Missouri-born, Chicago-dwelling Jessica Risker has signed to the fab Western Vinyl label for the latest chapter in her lo-fi, psych-folk, DIY crusade. I See You Among The Stars is a beautiful record that takes in the influences of Nick Drake, Sibylle Baier and Broadcast at their most gentle. LP and CD on Western Vinyl.
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In the spirit of her excellent second name I’m taking a risk here and listening to ‘I See You Among the Stars’ on the office stereo. It already seems to backfiring, as Jessica Risker’s folk is one of startling, minute details, as much what happens around the picking patterns as anything else. It sounds like the kind of thing best parsed in your own secret corner of the world.
The record’s poignant title track sees her vocal melodies traced by twinkling, xylophonic-sounding keyboards. It’s a very pastoral cosmos this morning; this song feels like comfort in thrall of something grander, like the stars seen from your favourite spot. “Cut My Hair” sees her gorgeous, intricate fret movements complemented by much more direct verse phrasings: “All of the times I cut my hair, you didn’t care”. The tune makes its key change subtly and dutifully, extending the song some menace without ever announcing it. “Anyway When I Look In Your Eyes” is built out of a gorgeous, rapidfire melody given spectral accordion fanfare and ambient shards of sound, again highlighting Risker’s ability to turn balmy folk music into something else entirely.
Aside from what looks like a record of short-form lullabies, this looks like Jessica Risker’s only release, and you can consider me startled: who just starts releasing music like this? It’s a folk record that does pretty much all the things you’d ask one to; soft, lilting and open, her guitar picking can just as well be a bridge into a world less welcoming, a place more mysterious.
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- I See You Among The Stars by Jessica Risker
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