Klara Lewis

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Ett (2014), 7/10
Too (2016), 6/10
Care (2018), 5/10

Swedish composer Klara Lewis (1993), the the daughter of Graham Lewis of new-wave band Wire, debuted with EP (2012) and the album Ett (2014). The ten futuristic instrumental vignettes in the Brian Eno/ Throbbing Gristle tradition maintain a discreet and graceful tone, the opposite of the explosive overtones preferred by similar artists. There is no grandeur in the industrial metronomes and miasmas of Untilted, in the horror-psychedelic vertigo of 49th Hour, and in the aquatic disorientation of Surfaced, but rather a documentarian approach to possible future post-human worlds. In fact, a celestial feeling emanates from the undulating glitch ambient music of Shine. A twisted sense of humor leaks out of some pieces: Catt is gritty minimal techno peppered with alien signals, and the chant of a muezzin is an excuse to unleash the metallic hordes of Muezzin. The 12-minute Altered is the peak of this music that is both atmospheric and cryptic, thanks to a beat that partly steps in the dark and partly the ticking of a clock, a grating unstable drone, a random pattern that could be barking dogs or cars in a tunnel, hints of birds and wind and gongs, a sense of being dropped blindfolded in a mysterious land.

An appendix to the album was the EP Msuic (Peder Mannerfelt, 2014), containing four untitled pieces.

The compositions of Too (Editions Mego, 2016) are generally denser but less "glitch-y". Past the minimalist frenzy of the first two pieces, View and Twist, eerie melodies begin to percolate in brainy structures: there is maybe a pop song drowned in the swampy beats and radioactive drones of Too and a Renaissance madrigal buried under the gloomy droning shroud of Once. The seven-minute cocktail of found voices Beaming feels a bit lazy, but standout Us is an evocative blender of human and machine sounds. There aren't many moments that recall the abstract impressionism of Ett, notably Else.

Care (Editions Mego, 2018) was a collaboration with Simon Fisher Turner, the English composer of soundtracks for Derek Jarman's films. Their abstract collages of found voices and snippets of music are not particularly original, recalling the musique concrete and electronic music of the 1960s. Thus Tank (11:31) and 8 (14:16) sound like lost Stockhausen pieces (but minor ones). Even where the sounds are more intriguing and better amalgamated in a narrative structure, like in the pulsing parts of Drone (8:01), the result tends to be meandering and chaotic, as if the piece was largely improvised. The floating cosmic music of Mend (10:05) sounds like a glitch remix of Klaus Shulze's early cosmic poems.

The 20-minute piece of the EP Ingrid (Editions Mego, 2020) is a simple minimalist piece that revolves around a single cello loop, which gets increasingly distorted until it becomes a tidal wave of noise.

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