On the Floor

Julia Holter at Primavera Sound

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59 minsRecorded 31 May 2014 at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain
Christelle de Castro

Julia Holter spreads visions of claustrophobic leftfield pop across the vastness of Primavera Sound 2014.

Classical and not-so-classical-at-all: Julia Holter’s music lies at a crossroads similar to the one where artists like Arthur Russell or Laurie Anderson reside. It’s the sound of an artist who has clearly been trained – in this case at Cal Arts with Michael Pisaro and in India singing with harmonium under guru Pashupati nath Mishra – and one that has no problem forgetting everything previously learned, if needed. Holter’s songwriting stems from a mythological reverence of that which is incomprehensibly beautiful. Her 2007 EP Eating The Stars was a first attempt at musically transcribing this feeling, and Holter’s 2011 debut album Tragedy embraced similar strains of shimmer. But it was on the follow-up Ekstasis where everything came together. Critically beloved, it was the culmination of her young career, a record whose motivating character was best described by Holter herself: Ekstasis reflects, she said, a “desire to get outside of my body and find what I can’t define.” Constantly on the move artistically, Holter then wrote the beguiling “Loud City Song”, more a panoramic adventure than an album, revealing plenty of her wild imagination and visionary soundscapes, and marking her out as an increasingly unique voice in contemporary songwriting.

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