20 March 2012 Stuff We Like
Julia Holter - Ekstasis
When I started hearing about this album, all the words that people used to describe it made me believe it was totally up my alley – dreamy, atmospheric, droney – I knew I had to give it a good listen. Despite that, this album actually surprised me because I just didn’t think that those adjectives described music with such prominent vocals. And that really is the foundation and strength of this album – Julia Holter’s massive vocals. The interesting thing is that is isn’t like she has some powerhouse belting voice; she has quite the opposite, a light and airy sound that she layers delicately throughout her songs. It yields a very tender and personal sound, complementary to the hazy instrumentals that weave from song to song.
This album doesn’t necessarily fit into any one category (a quality so many great albums today achieve), it has elements of many genres and musicians. There is a psychedelic vibe, a touch of Joanna Newsom vocals and structure, some Ariel Pink instrumentals and maybe even a tiny tiny bit of Kate Bush. But even as I mention those similarities with other musicians, it isn’t quite any of those. As soon as I think, “oh this sounds like …” the song changes and sounds totally different. Each song, while maintaining an overall cohesion with the album, is a little different stylistically. This is what makes you want to listen to this album – it is dynamic but masked behind that dreamy static feeling.
There really could be no better time than the spring for this album to come out as it often feels like these songs wash over you like the first warm breeze. I feel like “Boy in the Moon” could be paired with a really slow time lapse of a flower opening – it has that long ethereal sentiment, like laying in the grass on a sunny day and watching the clouds. But then you get to a song like “Goddess Eyes II” which is much more structured melodically and almost pop-y at times (even though it is a lengthy but worth-it 6 minutes long).
All I can say when I get to the end of this album is – thank god spring is here, I need to listen to this album again.
– Celeste Classon