Lyra Pramuk is a trained opera singer and electronic musician whose music is imbued with pop sensibilities. She makes what has been described as Futurist Folk Music. Thematically her debut album, Fountain, traverses non-binary, post-human understanding. She is known for collaborating with Holly Herndon and Colin Self and has opened for Sunn 0))).
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One of the drums I’m always beating is for musicians to make more use of their voice. I wrote about it in my review of Sibusile Xaba’s recent wonderful album, and it’s what first drew me to Katie Gately’s music. Lyra Pramuk is another artist I can add to this list, as her debut album ‘Fountain’ is constructed entirely from her own voice.
This isn’t your average a cappella recording mind! As Pramuk’s involvement with the likes of Holly Herndon might suggest, she’s interested in the voice not just as an end, but a tool to be modulated by technology. It’s from here that the album’s post-human and non-binary themes emerge, as Pramuk pitch shifts up and down, as she twists and stretches, as she multiplies.
The music is immediately very strange, the voice is very familiar, but rarely do we hear it likes this. The album opens with a porous drone that is soon joined by a million Pramuk’s, flashing in and out of existence. Tracks like ‘Tendril’ go some way to emulating an actual band, with a bass line, and multiple melodies, but to hear them all rubbing up against each other, when they all fundamentally have the same timbre, is quite surreal.
My favourite sound on ‘Fountain’ is the sub bass growl that emerges out of the sound of a thousand nervous yells on ‘Xeno’. It booms in the way no voice can, and yet, it clearly is.
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- Fountain by Lyra Pramuk
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