Boomkat Product Review:
Catalan vocalist, pianist and producer Marina Herlop lands on PAN with her most impressive set to date - a sparklingly modern distillation of classical technique, post-Björk avant-electronic production and globally literate musical impulsivity. RIYL Lyra Pramuk, Arca, Eartheater, Jenny Hval.
Herlop's unusual vocal style is what first cracks the seal on 'Pripyat'. Influenced by Southern Indian carnatic music, a classical form that emphasizes emotionally acrobatic vocal technique, she contorts her voice with a level of trickery that's anything but flashy. Herlop guides songs like lead single 'miu' with thickets of dense harmony, repeating chants and choppy rhythmic syllables that sound perfectly aligned with her skeletal, detailed electronic accompaniments and confident piano parts. Björk is the easiest reference point, but Herlop's emotional vulnerability is just as easily tracked to Norwegian art-pop provocateur Jenny Hval or Berlin's Lyra Pramuk.
'abans abans' circles Herlop's voice around dissociated chops of piano, forming choruses and verses before melting them into abstraction. There's a sense that her songs are guided by a rhythm and structure that only Herlop is completely aware of, and the unpredictable intensity of "Pripyat" offers it the freshness it needs to continuously impress. She's musically literate in a way that allows her to fold Catalan folk, Western and Indian classical music, avant pop and hyperpop forms into bold but strangely uncomplicated whispers. It's not an album that needs to shout about its complexity - it's able to balance quietness, mystery and sensuality in ways that feels all too rare.