In the lead up to the official release of Kin, Jonna Lee has done a few choice interviews which have definitely shed small rays of light upon her vision. One of my favourite realisations from the odd feature in The Guide was when she spoke about the moniker being a question to herself. I was previously under the assumption that the name iamamiwhoami was used in the early stages and that it was always planned that it would be replaced but that the name stuck. It makes the project seem far more fluid and open-ended I suppose - even Jonna herself doesn’t know all the answers. Anyway. Along with the preview of the upcoming interview with Notion Magazine later this month, this photo has just been posted online. Brilliantly odd, sexual and mysterious. Seeing as those bizarre hairy monsters were such a feature of the first 2 thirds of Kin, maybe this image is in reference to them. Whatever it is they represent, Jonna is perhaps purging herself of it. Whatever it means, it’s incredible and there are apparently more images from the same shoot to come.
Strip Steve feat. Puro Instinct - Astral Projection
Berlin-based producer Strip Steve unleashes the incredible Astral Projection, the first track to be previewed from his upcoming debut album Micro Mega featuring California sisters Puro Instinct in their first appearance since last year’s releases of their excellent album Headbangers In Ecstasy. The combination of Strip Steve’s European dance sound and Puro’s signature dreamy vocals and soft, hazey guitars gives the track a distinctly stellar sound that all comes together in the awesome, other-dimensional video.
Luke Abbott - Modern Driveway (Jon Hopkins piano version)
Taken from Luke Abbott’s excellent recently released EP of the same name, Modern Driveway is a joyous 5 and a half minutes of soft, humming synths whilst a gently skipping beat keeps the whole thing in perpetual motion. In the hands of producer Jon Hopkins, the track is stripped back to its melodic core and reinterpreted as a stark, Harold Budd-esque piano lament. Hear the original here.
The first track to be unleashed from Matthew Dear’s upcoming fifth album, Beams. Built around expansive synth sounds and mechanical clicks and whistles, Her Fantasy conjures a bright and wide sound but Dear’s gurgling vocals and juddering deep bass notes keep the whole thing from bursting open.
The alleged penultimate video in the Kin series was unveiled last week. And rather than post this one immediately, I decided to wait and let the melody and imagery sink in. Lyrically, the song appears to describe anxiety (“..nervous and nauseous, all this commotion is not worth it”) in the run up to the arrival or dawning of an event (“the second coming”). It also seems to imply that Jonna herself is exhausted and not looking forward to this second coming. Visually, it is the clearest representation so far that these videos have been representing two realities. We see Jonna deep within the closet (on the mountains and in the ocean) and also sitting in her dark apartment. Presumably the ocean is the result of the waters that fall from Jonna’s legs which implies the onset of child birth. Within the safety and secrecy of Jonna’s imaginary and created world (the closet), her creation is near completion and she is utterly submerged in it. However, it is beginning to overflow into the real world (the water is dripping out of the closet) where Jonna sits in nervous apprehension. Also, lights begin to shine from behind her in the apartment which is a direct reference to similar lighting effects used in 2010’s “o” video. I believe this video represents the imminent arrival of Kin and its release into the world. And also the point at which there will be tangible proof that Jonna is iamamiwhoami and can no longer “hide” behind her videos.
The Kin series for me, has been unexpected. I assumed early on that once Jonna had made it out of her apartment, we would be exposed to all manner of typically odd and otherworldly iamamiwhoami creations in a similar vein to the BOUNTY series. However, what is apparent to me now is that, as an artist, Jonna has used this unique vehicle she has built to lay herself completely bear, devoid of any costumes or make up or camera tricks, and take us on a deeply personal journey. In avoiding the complicated narratives and references from her earlier work, she has accomplished something far more poignant and brave. She has exposed herself, looking at times, exhausted, upset or naked to express an emotional journey of self discovery. Just what she has been journeying to over-come is still unclear.
Taken from pianist/composer Will Dutta’s debut album Parergon. This piece is a collaboration with electronic duo Plaid and I feel it comes off as a perfect amalgamation of the two sound worlds; existing as a complete, contemporary work and not as an attempt at crossing over the two genres. A feat which I feel must be the ideal goal for a collaborative project.
Taken from R.I.P, the recently released second album from London based Darren Cunningham aka Actress, an album that flits between experimental electronics and juddering beats to moments like this; refracted, aquatic-sounding bursts of softly ringing synths.
The sixth video in the run up to the release of iamamiwhoami’s eagerly awaited debut physical release is the most emotionally charged and nostalgic video yet. It shows Jonna awake covered in ash in the clearing from the video for Play. I presume this is following her being hit by lightning and that the scenes in the barn and all of In Due Order were either an imagined scene or an alternative reality (as I am convinced there are two realities or characters being portrayed). As she stands and brushes the ash from herself, the sky begins to fill with birds and landscapes from previous videos are shown (including Good Worker, t, n and possibly the live concert). Both the visuals and lyrics imply that Jonna is mourning or pining for her abandoned child and she suddenly turns and retraces her steps through all the previous scenes and back to the apartment from Sever. As she stands next to a wardrobe, we can see momentarily the reflection of the building opposite. Just before the camera cuts to show Jonna opening the door of the wardrobe, a solitary light in the reflection goes out. I believe this indicates that either her male counterpart or the small hairy creature (who we see occupy the building opposite in Drops) have left their apartment. As the wardrobe is opened, sand spills out and Jonna begins to crawl inside. Could this be where the two realities or story lines meet? Will Jonna finally face what she has been denying or avoiding? According to the recently unveiled details of the album release, there are three chapters remaining, I anticipate one incredible finale. It seems as though as this story continues, more references to the past videos are being made. Perhaps some questions will be answered.
King Felix is Laurel Halo using the title of her 2010 EP as a pseudonym under which she will release the four track Spring EP next week as the first release from new Mute imprint, Liberation Technologies. Working under this new name, Halo creates a harder, more insistent sound than before. I believe the title of the EP and the first three tracks is in reference to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as I’m certain that I can hear extracts from the piece from about 20 seconds in. The orchestral samples however have been treated in such a way that the woodwind and brass motifs blend into the textures and come out sounding any of the other rich electronic sounds being created. Incredible work. And as if that wasn’t enough, Laurel Halo has unveiled the details of her debut album Quarantine which will be released on May 28th on Hyperdub. See the artwork for Quarantine below.
Excellent first taste of new material from Dirty Projectors from their as yet unnamed (and eagerly awaited) new album due later this year. Singer Dave Longstreth pushes his voice to breaking point whilst those familiar backing vocal harmonies reach new levels of intensity and all of this over a seductive, skipping bass and drum pattern.