Inspired by baroque yet echoing '80s synth gloom, Borusiade's excellent LP gestures to the past to portray an uncertain present.
"It's obvious that you represent a generation that knows it's doomed," CTM Festival curator Michail Stangl told Borusiade after seeing her play there in 2018. She didn't disagree. The Romanian producer makes gloomy, '80s-inflected synth pop and techno. (However, she has said that she is much more inspired by a childhood spent in a classical-music choir in Bucharest.) The result is greyscale but romantic. Doomed, sure, but also sexy—not quite goth though almost there. Fortunate Isolation, her second album, is inspired by the idea of a bystander experiencing the changing world from afar. Alienated, incisive and affecting, the LP is a wistful commentary that sounds like a lost classic from the '80s, only with themes updated for the modern day.
A few instrumental tracks, like "Welcome Them," hint at her baroque past. They're simple but pull a lot of weight—the impact of Borusiade's music often comes from its compositional strength. Still, she's one of the best lyricists in dance music, whether she's throwing down poetic couplets ("Dreams are lurking like the shadows / Of the memories you forgot") or matter-of-fact statements, like when she mutters "I'm reading the news again" with the same mixture of fatigue and fatalism any headline junkie will recognize. Her voice is all over the album, pooling into a dreary swirl on "When I Read The News Today" or a jabbing, halting cadence on "To The Self" (which resembles an angry Chris & Cosey track). Her voice is both focal point and wallpaper, as much a part of the foundation as the sputtering sequencers and world-weary pads.
"Time (No Time)" repeats the mantra, "This is our time / This is no time," which helps define the album's taciturn yet powerful narrative, a black-sky-thinking also present in titles like "The Death Of A Desire (A Ghost)" and "Lament (Fortunate Isolation)." That track—the album's best—is particularly poignant. "Just a soul on a timeline / Sorting out my beliefs," she sings in a gorgeous choral arrangement on "Lament (Fortunate Isolation)," before adding, "Nothing left to believe in." It's a familiar sentiment for those living in a world whose politics seem to deceive, disappoint and threaten at every turn. Fortunate Isolation, as much of a reprieve as it is a commentary, paints a picture of that world as something dark but still beautiful.
Tracklist01. Welcome Them
02. Time (No Time)
03. When I Read The News Today
04. Mirror Hall (This Relief)
05. They Pass By
06. The Death Of A Desire (A Ghost)
07. Lament (Fortunate Isolation)
08. To The Self