Klara Lewis – Msuic EP
Sometime early this year, a friend of mine started referring to that breed of greyscale electronics as ‘tinned techno’ which sums up the trappings rather well; dark, sombre, slumber techno preserved in fluid state until the sides start to congeal and packaged to await activation. A meal sure, but one in which the essence of its ingredients have been reduced. There’s a relative over-supply of the stuff by enamoured artists and a distinct repetition in terms of formula, perhaps even a kind of gradual inertia to the blunted moods of violence, dread, anxiety, and tension that tend to be conveyed. As a result, I’m becoming increasingly tempted to pass over a record as soon as I see some b/w cover or mention of an annex between knowing clusters of genres.
Newcomer Klara Lewis, since her arrival and debut LP Ett this year, is a new hope at least. Fuelled by an interest in collecting and reorganising field recordings into new sympathetic instruments, that record for Editions Mego was an examination of dark elements and introspective shifts handled with above-average delicacy and care; the results massaging their way into your core. With so much techno and experimental music hammering its way in, or caught in some suspended or compressed state with faded, or ‘tinned’ flavours, such a fragrant, fine approach is appreciable and even feels markably divergent.
Msuic EP takes a different approach, greeting with a hot blast of static that might serve to reset expectation. Often with the use of field recordings there’s a temptation to train-spot samples and origins, but Klara works well to obliterate clear-cut reference points – translating the more insubstantial qualities as an influence unto new fabrication instead. In this instance something hot and prickly, charged with a new force and direction. That this sharpness is then followed by three extended pieces of much softer, more organic textural work might suggest Lewis’s burgeoning interest in dynamic ranges being pressed into short phases – and the result is certainly effective.
Though young, it’s clear Lewis has a remarkable ability for what could, for lack of a better term, be termed world building. It takes a particular confidence to rearrange sonic elements in such an ardent manner – and skill to manage it so successfully. “Msuic III” has a loose, almost leisurely flirtation with rhythm and dance-music-a-like vocal play, and the lineage of the label Msuic is released on (run by fellow Swede Peder Mannerfelt) indicates a growing relationship with Techno. The overall feel, however, is that of sound art, or modern compositional techniques that strongly reconcile with the territories of soundtracks or scoring.
A narrative that remains strangely incorporeal is deeply embedded in each of these tracks, projected rather than prescribed; with the room to bring something as a listener. Maybe it’s cheeky to be lamenting flattened techno and praising something like Msuic EP in the same breath, but there’s not that much difference between this and an Andy Stott album, and I know which one l reach for at the minute.
A1. Msuic I
A2. Msuic II
B1. Msuic III
B2. Msuic IV