s meant to keep you on your toes. Her songs are slanted, oblique. “razmishlenie (thinking)” builds in such a way that you’d think it would eventually depressurize, yet it does not; it stays at the same level of intensity for the song’s duration. There’s no payoff, but not in a way that is necessarily disappointing. Her music can be a workout; its self-containment can be almost alienating.

Perhaps that’s because there’s not necessarily a narrative. You couldn’t say that WOW is about anything. Instead, it’s defined by its aesthetic cohesion, a beautiful sense of formal seriousness that holds court over the record’s surrealistic menagerie.  

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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.
Kate NV - WOW Music Album Reviews Kate NV - WOW Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 13, 2023 Rating: 5


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