Colombian experimental producer Lucrecia Dalt makes extremely contextualized music buried in layers of abstract surrealism. Similar to the processes of an installation artist, each body of work evolves its thematic content further. Anticlines, her sixth LP—and first for RVNG—is designed with a multi-disciplinary framework in mind, featuring scripted poetic vocals that tie together Dalt’s background as a civil engineer with philosophical questions about society’s relationship with the world.
I first encountered the sounds of Anticlines during the CTM Festival in Berlin, as Dalt performed the record in its entirety. Playing on one side of the stage, while directing the audience’s gaze towards a model of a brain on the opposing side, Dalt was illustrating a philosophical metaphor about existence—creating a complex, haunting narrative, embodying many artistic disciplines. It’s this level of thought and contextual detail that goes into her work, and is what makes Anticlines such a formidable listen; deeply framed messages are tied together with abstract jagged music, rigid sound design and haunting, poetic vocals, to create a richly layered record. It can at first feel a bit convoluted, but deep inside the music and beyond the lyrical narrative lies a profound piece of insular art.
Up until now, the now-Berlin based producer has created conceptual records built around New German Cinema (Ou) and magnetic fields (Syzygy), in addition to contributing to a "telepathic" project featuring Charlotte Collin, Laurel Halo, and Julia Holter, (Terepa). In contrast, Anticlines is built around the producer's experience within geophysics (Dalt holds a degree in Civil Engineering, and spent two years employed in the field for a geotechnical company), molding ambience into something that reflects the foreboding, cavernous aura that one might encounter delving into the bowels of the earth. Throughout Anticlines, the tracks reverberate with underground ambience, reversed acoustics, and distorted frequencies, where patterns of sound ruminate like water falling from the roof of a precipice, creating irregular rhythmic structures and harrowing echoes.
Like her peer Laurie Anderson, with whom she’s often compared, Dalt’s symmetrical and stern approach to vocals is one of the strongest elements in her music. The album begins with “Edge,” a track in which Dalt’s voice punctuates the distressed background acoustics, like the Colombian mythical monster it alludes to. “I would be the breath and press against the back of your eyeballs," she sings in stark boldness. On “Tar,” Dalt's geophysics work is showcased through her sound experimentation, bending a lyrical narrative between love and human consciousness; this mysticism behind geologic structures and the alien nature of our own world runs through the record's entirety. On “Analogue Mountains,” modular patterns rise and fall, like a random frequency bouncing through a radio-pickup from a far-off world. The track, according to Dalt, was inspired by Martian meteorite remains found in the Antarctic: “We might well be living in mountains transferred from Mars,” she hauntingly hums over the music.
It's this powerful complexity of Anticlines that makes it so alluring. At times the record is hypnotic and yet mesmerizing with its abstract sound quirks. Heartfelt and authentic, each listen brings something new. In geological terms, an anticline is a bent layer of earth in which pressure causes minerals to change (or undergo metamorphism). On Anticlines, this underground process is reimagined, as sounds contort and vocals shudder, creating these alien-like effects and patterns. With a sonic language on par with the likes of Rashad Becker or Mika Vainio, Lucrecia Dalt constructs a vivid, audible, and metamorphic painting that convulses like an earthquake, leaving behind a shimmering landscape of dark beauty.
05.Errors of Skin
11. Glass Brain
13. Eclipsed Subject
15.Shergotite Rain (Bonus Track)
Anticlines will land on May 4.