1: 14 August 2019
1: 14 August 2019
Everything becomes absurd over time. With enough repeats, the most beautiful melody is drained to a husk of arbitrary angles and surfaces. Paradoxically, incidental details can also accrue profound weight when placed on infinite loop. Accidents become rituals. On first listen, this record seems to stretch to both ends of the spectrum: as the Casio percussion and pinwheeling synthesisers unravel over several minutes, idling over the same melodic phrase again and again, R. Elizabeth excavates both a transcendent intensity and a comedic nonsense. On one hand, those gleaming harmonies – like constellated bundles of fairy lights – only shine brighter over time, the glare like angelic fingers outstretched. On the other, the rhythmic movement of these loops starts to feel increasingly awkward, with each stumble of imperfect timing becoming increasingly exaggerated, like someone becoming so aware of themselves that they forget how to walk normally.
R. Elizabeth’s voice ties it all into one. During the joyous pulse of “An Image Is Different”, she sounds both radiant and fed up. Vowels are unravel into beautiful choral tones, or perhaps just deep evening sighs, as she delivers affirmations with neither vigour nor indifference. On “Back From Ten”, she emits her words with monotonous fatigue, as though shuffling her way down a spiral staircase. In both cases, the emotional weight is laced with absurdity: muttering undercurrents of “I don’t know…I really don’t care” during the former, garbled tape chatter during the latter. Within these pockets of recurrent pop, R. Elizabeth squeezes herself into that dissonant margin between striking upon a central purpose and questioning the point in doing anything, where each repetition either intensifies the colours of life or obliterates them entirely.