- Various artists take Pramuk's vocal-only compositions to new heights on this unusually ambitious remix album.
- Lyra Pramuk's music has always found a way to change perspectives using little more than her voice. In 2017, her debut single featured caustically enunciated verses over a dubstep-style arrangement, where the cutting nature of her voice elevated the music underneath it. On 2018's "Scrytch," her classically trained vocal chords took centre stage, before 2020's debut album, Fountain, put her on the map in a big way. Devoid of anything but her voice—sampled, stretched, looped and processed—the LP felt human and artificial at the same time, redefining what you can do with vocals in electronic music.
Pramuk's latest project, Delta, seeks to redefine something else: the remix album. It features artists from all corners of contemporary electronic music, from the peaceful drone of composer Kara-Lis Coverdale to the heavy metal dance of Gabber Modus Operandi. Every artist was given total creative freedom over Pramuk's work. They could choose to remix a single track or take stems from the entire Fountain album. The result is a blend of remixes, reinterpretations and covers, similar to Caterina Barbieri's brilliant Fantas Variations LP from earlier this year.
Despite its gargantuan tracklist and diverse cast of guests, Delta comes together cohesively. Like a good DJ set, it flows through a distinct beginning, middle and end, building up to a climax and then gently descending, with more thought than a typical remix album. Valgeir Sigurðsson's "Offering" is a magnificent opener, pulling together parts from Pramuk's entire discography over a contemplative dub techno backdrop. It feels like a movie montage chronicling her musical beginnings up until now.
Delta presents a spectrum of young artists who are defining the new wave of experimental electronic music. Colin Self, a previous collaborator of Pramuk's, puts a sci-fi twist on "Witness," which plays out like an alternate score to War Of The Worlds. Kenyan sound artist KMRU pads Pramuk's humming vocal tones with his typical environmental field recordings, which makes things feel fuzzy and serene.
Contributions from Hudson Mohawke and Caterina Barbieri take things closer to the dance floor. Mohawke's "Midnight Peach Rework" of "Tendril" is a snare-driven burst of energy, as Pramuk's vocals waver and harmonize like a quartet over his dazzling video game synths. Barbieri's take on the same track, called the "Germinative Rework," sees her meticulous synth work moving like microscopic cells dilly-dallying around. The peak comes with Eris Drew's "Everything Is Beautiful & Alive," with its seductive '90s house organs and bouncy kick drums.
These two extremes are bridged by artists like Ben Frost, whose "Patience Rework" of "Cradle" builds tension with glitchy, gentle harmonies that contrast against Pramuk's deeper notes. Stretching the vocals into alien tones, Nailah Hunter's gorgeous "Distant Shores" remix is sandwiched between the trap stylings of Heaven In Stereo's "Gossip" flip and Tygapaw's remix of "New Moon," which closes the album in a flash of bumping trance techno. Pramuk's vocals hang in the air like a persistent fog.
Remix albums, at best, can feel like a bunch of unrelated tracks bundled together. But with Pramuk's thoughtful curation this sprawling remix record becomes an artistic triumph in its own right. Track by track, each artist's interpretation takes us down a new leg of a kaleidoscopic journey. Delta repurposes the already groundbreaking Fountain album, taking Pramuk's voice to new extremes. It's another example of the remarkable creativity that seems to pour out of Pramuk at every turn.
01. Valgeir Sigurðsson - Offering
02. Colin Self - Witness (Selfless Rework)
03. KMRU - Constructs Of Still
04. Hudson Mohawke - Tendril (Midnight Peach Rework)
05. Kara-Lis Coverdale - Returnless
06. Caterina Barbieri - Tendril (Germinative Rework)
07. Vessel - Fountain (ars amatoria)
08. Eris Drew - Sugarcube Revelations
09. Eris Drew - Everything Is Beautiful & Alive
10. Ben Frost - Cradle (Patience Rework)
11. Gabber Modus Operandi - Kaca Bulan Baru
12. Heaven in Stereo - Gossip (Catalyst Rework)
13. Nailah Hunter - New Moon (Distant Shores Rework)
14. Tygapaw - New Moon (In Pisces Rework)