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Loula Yorke ~ Volta | a closer listen

Написано на 22.01.2024

The tone is ambient, the timbre electronic; Loula Yorke‘s modular synthesizer compositions create a trancelike state that is eminently relaxing, especially now that the occasional drums of Florescence have gone.  This is less of a sea change than a gentle shift, emphasizing an aspect of her music that has been there all along.

The opening track comes across as an overture, the title the last line of a Robert Bly poem: “It has been decided that if you lay down no-one will die.”  And while someone may die while you rest, it’s highly unlikely and not deserving of the worry, which is Yorke’s point, and Bly’s: think in ways you’ve never thought before.

The entire album is about cyclical time, the idea that seasons, physical and metaphorical, always come around again.  In terms of compositions, this means that patterns repeat, recycle and return, coalescing and combining like clouds, as seen in the complementary videos for the first two tracks.  While listening, it is possible to lose track of time, as there are few markers within compositions, only those between them.  The pieces flow gently, taking their time, a reflection of patient genesis.  When pleasing harmonies result from the overlapping patterns, the effect is serendipitous.  Yorke mentions that the loop symbolizes infinity, but emphasizes that a small change can result in a huge transformation over time.  “Staying With the Trouble” gradually rises to a peak, culminating in an imitation of percussion; but “Anecdoche” travels the furthest distance from start to finish.  The title comes from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows and defined as “a conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening … (until they) all run out of things to say.”  But in Yorke’s hands, the culmination of synth lines produces a galaxy of happy harmonics.

Can our very thoughts – positive or negative – affect nature?  According to Masaru Emoto’s The Hidden Messages in Water, they can.  (Unless Emoto is a pen name, this person was born to write this book.)  In the track of the same name, Yorke sends synth signals out like utterances, seeing what they will affect.  If a song can change a mood, might a sound affect a molecule?  Speculative as such thoughts may be, they lie at the heart of Yorke’s album; the Italian word Volta refers to the transition point of a sonnet, a turning of thought; by rethinking her approach to composition, the artist has broadened her horizons, and now invites listeners to do the same.  (Richard Allen)

Loula Yorke’s synthesizer compositions are ambient and trance-inducing, cyclically focused, gentle, and harmonious, inviting listeners to broaden their horizons.

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