|Holly Herndon — Chorus EP (2014)|
Holly Herndon — Chorus EP
Location: San Francisco, California
Album release: January 20th, 2014
Record Label: Rvng Intl.
01 Chorus 5:58
02 Solo Voice 6:26
By Mark Richardson; February 7, 2014; Score: 8.0
Ξ Holly Herndon’s work thrives on the tension between abstraction and accessibility. Ξ Large chunks of her full-length debut, Movement, reflected the Mills College graduate’s grounding in academia. Early on, electronic music was mostly the product of state-funded institutions like universities and public radio due to the vast resources needed to acquire and maintain the equipment. The people who had access to the machines in the 1950s and 60s were artists, theorists, and technicians, and not always in that order. Coming out of the world of 20th century classical music, which had happily abandoned the possibility of mass appeal, artists like John Cage and Milton Babbitt pursued electronic music with an exploratory zeal that often abandoned ideas conventional musicality.
Ξ That electronic music from the academic world can often be described as dry and clinical is not a sleight — the pleasures are there, they just happen to be more cerebral. Ξ About half of the excellent Movement (“Breathe”, “Dilato”) worked this side of the room. But then there were tracks like “Fade” and the title track, which applied Hendon’s brilliant textural ear and vocal manipulations to a context where rhythm and melody were equally important.
Ξ Chorus, Herndon’s new two-song EP, essentially amplifies the extremes of her musical personality and pushes the tension almost to the breaking point. The title track already has the feel of minor landmark, as she chops and processes her voice into disorienting shapes while retaining its human core. In terms of her basic palette, she’s operating in a terrain not too far from Oneohtrix Point Never’s latest, R Plus Seven; “Chorus” has some of the cool, clean, and disconcertingly empty cast of an early computer’s 8-bit soundbank, and the fragments of her vocal evoke hand-keyed early sampling, where you’d play the shifted pitches on a keyboard. Using these vaguely retro tools, she’s crafted a sleek futuristic pop song with an experimental bent that is ultimately deeply emotional.
Ξ The B-side, “Solo Voice”, comes from a different place. It takes tiny shards of syllables and sets them ping-ponging between the speakers; as was often true on Movement, the massive amount of space means you sometimes wonder if the piece has ended only to have more notes emerge from the silence. It comes over like an art object as much as a piece of music, and it has its own kind of steely beauty despite its vastly more abstracted feel. The basic elements of “Chorus” and “Solo Voice” have much in common, but the difference in how they work is significant, which speaks to Herndon’s expansive range as a composer. As two sides of her aesthetic are pushed to new heights on this 12″, the possibilities of her future music seem vast indeed. (http://pitchfork.com/)
Ξ Holly Herndon is an artist currently based in San Francisco.
Ξ She was recently announced a candidate for doctoral study in Electronic Music at Stanford University, and received her MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media at Mills College under the guidance of John Bischoff, James Fei, Maggi Payne, and Fred Frith. While at Mills she won the Elizabeth Mills Crothers award for Best Composer in 2010 for her vocal generated piece ’195′.
Ξ Her musical work explores embodied experience in electronic media through experiments with the electronically processed voice, using extended vocal techniques, vocal processing and FM synthesis.
Ξ She released CAR in 2010, a site specific cassette on ThirdSex in Chicago, and is currently working on her solo debut album and a book on embodiment in electronic music performance for the Swiss publisher Van Dieren. Other notable projects for 2012 involve collaborations with Jlin, Hieroglyphic Being, Rene Hell and the Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani, as well as performances with the media group.
Ξ When not producing music Holly curates and manages exhibits and residencies at The Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco and teaches music technology at the University of the Pacific. She co-founded the +dialog speaker series at Gray Area Foundation of the Arts in San Francisco, which to date has hosted Kode9, Erik Davis, Max Matthews, Douglas Kahn and more.
Twitter: @ twitter.com/hollyherndon
North America Booking: Carter Adams @ Windish Agency
EU Booking: Brandon Rosenbluth @ LittleBig
|Holly Herndon — Chorus EP (2014)|