JULIA HOLTER, Jessica Pratt, Ruby Ridge
69 Kilmarnock Street
Boston, MA, 02215
This event is 21 and over
Julia Holter's second album, Ekstasis, is a collection of songs written across the span of three years in Los Angeles, California.
Holter's songwriting stems from a mythological reverence of that which is incomprehensibly beautiful. Her Eating the Stars EP (2007) was a first attempt at musically transcribing this beauty, while discovering the honest enjoyment of unadulterated creativity. The anonymous authorship and shimmering gold detail of medieval illuminated manuscripts particularly inspired the ornately-orchestrated pop song mystery of Stars. Holter's debut album Tragedy (Leaving Records, 2011) embraced similar strains of shimmer, but used sparser textures in a narrative context.
Ekstasis marks a return to the playful searching of Stars, but guided by newly-learned disciplines, slightly better technology, and nearly limitless home recording time. Formative experiences at Cal Arts studying with Michael Pisaro and in India singing with harmonium under guru Pashupati nath Mishra marked a slight detour for Holter in what started as a more traditional composition route. The trajectory leading to the creation of Ekstasis suggests her thirst for knowledge and experience.
While Ekstasis reflects the conventions of her classical training, the album is also uncannily, if unknowingly, poppy. Holter's approach to crafting the songs of Ekstasis centered around what she describes as, "open ear decisions: what seemed to sound best for that moment." This blindness to reference unintentionally steers Ekstasis along the experimental pop spectrum most commonly associated to New York's Downtown music micro-universe of the 80s, specifically the works of Laurie Anderson and Arthur Russell.
"To say that Jessica Pratt is an old soul would be a vast understatement," says Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork. "The young San Francisco singer/songwriter's deeply intimate folk sounds so sincerely cast in from the 1960s that it's hard to believe she didn't release a proper LP during that period of time." Pratt's spooky and seductive self-titled debut is the inaugural release on Tim (White Fence) Presley's new imprint, Birth Records. "I never wanted to start a label," Presley says, "but there is something about her voice I couldn't let go of."
Pratt's debut release includes recordings from over the last five years, and steady advances in sophistication of recording and melody are evident throughout. To the artist, the record is a time-lapse document of discovery, both musical and personal. But in strangers' hands, Pratt's debut is another kind of discovery altogether. A fully-formed emerald artifact dug up cobwebby and cold but no less green for its time spent buried. Sun-bleached and sounding a thousand years old, Pratt's debut is arrestingly brand dazzling new, and watch how the lights in your living room go soft and yellow when you put it on.
Pratt, who is planning to tour in March with Presley's White Fence, has garnered praise in the Bay Area supporting acts such as Bart Davenport, Colossal Yes, Tim Cohen and Dominant Legs.
Jessica Pratt's debut is now available digitally on iTunes andAmazon. CD/LP is available now at http://birthrcrds.com