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TALsounds - Lifter + Lighter (Cassette)
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Record Label: Hausu Mountain

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Release Date: 9/30/16
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Description

 The sessions of live-looped electronic improvisation that Natalie Chami releases under the TALsounds moniker continue to evolve in complexity and emotional resonance as she refines her approach to performing music as an everyday process. As part of the trio Good Willsmith, Chami’s self-harmonized choral vocals and recursive synth leads weave through her bandmates’ swathes of noise and abstracted “rock” instrumentation. Lifter + Lighter, her second full-length TALsounds release on Hausu Mountain, focuses the spotlight closer than ever on the direct physical reality of her meditative performance style. If 2015’s All The Way (HAUSMO32) offered a series of confessional, diaristic expressions of Chami’s experiences, rooted in specific events along her own timeline, Lifter + Lighter sheds any overarching personal themes in favor of a universal connection to her listeners. Instead of creating vehicles for specific moments, TALsounds hones the technical aspects of her craft, conjuring new inspiration from the tones and improv strategies themselves that she workshops over her exhaustive home recording regimen.

On Lifter + Lighter, Chami’s vocals sit closer to the front of her mixes than ever before. Her clear human presence, coupled with her more legible lyrical content, achieves a direct exchange with the audience in the form of her most “song”-like sessions to date, all while maintaining the loose, no-overdubs quality of previous releases. The takes documented on Lifter + Lighter range from filmic expanses of pitch-black synthesis to pounding exercises of industrial rhythm to vocal-focused pieces closer in execution to R&B ballads. TALsounds unites these styles under the umbrella of her solo live performance, all poured from the same rig of analog synths, samplers, and loop pedals. Sessions like “I’m Just Around” churn over arrhythmic beats while Chami drops languid vocalizations into the increasingly queasy atmosphere. “Close My Eyes” and “Hair” draw tonal inspiration from Björk circa Vespertine, as Chami’s elegant music-box synth lines ping together between sighed verses that stack onto themselves over time. “I Am Why” finds her streaking into a harsher, glitch-inspired textural field, randomly erasing and segmenting her own looped vocals into a live-constructed stutter before piling on additional strata of sampled percussion.

Album closer “Solace” represents a cathartic peak to Lifter + Lighter’s varied gradient of headspaces. The session captures the precision and spontaneity of her performances in equal parts with its slowly unfolding, suite-like structure. Atonal synth bursts howl in the darkness. Her vocalizations cut through and stir together in the center, compounding into a dense wall with each impassioned wail left to hover in her loops. TALsounds climbs up octaves as vocal phrases layer to their limit, before squelching peals of delay manipulation overwhelm the mix. As in all of her sessions, each of these decisions happened in real time - performed over the same time that it takes to hear them, pulled from two hands and a brain conditioned over a perpetually expanding journey of practice.