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Lucrecia Dalt

LIVE REVIEW: Lucrecia Dalt, Alice, 01.08.2020

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lucrecia dalt live at alice copenhagen

At face value, daylight seems like the wrong setting for electronic music. When you come to associate performances with small, dark clubs, smoke machines, and projections, open air and sunlight seem like a mismatch. But perhaps that makes Lucrecia Dalt’s live set at Alice all the more novel.

Though Alice has been running their summer series for several weeks and other venues are putting outdoor space to use, there have still been precious few opportunities to see live music this summer — and even fewer opportunities to see artists not resident in Denmark. Dalt, from Colombia via Berlin, is a true novelty in that regard.

Whatever misgivings we may have had about the setting were dissipated by opener Grøn (cellist Bjarke Rasmussen). Backed by piano samples and looping his rough cello lines, his songs take on an escapist quality. Under the strong sun and with church bells and children shouting in the distance, his sparse compositions are a perfect set up for the afternoon.

Dalt is very lowkey when she takes the stage, jumping straight into her set. She fades in with rustling sounds, not drawing clear lines between her songs. Having thought of her mostly as a spoken word vocalist, it’s interesting to watch her add short, clipped, and often wordless vocals to her songs, which are looped and manipulated, making Dalt her own backing vocalist. The cascading sounds blur the differences between her indecipherable snatches of vocals and what was played on a synthesizer, each subsequent sound tumbling over the preceding one.

Dalt crossfades samples, bleeding one song into another like it’s an album mix, keeping her set choppy and constantly shifting. A consistent, low rustling sound runs through the set, surfacing during quieter songs, and it works well with the wind blowing and tree leaves and ivy vines shaking behind her (all credit to Alice’s sound team — for as windy as it was, that wasn’t what was getting picked up on the mics).

It’s hard not to imagine how this set might have been different in a club setting, how much loud (for better or worse) the sub-bass might have been indoors, if those loops of indistinguishable vocals and synths would have reverberated around a room. But removed from that more predictable element, this feels right. Dalt is in her rhythm from the outset, and though it’s only for a brief while, she allows us a brief escape to some other plane.

LIVE REVIEW: Julia Holter, Jazzhouse, 05.11.2013

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Julia Holter’s set at Jazzhouse was one of those demystifying performances. To see her songs performed by her at the keyboard, a violinist, a cellist, a saxophonist, and a drummer connects all the dots scattered by her dense albums. From the first notes of opener “Maxim’s 1,” there is clarity. Suddenly every sound is easy to identify, though every musician has several pedals laid out in front of him.

While the mystery is gone, the beauty remains. Holter’s voice is strong and dynamic, whether she’s bellowing over the din of her backing band or whispering over her keys. She is the constant element, the reliable figure at her microphone, while the other variables in the form of jazzy compositions, fairytale soundtracks, and avant garde noise build and recede around her.

While much of her set is taken from her latest album, Loud City Song, she ends the evening with both versions of “Goddess Eyes,” from Ekstasis. She tells the audience it’s about Aphrodite getting her revenge on a mortal before confessing that she doesn’t expect anyone to know the songs.

Holter is chatty and personable between songs, even if she’s just talking about the curry she had for dinner. After watching her perform with a serious face, lost in her work and  sometimes dramatically posed, her banter between sets, whether with the audience or her bandmates, feels like she’s breaking character. And it’s rather endearing.

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Finally, it’s worth mentioning opener Lucrecia Dalt. If there is an organic, demystifying element to Holter’s performance, Dalt’s is exactly the opposite. Alone on stage with a bass, samplers, and pedals galore, she’s like the evil twin of Julianna Barwick, slowly building tracks based on loops and probably taking pleasure in audience members who cover their ears at the high frequency noises.  Then again, the girl who pauses her set to ask why her banana-scented smoke machine isn’t working can’t be all darkness, can she?

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