Boomkat Product Review:
Lucy Railton completely upends parameters and expectations with a genius, multifaceted and uncompromisingly forward-facing new album, her second for Modern Love. Blurring distinctions between structured composition and more visceral modes of performance, ’Corner Dancer’ is full of bristling, charged energies, dissolving into sections of almost incomprehensible beauty. It’s one of the most quietly radical albums of the year, required listening if you’re into Maryanne Amacher, HTRK, François Bayle x Graham Lambkin.
Following her 2018 solo debut ‘Paradise 94’, and countless collaborations in the time since - in duo with legendary EMS co-founder Peter Zinovieff (RIP), in trio with Kali Malone and Stephen O’Malley, on stage with Patti Smith, plus appearances on recordings by Beatrice Dillon, Ellen Arkbro, Laurel Halo and Petter Eldh, Railton’s diverse musical circles here bleed into each other, revealing vulnerable and compelling emotional facets through a fluid mix of composition, and pure expression.
Through a range of approaches, Railton gradually loosens her grip and allows her identities to expose themselves; cut to the bone, sinew and spirit of music making. Reaching outside tried and tested zones, she lands at a charged space characterised by unmetered pacing and an embrace of imperfection, using cello, viella (a medieval cello), Buchla, 808, a fan, synths, horse hair whips, a hand held harp and her own voice, across 8 tracks that revel in the momentum of creation.
The LP arcs from an opening sequence of ruptured asymmetries to something bordering a sort of dreampop sublime on ‘Blush Study’, the album’s masterful closing flourish. In between, Railton invokes psychoacoustic, heady spins and repetitions, while also allowing space for live performance, a mode to which she feels most attuned, and here captured best on ‘Held in Paradise’ - her startling violin debut - featuring some of the most furiously gnarled sound design you’ll likely ever hear played on any instrument.
An album full of collapsed boundaries, Railton manages to harness a lifetime of formal training in order to patiently trace more ambiguous, intimate and sometimes deviant shapes, dismantling the form from the inside out in a way that bends through feeling, rather than design.
Another AOTY contender, in a year full of really strong ones. Don’t miss it.