Boomkat Product Review:
Influential composer Elysia Crampton commits a deeply arresting album about intergenerational trauma as their debut for PAN, originally comissioned and released in 2018 by Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, CH for the first floor at the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement 2018
Acting as vessel for the voices of great and dispossessed people of the Americas, Elysia Crampton’s music and art since the late ’00s has arguably re-configured modern composition. In their prescient deconstruction and collaged fusion of elements of R&B with myriad traditional Central and South American rhythms, cut-up computer game sounds and a searching, kosmically new age electronic soul, Elysia’s early work was instrumental in the emergence of vapourwave and contemporary deconstructionist music over 10 years ago. It genuinely broke new ground and mapped paths for everyone from Arca to 0PN, Chino Amobi and Kelman Duran to follow, and in our books they’re inarguably one of thee pivotal and prescient (if sorely unsung) artists of their generation, and this breathtaking PAN debut is bound to highlight their humble and humbling genius to many new ears.
Elysia’s 6th solo album under this alias, ’Orcorara 2010’ was commissioned and released in 2018 by Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, CH for the first floor at the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement 2018 ‘The Sound of Screens Imploding’. In Elysia’s enigmatically humanist realist style, it is said to follow “…intergenerational trauma, fugitives of Christian violence in a twilight called Puruma, returning to Mama Cocha, the sea that theorists call Nowhere” and uses a quartet of vocalists - Jeremy Rojas, Embaci, Shannon Funchess, Fanny Pankara Chuquimia - to poetically articulate a dense web of references to figures such as Nomtipom Wintu ethnobotanist and medical herbalist Sage LaPena, and “inmate firefighter” Paul Sousa, alongside Elysia’s uniquely, resoundingly expressive instrumental .
While last spotted on the folk-oriented Chuquimamani-Condori project in 2019, the style of ’Orcorara 2010’ is more in key with the neo classicist Crampton style, built from the ground up in deeply rooted, etheric chamber-pop style bearing traces of their earliest, rawest work as E+E, but masterfully refined to an avant, 4.1world sonic language perhaps really only comparable with James Ferraro in the modern field. From the uncompromisingly dissonant intro ‘Amaru (Dried Pine)’ to its panoramic 15min centrepiece ‘Morning Star-Red Glare-Seqoia Bridge’ feat. Jeremy Ropjas’ striking vocals, thru the operatic staging of Shannon Funchess in ‘Crucifixion’, and the folk-pop truth of ‘Grove’ with Embaci, to the crackling embers of its evocative conclusion, this art installation-turned-record is one of the most striking avant-pop albums of the year.