Self Released (label)
28 February 2020 (released)
28 February 2020
‘The weird and the eerie work at this from the other direction … they allow us to see the inside from the perspective of the outside.” (Mark Fisher, 2016)
Lithuanian native/London resident Johanna Glaza applies this external perspective, looking towards inward navel-gazing on gloriously atmospheric fourth album ‘Exile’.
On Glaza’s Bandcamp she lists her musical input, qualities and attributes as ‘pianos, keys, lungs’ which are all deployed to maximal-effect/minimal-affect.
A fastidious artist who abjures the quick-fix and surfaced-mix of modern recording techniques, ‘Exile’ exudes the elemental, the ethereal and the empathetic.
Breathless, near-deathless and nevertheless hypnotically hypnogogic, these seven arias comprise an almost pagan-folk detournment through found sounds, spectral surrounds and medieval meditations.
The overall feeling is like a haunt-illogical derive through every (hu)man-as-an-island ridden with chequered pasts and beleaguered futures (‘Dear Life’s missive to existence where ‘time is a gate’ and ‘Lonely Island’s space of displacement ‘to the ‘other’ side).
There are tonal traces of Kate Bush’s idiosyncratic English apartness within a unified British identity formation (albeit an illusory one), and an analogue purity and clarity that operates between baroque and an art place.
The opening ‘Exile’ delicately presses the ‘bruises upon your heart’, a tender and sore spot that suggests a nation separation that leaves an indelible trace. A sombre timbre that sets the tone.
Album closer is the William Blake inspired ‘Albion’ (which first came out as an E.P. in 2018). Throat-caught emotions trapped and released in slow-motion are allied to pulse-racing percussion that amounts to a beguiling tale: of terror, fallen men, shadowy spirits and the ever slippery serpent that concludes with "all is confusion: all is tumult, and we alone are escaped”. A gothic redemption song.
The only danger for this album is for a bank or some such misery-manipulator to gauchely attach these sounds to an advert for debt or penury.
Picture it: a galloping horse rushes to meet its jockey, their partnership one based purely on financial fruits, a union of usury in a mad-dash race to the finish line of no end.
Actually, don’t picture it, then it won’t happen.