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kara-lis coverdale - grafts ep (boomkat editions)

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kara-lis coverdale: grafts

A sublime and quietly hypnotic work belied by steadfast conceptual rigor, Grafts is the most ambitious and involving work yet from Kara-Lis Coverdale, her first since 2015. In three parts of cascading yet plaintive multi-instrumental gestures, Grafts expands on the processing and self-temperament techniques explored on 2014's A 480 into a more encompassing palette. Uncompromisingly distinct while redolent of modal minimalism, '70s new age, and folk music, Grafts effectively blurs distinctions between traditional composition and more open, overlapping genres that hover in the half-light between acoustic and electronic refinement. Rather than anything grandiose or explicitly seductive, the effect of Grafts is best compared with the subtle intoxication of micro-dosing on LSD or the clarity afforded by quiet meditation, in a sense dilating the listener's focus to a heightened awareness of the piece's intricate peripheral tones as much as its melodic center ground, with a beautifully understated, surreal resolution. The piece flickers with gentle optimism, never at random, illuminating unseen spaces that quickly gradient into nothingness. Frames of reference are numerous and on the face of it largely disconnected; the deviant pop instinct of Arthur Russell, the organic/synthetic love songs of Art Of Noise, the meditative, almost hallucinogenic spiraling compositions of Philip Glass and Terry Riley, the intoxicated minimal romance of Erik Satie, Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto's austere, beautiful sound sculpting... all, and none of the above. In both concept and execution, Grafts firmly resonates with Kara-Lis Coverdale's deeply established roots as an improvisational virtuoso and accomplished pianist as much as her academically informed approach to electroacoustic composition that showcases a distinct omnivorous appetite for the digital. But it's an emotional generosity that proves to be its defining, most intangible characteristic. Never fully coming to a resolution, lingering on like a slowly dispersing plume of smoke. Kara-Lis has previously contributed to records by Tim Hecker, Lee Bannon, and How To Dress Well.

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