Boomkat Product Review:
The record that first got us snagged on Kara-Lis Coverdale’s unique future-primitivism, “Sirens” was made in collaboration with LXV aka David Sutton, and is an album of ambiguous sonic dreamweaving, blooming eight strange and often incredible flowers that shape voice and various electronic inputs into vaulted harmolodics with a mesmerising, sweeping quality.
Recorded over the course of 14 months between 2013 and early 2015 at studios in Jersey City, Philadelphia and Montréal, ‘Sirens’ was inspired by “the link between seduction and violence” a theme which Coverdale has explored elsewhere and which seems to underpin much of her musical Weltanschauung; finding extreme, rarified beauty in the gaps between the sacred and the profane, between early music and synthesised modernism. Traditional choral and sacred motifs coil around extreme sample sources - “war chants, punchbags and bodies slamming against wrestling mats..” In an interview with The Guardian around this album’s original release, Coverdale gives memorable expression to these ideas:
“Classical music is understood as cerebral,” she says. “You’re sitting in a chair, your body is still, you close your eyes and it’s a mental activity. Whereas dance music is seen as more physical, where your mind is shut off. Both assumptions are oppressive and awful. It goes back to Descartes, the division of the mind and body – but maybe there isn’t a division after all.” She cites Stravinsky as someone who appreciated the blurring of the two: “He can oscillate very quickly between contrapuntal, hysterically mathematic segments, then move into paganistic dances that make you want to pull your hair out.” “Violence is all over the Bible,” she says. She incorporates the choral style of religious music to express “really aggressive sounds with more ethereal ones”. “The joy of violence is something that isn’t much discussed, but the call is strong,” she says.
In the years since “Sirens” Coverdale has only released one album, the stunning “Grafts” on our own editions label, but has been involved in numerous projects collaborating with the likes of Yasuaki Shimizu and Tim Hecker, as well as composing her own major solo works for performance. Sutton has released for Anòmia, Warm Winters, enmossed and the Psychic Liberation labels, among others. Almost a decade on, ‘Sirens’ remains a true outlier, its potent immersive/subversive energies resonate with the cinematic qualities of 0PN and the liquid shapeshifting of T C F, but with an elusive spectral sensitivity all its own. If you’ve not heard it before - buckle up, it’s quite the ride.