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.