Los Angeles based songwriter Julia Holter's songwriting stems from a mythological reverence of that which is incomprehensibly beautiful.
Her debut album Tragedy (Leaving Records, 2011) embraced strains of shimmer and used sparser textures in a narrative context. Now her second album Ekstasis is being released March 8th on RVNG Intl to glowing acclaim across the board from Pitchfork to NPR.
Ekstasis is playful but guided by newly learned disciplines, slightly better technology, and nearly limitless home recording time (over three years of it). Formative experiences at Cal Arts studying with Michael Pisaro and in India singing with harmonium under guru Pashupati nath Mishra marked a slight detour for Holter in what started as a more traditional composition route. The trajectory leading to the creation of Ekstasis suggests her thirst for knowledge and experience.
While Ekstasis reflects the conventions of her classical training, the album is also uncannily, if unknowingly, poppy. Holter's approach to crafting the songs of Ekstasis centered around what she describes as, "open ear decisions: what seemed to sound best for that moment." This blindness to reference unintentionally steers Ekstasis along the experimental pop spectrum most commonly associated to New York's Downtown music micro-universe of the 80s, specifically the works of Laurie Anderson and Arthur Russell.
Ekstasis is an album indulged in beautiful, simple, unfolding life mysteries. "All of these fleeting images and muses are so important," says Holter. "As with the manuscripts, when I see them, I hear voices. I am continually following the voices in the gold leaf. I can't know them, but I will follow their beautiful song."
You can stream her album in its entirety at NPR.