Julia Holter: Ekstasis – review


You make a statement when you lead your album with a track whose title references Last Year in Marienbad, either one of the greatest or one of the most pretentious films ever made; that statement being that those with no patience for a musician who wishes to be viewed as an artist should move along quickly. Ekstasis – first released earlier this year and now picked by Domino – strays towards pop on occasion (In the Same Room, notably), but it's the cerebral, detached pop of Laurie Anderson or, at a pinch, latterday Japan. Ekstasis is more of a mood piece than a collection of songs, with Holter layering her voice into glassy sheets above an ambient bed of synths, further disguising her already abstract lyrics – "3 2 2 1/ One word losing eye/ Dreams distance you come close," opens This Is Ekstasis. It's hard to suggest everyone should rush out and buy Ekstasis, but the more time you spend with it, the more its structures make sense, the more the melodies begin to sparkle, the more the sense of some unsought truth fighting its way out becomes apparent.


Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

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