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The Latest Offering from Tirzah: trip9love

By Jonty Reading


With her new release, Tirzah presents a hypnotically minimalist 33-minute lamentation. The whole album blends into hallucinatory melancholy, with her raspy voice sexily navigating the gothic broken rhythm production. The music is stripped down to its barest, with the same drum segment repeated throughout the entire album. This project feels like a hauntological ode to the UK club scene. Tirzah and Levi manage to curate a thought-provoking sound through their use of distance and echo.  

The songs, by the end of the short album, feel eerily similar, you recognise the drum pattern, and you know her voice.


The piano, that appears in almost every song, is a mournful, austere contribution. The album combines the eeriness of goth with the abrasiveness of club beats, leaving the listener with a hollow sense of familiarity. The album feels symbiotic in a psychedelic and emotionally vivid manner. The hazy intimacy is created by harsh drums matched against an echoey piano. They have produced essentially a dreamlike exploration of emotional maturity, whilst still allowing for the depressive and sensitive to have their place.  

tirzah

Photo: Alexandra Waespi


Tirzah and Levi, if inadvertently, touch on music’s often unreliable retrieval of memory. Yet, in this sense, they go further than their predecessors. Burial and The Caretaker, whose works have been praised for epitomising the hauntological genre, making music that laments a future that never occurred, clearly inspired this recent release. Yet Tirzah, with her quite touching lyricism and female perspective, gives an even more apt and modern take on the claustrophobic nature of late capitalist London, drifting into an almost shoegaze-y style towards the back end of the album. Her voice, in an almost whisper, nestled between dramatic and echoey ballads, feels like she’s made you her shoulder to cry on. She invites you to feel her quite solitary emotions juxtaposed by a backdrop of clubby, communal beats. 


Her subject matter is drenched in feelings of inadequacy and disappointment in a quite intimate relationship, bemoaning the transactional nature of the whole ordeal; “promises, promises, deals, deals, deals…”. Reminiscent of FKA Twigs, in her devastatingly personal, breathy, vocal style, Tirzah gives us a welcoming take on her ambivalence in the face of degradation.  


Trip9love…?? attacks a subject matter, and a sound, to the point of excess. The sheer repetition and minimalism are disorienting, warping your sense of the project’s progression. Yet, the coherence is intricately delicate, as the drum beat fades away, the distortion increases, and the dreamy nature of her warbling tones takes over.


Tirzah presents both a haunting, anxiously emotional exploration of a minute idea, tossing over the possibilities of a mystified personal outlook on love. Her 33 minutes are an encroachment on an idea, an investigation with absolute singularity. She finishes the album with nightmare, the slowest song on the album, yet finds a more optimistic, or future oriented, constructive feeling; “show more of your love, your hold”. And it is very apt, Tirzah is part of a genuinely musically progressive scene with UK music.  


Tirzah photographed against white wall

Photo: Claire Shilland


Her, Dean Blunt, Inga Copeland etc. are at the forefront of a reshaping of the pop and rap scene. The scene, which is based around Blunt’s label World Music is a mix of minimalist takes on everything from reggae to shoegaze. Dean Blunt, who has a myriad of pseudonyms and alter egos, each one a reference to some cultural influence (for example Hype Williams the iconic hip hop producer) is abrasively spearheading a new direction of the UK music landscape.


His anti-social public persona only reinforces his fans’ desire to find everything out about him they can. Yet, their illusiveness, claustrophobic sounds and minimalism are what have landed them this quasi-cult status within the underground. Seemingly an intentional move from the label that is verging on a point of popular exposure, their aims of remaining a part of the underground may be what allows them the artistic flexibility to keep pushing the bounds of pop music.  

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