Elysia Crampton

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
American Drift (Blueberry, 2015), 6.5/10
Demon City (Break World, 2016), 6/10
Spots y Escupitajo (Vinyl Factory, 2017), 5/10
Elysia Crampton (Break World, 2018), 6.5/10 (EP)
Orcorara 2010 (2020), 5.5/10

Elysia Crampton, a transgender born in California of Bolivian heritage, formerly known as E+E when she self-released E&E (2008) and The Light that you Gave me to See you (2012), adopted her real name after relocating to Virginia for American Drift (Blueberry, 2015) and the EP Moth/Lake (2015). The former contains the nine-minute Latin-tinged ambient suite Axacan, the atmospheric collage of Petrichrist with a repeated melodic fragment and a typewriter-like beat, and the ten-minute Wing, a sort of chopped-up fanfare and folk dance further disrupted by chirping synths and vocal samples. Add the hypnotic Amazonic jungle dance Lake from the single. The formula had already crystallyzed: a fusion of electronics and Andean folk music with occasional ventures in dance music.

Demon City (Break World, 2016) collects collaborations with producers such as Tobias "Why Be" Lee (the sci-fi trip Irreducible Horizon), Eric "Rabit" Burton (the superb whirling cacophony of After Woman and The Demon City), Chino Amobi (the hysterical African dance Dummy Track and especially the disintegrating cubistic fanfare Children of Hell), and Felix "Lexxi" Lee of the "Endless Parties" fame (the symphonic skit Esposas 2013 and the jovial synth-pop ditty Red Eyez).

She collaborated with Kelela and Adrian Piper on Final Exam (2016). Spots y Escupitajo (Vinyl Factory, 2017) contains 14 songs, mostly microscopic ones but also the nine-minute, pensive, piano-based fantasia Spittle.

The EP Elysia Crampton (Break World, 2018) six brief instrumentals that sound like a condensed compendium of her major works: an impressionistic vignette (Nativity), an industrial nightmare (Solilunita), a hypnotic dance (Oscollo), a chaotic fanfare (Pachuyma), a surrealistic clockwork (Orion Song), and a futuristic musichall skit (Moscow). The generation that had not known Brian Eno was mesmerized.

The concept album Orcorara 2010 (2020), originally the soundtrack of an art installation, toys with a number of techniques without settling into anyone in particular, from the percussive feast of Spring of Wound to the ambient tranquillity of Crest and to the sinister glitchy drones of Abolition. The eight-minute opener, Secret Ravine, is in fact a manifesto of this method, running the gamut from hellich electronics to Steve Reich-style piano minimalism with all sorts of detours, including a cute vibrato guitar riff. Unfortunately too much of the album is taken up by spoken-word sections (mostly poetry reading), notably the endless 15-minute Morning Star-Red Glare-Sequoia Bridge. This album also marks her venture into semi-classical music: if Homeless is a rather amateurish piano sonata, a female singer intones the prayer-like chamber lied Crucifixion, a much more poignant piece.

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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