Kendra Amalie — Intuition (Sept. 6, 2019)                   Kendra Amalie — Intuition (Sept. 6, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)✹    Midwestern musician, bandleader, and multi~instrumentalist especially skilled at 12~string acoustic guitar and drifting, cosmic songwriting. “At its core Intuition sounds like an artist finding her brightest beams while still leaving room to experiment, always rolling away from being pinned down.” — Raven Sings The Blues
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Genre: Avant~Garde, Pop/Rock
Album release: September 6, 2019
Record Label:
01 Breathe Underwater   2:53
02 Boat Ride II   3:21
03 Facets of a Holy Diamond   5:01
04 Patternmaker   4:32
05 Stay Low   3:34
06 Crop Circle   3:13
07 Become the Light   4:47
08 Improvisation for Mark Hollis   4:37
09 Look at the Light (Source)   9:40
✹     A sweeping introduction to an artist deep into their practice, Kendra Amalie’s Intuition is a star map to a new and developing sound space. An exploratory and (sometimes) shredding finger~style 12~string guitarist (both acoustic and electric), band leader, synthesist, new media creator, and experimental producer, the Wisconsin~based musician is also a songwriter occupying an ethereal zone between galaxy~brain cosmic transmissions and deep, personal expression.
✹     There’s a concept and narrative arc to Intuition, too, the action moving from underwater locales to boat to city to global consciousness to farmland to the etheric plane and back to water. But the movements are equally a guide through the world(s) of Kendra Amalie and a culmination/transition/next step following a decade~and~change of cassettes and ambitious projects including Names Divine, 11:11, and a range of directions in collaborative improvised music and solo sound work. Shifting her music~making energies over the past several years, Intuition is the sound of a powerful new voice in focus.
✹     The opener (and first single) “Breathe Underwater” is both an invocation and a headbanger, and like every track on Intuition almost nothing like any other track. Both rigorous and open~formed, Intuition contains multitudes, from the hypno~noise/freak~out/grace of “Become the Light” to the 12~string meditation “Improvisation For Mark Hollis,” from the psychedelic realizations of “Facets of a Holy Diamond” to the pedal steel~touched “Stay Low.”
✹     Recorded with friends in her shed in Saint Francis, Intuition’s band included a core rhythm section of drummer Victoria Robison and bassist Sam Cook, with remote support from Taralie Peterson (cello), Al Moss (pedal steel), Peter McLaughlin (drums) and Jayve Montgomery (oboe), alongside the mixing effort of long~time collaborator Brian J. Sulpizio in Chicago. The live iteration of the album is more shape~shifting, encompassing solo performances accompanied by motion~controlled synths as well as more fully supported by a corporeal rock band. Intuition is a sound~based cross~section of a larger body of work. An arrival and a destination, Intuition is also surely a stopover, too. Meet Kendra Amalie.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas; Score: ★★★★
✹     As the guiding force behind her band Names Divine, singer~songwriter/multi~instrumentalist Kendra Amalie leaned into dark textures and sprawling experimentalism. In the context of that band, her songs were pained and explosive rock, like an early Velvet Underground at their most tortured meeting the cosmic expanse of working~class underground drifters like Major Stars or Bardo Pond.
With her first proper solo album, Intuition, Amalie branches out in several different directions while sharpening her sounds at every turn. The album begins with the tense, nearly gothic rocker “Breathe Underwater.” Composed of spindly guitars, gigantic drums, and dour vocal harmonies, the overpowering presence of the song buries more subtle details like soft synth countermelodies and glimmering guitar textures. The next tune, “Boat Ride II,” switches gears to an almost jarring degree. The completely instrumental track is one of several where Amalie shows off her chops on 12~string acoustic guitar, styled in the rural traditions of American primitive artists like Robbie Basho and John Fahey. The song is lively and celebratory, offsetting the pained energy that directly preceded it. Amalie drifts between moods in this way throughout the album, with shifty folk moments like “Stay Low” and the eruptively dynamic “Become the Light” occupying space beside droning experiments, solitary improvisations, and the nearly ten~minute album closer, “Look at the Light (Source),” an experimental collage of ambient textures and free playing. Amalie’s multifaceted sonic personality lands well because of her focused vision. Whether she’s dazzling on fingerstyle guitar, singing a sinister pop song, or experimenting with synths and droning feedback, all the elements carry her distinctive stamp and fit together in the strange but welcoming landscape of Intuition.