Lucrecia Dalt - Anticlines

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  • An anticline is a fold in the landscape caused by tectonic plates squeezing together stratified rock. As Lucrecia Dalt, who worked as a geotechnical engineer in her native Colombia, explained to the Wire recently: "In an anticline, you have the old strata on the bottom and the new strata on the top […] Because of the compression on both sides, the strata that is the oldest is coming to the centre and sometimes it can be revealed." The term serves as a guiding principle for her new album, which is all about interiors being exposed and surfaces coming into ambiguous contact. On the opener, "Edge," she assumes the character of El Boraro, a Colombian bogeyman who drinks its victims' insides through a hole in their head before re-inflating them like a balloon. Pretty gross stuff, but there's more than horror to this encounter: "And my breath would fill your lungs until it felt like your breath / And when you spoke you'd have a voice that was not quite you / And not quite me." Dalt has always worked with ideas and cryptic metaphors, giving her sparse songs sedimentary layers of meaning. On Anticlines, her first album for RVNG Intl., the Berlin-based artist is on sharper form than ever. The acoustic spine of some of her earlier albums has been discarded, and with it the music's last wisps of tweeness. Her singing, sidelined on 2015's Ou, has returned as spoken word. Dalt's smoky spoken style, and the texts she devised with the Australian artist Henry Andersen, suit her twilit sound world to a tee, and the tracks that foreground this element are the standouts. "Tar" is the natural single for its gossamer thread of melody. (Anticlines has very few tunes, though that doesn't count against it.) There's a sly groove to its splashy synthetic percussion, too, which recurs on "Analogue Mountains," whose bleeping clave rhythm is begging for expansion. Other tracks show ghostly traces of techno's straighter throb, particularly "Errors Of Skin," where a string of questions meet splatters of dissonant chord. Dalt's modular synth sound design is brilliant throughout. Her sounds do more of the lifting as her voice drifts into the background in the album's second half. On "Concentric Nothings" she's an unintelligible robot cloud. By "Eclipsed Subject" she's literally been eclipsed by brittle vocoder treatment. A series of instrumentals pivot and twist slyly, dropping hints of chord and lithe rhythm, but the bolder moments of the album's opening section aren't repeated. Instead it ends with a track called "Antiform," two minutes of hiss and vague metallic clanking. At first this is sort of a disappointment, but on repeat listens it deepens the album's appeal. Another of Anticlines' recurring ideas is the heliopause, the boundary where the solar wind meets the wind from other stars. With such inhuman scales—the geological, the astronomical—in play, it's no wonder that the human all but disappears.
  • Tracklist
      01. Edge 02. Altra 03. Tar 04. Atmospheres Touch 05. Errors Of Skin 06. Analogue Mountains 07. Axis Excess 08. Indifferent Universe 09. Concentric Nothings 10. Helio Tanz 11. Glass Brain 12. Liminalidad 13. Eclipsed Subject 14. Antiform