Review: Klara Lewis – Too

eMEGO210_frontAnd so Too materialises all by itself, thickening from the sound of amplifiers left humming, of vocal loops beating against the walls like trapped moths, of the buoyant rhythms of plastic cups being rubbed together. The opening four minutes, titled “View”, embark on a transition from idle noise to visceral, undeniable music – Lewis’ sound gains muscle and deliberate intent, hijacking accident and turning it into wilful statement. All of the sculptures on Too demonstrate her ability to electrify incidental noise with purpose, employing nomadic sound in the performance of tangible tasks. Perhaps all of the chance collisions of life are just waiting, aloft and astray, for Lewis to co-opt them into her interconnected, organically mechanised worldview.

It’s rare for an album to deliver this intensity of conviction while still operating within the realm of sound design abstraction. All manner of source material is bent and reshaped into the cogs of the Too machine: electronic drones coughing through bad wires, reflexive vocal sighs and extracted flights of operatic falsetto, the high-pitched whirrs of 1970s submarine circuit boards, trombones stretched into golden metallic clouds. Meanwhile, the rhythms to which they adhere are crooked and undanceable, driven by anything but a recognisable drum sample: fists pounding against loose floorboards, old machines threatening to rattle out of their loose chassis. These are the sounds that usually reside at the periphery of consciousness, quietly shrouding the sonic information to which we usually apply greater importance. Too awakens me to the arrogance of my listening habits. There are assumptions that cause me to discard vast swathes of the soundworld as valueless, as I listen instead for those emblems of the familiar. Over the course of the record’s 40 minutes, I hear the window draughts and public chatter that I habitually ignore, dragged into the centre of the frame and stacked into totem poles that I can no longer overlook so easily. Is there such a thing as aimlessness, or does this merely refer to objectives that we are too naïve to fully comprehend?