#391 Julia Holter – Goddess Eyes II


I can see you but my eyes are not allowed to cry“. Julia Holter first borrowed these words from Euripides’ ancient Greek tragedy Hippolytus for her 2011 album, accordingly titled Tragedy. At the heart of that album lay the stunning “Goddess Eyes”, in which the nearly 2,500 year-old line is processed ruthlessly through a vocoder, its cold beauty presented in tension with Holter’s untouched delivery of the counterbalancing line “but in your dying you are dear to me“, thereby completing the dramatic effect of Artemis’ words cast upon the death of Hippolytus at the hands of the vengeful Aphrodite. A further twist though is offered this year upon the realisation that Holter had in fact been working on another album concurrently, only to be released last month. Contrastingly titled Ekstasis after the Greek root for ecstasy, the album summons an exuberance that only upon hindsight was hidden but ever looming in its predecessor. That unleashed freedom yields a further, fuller development of “Goddess Eyes”, with the track’s several lines stretched out and overlapping each other in a beautiful tangled mess. With Holster’s willingness to experiment, there’s room too for playful deconstruction, stunning moments of relative quiet, and even a dramatic breakdown at the end where the lightest tinkling of the piano carries valiantly, and blissfully, the weight of those words. – Dan.

mp3: Julia Holter – Goddess Eyes II

Tragedy is out on Leaving Records, while Ekstasis is on RVNG Intl.

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